Sony Walkman W250 (NWZ-W252) Review

sony walkman nwz s252 17 Sony Walkman W250 (NWZ W252) Review

Dealing with headphone cables can sometimes be a pain, especially when you are using it while active. One solution many have tried is by going wireless Bluetooth but sound quality was always hurt. You also still had to deal with a player and a set of headphones. So why not just put it all in one headphone like package? This is not a new idea, Sony did this back in the day with the yellow Walkman sport FM radio headphones. Remember those goofy looking things?

At any rate, here is a look at the modern take on the headphone/player combination.

Specs

  • Sony Walkman NWZ-W252
  • Weight: 43g / 1.6 oz.
  • Battery: (1.5 hrs full chage = 11 hrs playback | 3 Min quick charge = 90 min playback)
  • Supported Formats: MP3, WMA, WMA DRM
  • Storage: 2 GB (1.68 Actual)
  • Colors: Black (NWZ-W252BLK), Metal Gear Solid (NWZ-W252CAMO)
  • MSRP: $60

Pics

In the Box

The package includes the player, 3 sizes of earphone tips, a storage clip, and a standard mini USB cable. One thing to note with the USB cable is that is that the tip is abnormally long in order to reach the deep USB port on the player. I tried a few other USB cables I had lying around and most didn’t work. This is pretty annoying making standard USB cable virtually proprietary. So keep that in mind and don’t lose the cable that the W250 comes with. On a related now I would have like to see mini-USB used instead since phone manufactures have agreed to use that as a standard and many devices are moving in that direction.

Design & Build

The W250’s build is typical to a midgrade Sony product, sturdy, good materials, nice and clicky button presses. In other words it’s a well-made product priced affordably. The player ear pieces are made entirely of plastic with a rubbery cable connecting the two ear pieces that always snap back to their original shape. An indicator light in the top of the player will show when the player is charging. There is also a LED on the inside indicating when the player is on.

When you are not wearing the player it magnetically clicks the two ear pieces together. What is clever this is that when these two halves connect- sensors turn the player off so you won’t ever have to worry about forgetting to turn the player off and draining the battery. The magnetic connection isn’t terribly strong and will separate (although it won’t turn back on) with a little bit of force. Thought this is where the storage clip comes in handy for when you want to throw it in your back pack or gym bag.

Water Resistant: The player is rated as water resistant. This doesn’t mean that you can go jumping into the pool with it on or even drop it in water, but you done have to worry so much about sweating all over it at the gym.

Controls

Making controls for a screenless player is always a tough task and requires some though and ingenuity. Buttons on the bottom consist of a rocker button with a center click and two up and down volume buttons on the right side. On the other side a shuffle/playlist button is on the other side. Sony has managed to put enough function into those 4 buttons to make is very usable as a screenless player.

To turn the player on you press down on the rocker button, this also functions as pause/play while the player is on. When the player starts up you will hear two mellow beeps and then an ominous female voice says “play”. This voice is what will guide and give you feedback for all of the functions. Pressing the rocker forward or back will skip tracks respectively and a long press will skip by folder. The volume buttons are two different sizes, one taller than the other with a bump in order for you to tell the difference between the two.

On the other side of the player the shuffle/playlist button. I really like how they built playlist support onto the player with this button. With a short press on this button will shuffle all the tracks on the
player a long press will toggle between all tracks or just your playlists.

One last function is located on a long press on the pause/play bottom is “ZAPPIN”. Sony calculates the most rhythmic parts of the track and will allow you to preview the best parts of the track by skipping though them. So basically it’s a glorified skip feature. Sometimes Sony overthinks products and features and this is one of them, during my many weeks of use I found no value in this feature. In order to get this feature to work you must use the Sony transfer utility provided with the player.

Software & Transferring Media

The player is MTP based and drag and drop on Windows systems. It can be managed by Windows Media Player or any other MTP based desktop media player. The player includes its own transfer utility residing on the player and can be installed directly from it. The utility is a simple window that you drag your files and folders to showing the remaining space on the player and converting the files if necessary. It also calculates the ZAPPIN points in order to use that feature. This utility might be a useful to some, but for me I would rather just open the player’s music folder and drag and drop.

