First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Sony Walkman E-Series (NWZ-E443) MP3 player
This Sony MP3 player is not as polished as the iPod Nano, but it's cheaper
- Cheaper than an iPod Nano, great sound quality
- Not as well designed as the iPod Nano, low screen resolution
The Sony NWZ-E443 has a very similar feature-set to the Apple iPod Nano, and it's almost the same size. We prefer the Nano's design, but the NWZ-E443 is slightly cheaper.
Price$ 129.00 (AUD)
The Sony NWZ-E443 is a 4GB MP3 player that can display photos and videos on its 2in LCD screen. Other models in the Sony Walkman E-Series range have 8GB and 16GB storage capacities. The E-Series directly competes with Apple's iPod Nano.
The Sony NWZ-E443 mimics the iPod Nano in many ways, with the same form factor, same headphone jack placement and a similar control scheme. The Sony player is slightly fatter and shorter, and its plastic body isn't as pleasing to touch as the Nano's aluminium one.
The main point of difference is Sony's interface. The iPod uses a scrolling menu, while the NWZ-E443 employs the same grid layout as the X-Series and has a five-way control pad. It's not as refined as Apple's interface but it won't take long to adjust to. The experience is let down by a low resolution screen (240x320 pixels) that lacks the detail and vibrancy of the iPod Nano's.
We like the ability to just drag and drop files onto Sony NWZ-E443 when it's connected to a computer — no annoying or bloated software is required. We prefer this to the Apple iPod system using iTunes, and we're thankful that Sony has done away with the need to use the horrid SonicStage software that came with older MP3 players.
The Sony NWZ-E443 can play MP3, WMA and AAC audio files. We found the sound quality from the NWZ-E443's internal amplifier to be on par, if not slightly better than audio from the iPod Nano. An extensive equaliser allows minute adjustment of frequency weightings. The Sony NWZ-E443's video playback is more of a gimmick than a useful feature. MP4, H.264 and WMV files are supported but the low resolution screen makes watching most videos an exercise in tedium.
It's a close call between the Sony Walkman E-Series players and the Apple iPod Nano. If you're on a budget you can pick up the 4GB E-Series model, while the Apple iPod Nano is only available in 8GB and 16GB capacities. Even when it comes to the companies' 8GB models, Sony's is $30 cheaper, although it lacks the Nano's video recording. We'd happily use either for day-to-day music listening but as an MP3 player the Sony is slightly better value.
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