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Review of the Sony Walkman NWZ-A845 MP3 Player
Am I glad I bought a Sony Walkman NWZ-A845?
Two weeks ago I surprised myself by making the decision to join the 21st century and treat myself to an MP3 player. The catalyst that spurred me on was not a love of music but the fact that it is now possible to download free audio books from my local library's website.
The list of suggested devices on the website was extremely long and included everything apart from the Kindle which can only be used apparently for downloading audio books from Amazon. So now I knew I needed to buy an MP3 player. My first question was "What is an MP3?" A quick look on the Internet told me that it is simply a type of file. Easy. By now, you have probably gathered that I was a complete gadget novice. My electric toaster can be a challenge and I haven't used most of the functions on my microwave oven.
I then proceeded to read as many consumer reports as I could find about MP3 players. I discovered that the MP3 player that everyone has heard of, but which I won't name here, has some serious competition. I made a list of desirable functions and a list of functions I could easily live without. Eventually, I settled on the Sony Walkman NWZ-A845 and I am really glad I did.
A few technical specifications
When I opened the box I found the following items:
- a selection of earbuds
- a USB cable
- a little attachment for fitting the player to a docking cradle (cradle not supplied)
- audio input cable
- plug adaptor for in-flight use
- a small leaflet called the "Quick Start Guide"
The built-in flash memory of the player includes the following software:
- the Walkman Guide
- Content Transfer
Here are the technical specifications that impressed me the most:
- Looks good, is slim and lightweight
- Digital Noise Cancelling settings to block external sound
- Noise Cancelling headphones with 3 sizes of silicon earbud
- Easy to add music using Windows Explorer, Windows Media Player or iTunes
- 16GB storage holds up to 3,700 tracks (128kbps mp3) or up to 60 hours video playback (at 384kbps)
- Battery lasts for 29 hours of music and 9 hours of video
- Includes FM radio
The sound is truly amazing. Reviews compare it to being at a live concert. Well, no, it is much better because the excellent headphones block out all other noise. I can hear and appreciate every note. Some reviews I have read say the sound is too quiet. No way!! I have been listening to it at half the available volume and that is perfect for me. I turned it up to full volume and took out the headphones to see whether there was any noise leakage. There wasn't. Brilliant.
My original plan to download e-books has been amended. I have downloaded a book, but I have also been busy adding my cd collection to the Walkman. They have never sounded so good, even the freebies that came with newspapers. I have been experimenting with all the settings and learned a lot about sound. I have also bought some album downloads. I am happy to pay and am not interested in looking for free downloads. For the price of a couple of coffees I bought 31 tracks from the Evita movie. How could I complain about that?
I used Windows Media Player to add music to the Walkman and found it an easy process although I did get some initial help. See "Negatives" below.
There is a good selection of accessories available for this Walkman. It isn't essential to buy a protective cover. What's wrong with wrapping it in a baby's mitten? But Christmas is coming and now I know what to ask for.
Some of the reviews I read criticised the instruction manual. I agree. A very small leaflet is included in the box with the Walkman. It is probably adequate for anyone who has previously owned an MP3 player. But it was not adequate for a newbie like me. I didn't even know the difference between rip, burn and sync and was unable to add my first album without help from Hubby. Having said that, I was happily adding music by myself within an hour of opening the box.
When I connected the Walkman to my computer it did not set up automatically as expected. The instructions say that the Content Transfer software would open automatically to enable me to use iTunes. This didn't happen, so I used Windows Media Player. It was not really a problem for me. But iTunes fans would have been dismayed. It was several days before I found time to explore the various Walkman files. It was then I found the set-up file and was able to download the Content Transfer software that allows me to use iTunes should I ever need to.
The full manual which downloads on set-up is excellent and gives full clear instructions about every function on the Walkman. Just one gripe. It is confusingly called the NWZ-A840 manual. Maybe that is identical to the NWZ-A845 but this isn't a bargain bucket MP3 player and I would have expected the manual to have the correct name.
Something that is a negative for me, but could be a positive for others, is the amount of functions. I can't imagine myself watching videos on the Walkman though this function receives good reviews. I also didn't buy it to store photographs and was rather amazed to find that all the photos stored on my computer had found their way onto the Walkman. I didn't knowingly ask for that to happen and had to spend quite a bit of time removing most of them except for a few good ones that I will swap around as wallpaper.
Some reviewers have commented on the fact that this Walkman doesn't have a touch screen. Personally, I don't mind using the buttons. I soon got used to how to navigate around the various menus.
One last little negative point is the range of colours. My Walkman is black and silver. I have seen a white model available online. I am someone who went out of her way to buy a red mobile phone. So a bigger choice of colours would have been a nice touch.
I have tried to be honest when listing the positive and negative points. However, these points are very personal. It was my own choice to buy a Walkman with so many functions. I knew before buying it that I will probably never watch a video on it. For many people, the video function might be a big positive.
It helps to be a little thick-skinned. When my husband went to the local "phones, gadgets and gizmos" shop to see what accessories they sold, the salesman fell about laughing when he heard I had bought a Sony Walkman. "Do they still make those?" he asked. I find I have to defend my choice to fans of the better known MP3 players. I quote the consumer reports that say this Walkman is very good value for money when compared to other brands. If they prefer their other brands, good luck to them. Each to his own.
That brings me to where to buy the Sony Walkman NWZ-A845. My investigations found it for sale online from various sites as well as from the Sony shops. The online prices were considerably cheaper, but I work near a Sony shop and preferred the convenience of popping in during my lunch break.
My overall verdict is that I am very happy I bought the Sony Walkman NWZ-A845. I have moved on from being defensive to a proud convert. My only problem now is finding time to listen to all the great music I have been missing out on all these years.