Wearablity

The player is fairly comfortable but might take some time to get used. They don’t weigh more than the average headset but put pressure on parts of your ear that you might not be used to. At first it felt a bit awkward but after a day or two I became accustom to how they are worn. The good news is that the player will stay steadfast in place during even the most vigorous movements. Not only will they stay on your head they will remain in the proper position in your ears. Running, weightlifting, soccer, and aerobics will get along just fine with these W250s.

One thing I appreciate about these is when you have to listen or talk to someone you can easily take one or both ear piece out and let them rest around your ears. Then they easily pop back into position with little effort. It’s a lot easier than dealing with dangling IEMs or earbuds.

Sound Quality

Sony has always been pretty good at including above average headphones with their MP3 players and the W250 is not different. Most discerning users will find the headphones lacking detail all around, but more so in the mid-highs. They also will not be happy that there is no way to tweak the sound, not even a pre-programmed set of EQ settings. However, I believe that the average user and almost everyone this player is targeted at will be pleased with the sound quality.

Conclusion

What I like the most about the W250 is the form factor. It was rather liberating not having to struggle with a long headphone cord connected to a player. It was nice to be able to grab once piece of the audio puzzle and head out the door. Sony did a nice job on the usability of this screenless player with audible feedback, intuitive controls, and support for playlists. Most people will be happy with the sound quality but may be disappointed with the lack of even a preset EQ.

For me the W250 won’t replace a good media player and a nice set up headphones since sound quality is very important to me, but I will be making this a permanent item in my gym bag due to the all in one design. Dealing with a wire connected to a player is a big hassle in the gym and is worth the sacrifice in the high end sound quality I’m used to.

If you like the form factor and lack of dangling wires I do recommend picking one of these up. It’s hard to be for its price and unique functions.

Purchase

You can pick this up from Amazon or Sony directly.




20 Comments

Felipe Torres on August 24, 2010 10:29 PM

Just to remind, this is the newest version of the W250 Series. The previous one suffers from sweat infiltration problems, so Sony released a new model, with rubber seals and completely sweat and water resistant.

I had the old model and had to send it back to RMA after 3 weeks of moderate use. The bad thing is that they sent me another old model. I was hoping to get the new one. :P

Sergio on August 27, 2010 12:36 PM

May you help me, please?
I think there’s no solutions to shuffle a playlist. If I enable the shuffle function the player picks random songs from ALL playlist. It’s true?
Thx

Mina on August 31, 2010 5:51 AM

can someone tell me how to make a playlist in W252 !? do i have to sort it manually or i detects the playlists in my MP

Sergio on August 31, 2010 3:51 PM

Hi Mina (Ciao)
To make a playlist, simply create a folder in your pc and put in all the songs that you want. Then, drag it to the W252 MUSIC folder.
I suggest you to use the Content Transfer software bundled with W252, so you can use the 12TONE ANALYSIS and then the ZAPPING function.
If you use Content Transfer, to make a playlist just drag the folder into the window program.
Bye.

Aayush on September 13, 2010 9:28 AM

I had the older model of this walkman , “NWZ-W202″After 6 months of usage its volume reduced drastically.I took it to service center.They said that its Sound EQ is defected due to sweat/water.So they replaced it with this model which is sweat-proof.Its design is not so good as the previous one.Sound Quality is same.Hope this model works.

Matt S. on September 15, 2010 7:09 PM

As for the playlist thingy, Walkman claims that you can seamlessly transfer Playlists by dragging/dropping it to the Player. I did drag .m3u and .asx playlists, and it simply didn’t work. Walkman says it isn’t a recognized file type.

The Playlist (holding the shuffle button long) just doesn’t work. If you hold the shuffle button, it will repeatedly and only say “All Songs”, and never “playlists”. What is this all about, Walkman? This is pure disappointment. You promised playlists but you can’t bring it? :|

aditya aima on September 18, 2010 10:14 PM

@Matt Right click the Folder of ur Music in ur player. It will show an option to create playlist. Enjoy !!!

leo23 on October 29, 2010 2:36 PM

hey guys.. i need ur help.. i’m plannin to get one of these and i really like the way sony came up with such a gr8 idea.. but exactly how good is it?.. And i heard there is no bass in it?.. is it true??.. hope u help me out.. thanks for ur time..
cheers..

