Single function devices are fast disappearing. Earlier, devices were restricted to extremely limited functionality. But, in today’s world, that’s an absolute falsity. Smartphones have singlehandedly challenged each of these devices, and to be fair, have succeeded in proving to be a better option. Sony have recently released their new Sony NWZ – E363 series Walkman PMP Player. But, is it worth your cash? Read on to find out.
Here's a quick video review –
Sony NW-E363 on video
Design and build quality
Sony’s NWZ-E363 Walkman comes in two colours – White and Black. It has a 2.0 TFT QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) colour display with a white LED-backlight. While the screen does look bright, the glass overlay on the front structure allows scratches to become extremely prominent. The front of the PMP consists of a silver-coloured four way directional pad which is overlapped with the back and option buttons. The bottom consists of the 3.5 mm jack and port for USB charging. The right side consists of the volume rocker and a Hold button that prevents unwanted button presses whilst the player is in the user's pocket. The PMP weighs 55 grams and is extremely light and portable. As far as the design and build is concerned, Sony's E363 PMP definitely doesn’t disappoint.
The Sony NWZ – E363 Walkman
Upon turning on the Walkman we’re greeted with a home screen that consists of nine icons – Shuffle All, FM Radio, Clock Display, Music, Videos, Settings, Playlists and Now Playing. From these nine, Now Playing and Clock Display didn’t really exactly have any purpose as pressing the Option button brings both the options up anyway. The colour scheme used is black with a blue gradient along with grey coloured tabs.
The music player also is entirely black and grey and has a standard interface with the top displaying the Song name, the Album Art in the centre and the Artist's name, Album Name, Genre followed by the Release Year at the bottom. The video interface, also, is stock Sony but doesn’t allow the progression bar and battery display to be hidden. The zoom orientation can be changed from horizontal (default) to vertical; however, we doubt anybody would want to do that on the already miniscule 2-inch screen. Besides this, the clock, which pops up during standby, has a nice digital feel to it.
Side-view of the player
The audio and video file formats supported are MP3, WMA, AAC-LC, L-PCM, WMV9, WMA and JPEG. Quite limited, we’d say, as there is no support for MP4, AVI and other common audio and video formats. The features of the E363 PMP include clear stereo that allows better sound throughput and a dynamic normalizer that ensures an easy transition between two songs. Also, an AVLS (Automatic Volume Limiter System) volume limit mode is included that heavily limits the maximum sound level output to prevent sound from escaping through headphones. However, this feature didn’t really help as it operated more as an attenuator than a limiter. Additionally, the device has a beep settings option that notifies the user whenever a song is changed.
Firstly to check the performance of the PMP, we ditched Sony’s headphones and did a sound test with our Koss headphones. The audio quality is decent, per se, and the four preset equalizers – Heavy, Pop, Jazz and Unique do provide additional options for sound enhancement. In addition to this, there are two user customized equalizers. During playback, the base feels pretty nice with a substantially high level of thump. Transition between songs is smooth and there was no noticeable lag or loading time. Music playback gave a decent playback time of 16 hours 40 minutes but it didn't meet Sony's claim of 30 hours.
Video playback is definitely crisp and clear but the entire idea of watching video is negated with the extremely small viewing screen. As far as video playback is concerned, this device definitely cannot be used for viewing full-length movies. One feature we particularly liked was that the option button allowed easy switching between the music player and the radio.
The Sony NWZ – E363 Walkman
The Sony NWZ – E363 series Walkman comes at a price of Rs. 4,990. People wanting to buy this device will have to invest some money in a good pair of headphones too. Also, the PMP doesn’t have a loudspeaker or a recorder and we’d definitely not recommend the video playback via their small screen. On a comparative basis, a lot of companies in the market – Transcend, Creative, Cowon etc have come up with similar models, but at an extremely cheaper price, for example, the Transcend MP870. Sure, these brands aren't Sony but there is no visible difference in functionality. If Sony wants to revive this fast dying genre of PMPs, they need to take the entire idea back to the drawing board and start from scratch. As for the Sony NWZ – E363 Walkman, we’d recommend you skip this one.
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