REVIEW: Sony Walkman NWZ-E353

This is an old review, but I thought it relevant to post, because of the way that the Sony Walkman changed my music listening habits.

IMG_20140615_080150SONY Walkman NWZ-E353

For years, I had avoided going digital. I had an old iPod. The little one with no screen. It was awful. Syncing with iTunes? Why can’t it be simpler? When I listen to a CD, I drop it in and push “play”. No syncing, no trying to understand iTunes. That kind of simplicity is what I’m looking for. Then I had another iPod, a Mini, which was even worse; the battery was useless and it couldn’t power up. Plus iTunes is just awful, I don’t care what the Apple fanatics say. It’s not an intuitive program in the least. Why can’t it be easier?

I decided to pick this Sony Walkman up and I’m glad I did. It has revolutionized the way I listen to music. Before I had gotten to the point where I was only listening to music on CD in the car and occasionally at home when Mrs. LeBrain was out shopping. Now, I can have music going almost anytime I want, morning noon and night.

And it’s easy! Drag and drop! How much simpler can you get? Because I’m a bit OCD, when I rip a CD I edit my ID3 tags to get the cover art going and make sure the tracks are in the right order and so on. But it’s so easy, and I’d do anything to avoid having to use iTunes.

I don’t even care about the 4 meg size on this model. When the player gets full, I just delete some albums that I’ve played enough, and add some more from my computer.  Drag and drop. Easy! I rip my CDs to the highest quality MP3 possible, so I really only get about 25 albums on here at a time. But that’s plenty — when am I going to be away from my computer long enough to listen to 25 albums? It’s never happened. I’d have to charge it first anyway. Maybe I’ll upgrade one day to a player with bigger storage, but I don’t see the point right now.

IMG_20140615_080220The only modification I did was to buy some better, more comfortable ear buds. I’ve been through a few different pairs. With that combination, I have the best quality portable music that I need. I also bought some portable speakers but they go largely unused. I prefer to plug my player into the AUX IN jack of a stereo, and I’m off to the races.

The Walkman has some customization available, such as wallpaper, photo galleries, etc. It has this thing called “SensMe”…it’s supposed to pick music based on moods. I could care less, I don’t listen to random songs, I listen to albums. I prefer to listen to songs in the context in which they were meant to be listened to. There’s a fine sounding FM radio as well. There’s a video player but it seems to be quite finicky as to what type of files it will play, so I don’t use that feature. I had no desire to, anyway.

Battery life is excellent. It has battery saving software as well. I can listen to music all week, as often as I can squeeze it in, and only charge it once a week. It is charged with the included USB cable. Easy, easy, easy.

Whether I am listening to heavy rock, classical music, country, or jazz, I have had no issues at all with the sound quality. For example right now I am listening to Ryan Adams’ Demolition album. The bass frequencies are strong but the clarity of the acoustic guitar is stunning! The only music that suffers is live music. As you know with a live album you have the continual backdrop of crowd noise. An MP3 player places a split-second pause between every song, which goes unnoticed on studio albums. On live albums, it breaks up the crowd noise slightly and can be distracting. Not a huge deal, but I aim to be complete in my reviews.

So, enjoy this awesome MP3 player. Here are my 5 basic tips to the best listening experiences!

1. Rip your CDs to the highest possible quality. Don’t download.
2. Grab a free ID3 tag editor for maximum enjoyment — add cover art, correct spelling mistakes or track order.
3. Buy a good pair of comfortable earbuds to maximize the sound quality.
4. Use the battery saving software.
5. Throw out your iPod.


5/5 stars