Malakai on October 31, 2010 5:43 PM

@leo23

The bass is good and the sound is balanced really nicely overall.

I have both this and the previous W205 model.

I have to say that the previous model was a lot easier to use due to the USB port not being covered up and the plastic holster could be on the unit when being charged.

It was also smaller!

But the new folder jump is a good addition.

Natapon on December 6, 2010 2:37 PM

Can anyone help me, i cant seem to jump to different folders. i have tried pressing the lever but it didnt seem to work

siddharth on January 4, 2011 9:21 AM

is the sound quality of sony walkman w252 poor? does it contains baas?

joel on January 7, 2011 2:22 AM

can the unit be used with a jack for audio inputs and speakers?

Halo on February 16, 2011 7:07 AM

My player was stopped working since i accidentally deleted the system files. Now whenever i try to transfer songs, it said “the device has stopped working or unplugged”
Anyone has any idea?

john on April 6, 2011 8:31 PM

please help me. my w252 does not recognize by my laptop.

bluepiranha on April 28, 2011 12:42 AM

I haven’t tried all the functions on my W252 just yet and I’ve listened to music on it for all of 45 minutes. So far I’m quite impressed. Unlike many IEMs or canal-phones, there is absolutely no cable microphonics to worry about – which makes sense because the canal-phone drivers on this thing technically have no cable and are hard-mounted to the player’s halves.

My notes on sound quality:
Bass on the W252 is consistently good, well-controlled and not overly powerful in my opinion. Mids are fine too. The treble however seems like a mixed bag depending on what you listen to. For trance, electronica and pop it’s okay, but when you crank out cymbal-heavy glam rock such as The Darkness’ “Black Shuck”, the treble begins to jut forward. Cymbal work that’s supposed to be restrained rear fill crawls closer to center stage as volume levels rise past 50%. It’s not outright terrible, but it may not be desirable for those sensitive to sibilance. Personally I prefer listening at lower volume levels anyway so this solves any issues I have with treble.

The running boom has taken my country by storm in the past couple of years, and the sweatproof W252 has accordingly flown off the store shelves here because it’s (very close to) the perfect player for the job. The small capacity is a non-issue being a screenless player (the W253 has 4GB – no other more-capacious variants exist). The only thing missing is a Shuffle function for the currently playing folder; Shuffle here mixes up everything on the player.

Overall I think the appeal of the W252 is that it just works as it says on the tin. In an age where many of its products are derided as either irrelevant, frivolous or way too expensive, I think Sony has hit a rare bang-for-the-buck sweet spot with the W-series Walkman.

DINESH on May 4, 2011 8:59 AM

can i change the bass of my sony NMZ-W252 walkman.and if not then how to change this are service centers can do this job for me,plz rply its urgent as i want to increase its bass.

bharath kumar on May 27, 2011 9:14 AM

i want to increase my sound and also increase
bass the sound has reduced how to increse it

Skid on June 29, 2011 7:14 AM

How to create playlist:

Sort out all your songs in folders. Each particular folder will be a playlist.
Drag each folder to Content Transfer.
Open WALKMAN from My Computer as Mass Storage device.
Right click each folder and select create playlist. Playlist created.
To select playlist when playing in playlist mode, hold prev or next on jog dial to select playlist.
Enjoy!

The only thing that is a PITA if you wanna rearrange the playlist you need to do outside (in PC) basically doing things all over again.

bluepiranha on July 7, 2011 8:29 AM

By the way, I’ve had success charging and transferring media to my W252 using the short USB “pigtail” cable from a Sansa Clip. The main thing to note is to insert the mini-USB plug into the W252 firmly, such that no exposed metal can be seen from the mini-USB end. The “deep” USB port was most likely done that way to increase its water-resistant properties and ensure a tight seal with its cap.

Prad on August 11, 2011 1:34 PM

I wnat to buy new mp3 plyer……apple shuffle and Sony Walkman NWZ- W252 which should i buy plz help me

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