Review: Sony NWZ-B143F - A Smart Device For Dummies!


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Being able to assemble a PC single-handedly doesn't automatically make you a *generally* tech-savvy person! You might be able to do all the connections of the front panel of a CPU correctly, and yet, you might find it impossible to create a simple playlist in your Dad’s mobile phone, and use it during your evening walks!

So, for a father who was used to being *forced* to stand beside his daughter in the kitchen, while she “pressed a few buttons” on the microwave, it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when she asked for a new Walkman – the ancient type you know – the one that played audio cassettes! Her old one was dysfunctional and she simply needed music while walking! (It helps maintain the rhythm you see!)

Anyways, Dad completely blew off the roof! “Where will you find a cassette playing Walkman in the era of iPods now?” Oh, but she was adamant – Capricorn mule-headedness! Sony was the leader in audio as far as she knew. So she decided to check out “Sony Walkman” on ebay. And she found this…

Little bigger than her pen-drive, it was a sight for the eyes! The Sony NWZ-B143F Walkman/MP3 Player, available in 2GB and 4GB, with built-in FM tuner as well as a recorder (no external microphone required)… who could ask for more from such a tiny device? She could. Being technically handicapped the way she was, she wanted a simple User Interface… at least as simple as her old cassette walkman!

But guess what! The Sony NWZ-B143F is so easy to use that even a 6-year old can also probably use it comfortably! Here’s a quick review of its main pluses and minuses, which come to my mind while listening to some saxophone classics from Kenny G, on my new NWZ-B143F!


PROS

  1. Visual appeal: Sleek design, small form factor (see picture on right), 4 choices of colors.

  2. Ease of data transfer: Simple USB plug-&-play interface. Just drag-&-drop whatever folders/songs you want. Techies can also use Windows Media Player to accomplish this, but I haven’t tried that. I don’t use Windows Media Player at all.

  3. Easy UI: One button for Play/ Pause/ Power-off. Simple Up/ Down buttons for navigation. A “Back” button, like the “Up one level” in Windows Explorer. And the icing on the cake – the “Hold” button – like the “Keypad Lock” feature on mobiles. Neat.

  4. Full charged in little over 1 hour, giving over 18 hours of non-stop playback (decreases by about 40% if you turn the Bass on). For charging, you just need to plug it into a USB port on your computer; no need for a data cable.



CONS

  1. There is no built-in clip, if you want to attach the NWZ-B143F to your belt or shirt. Instead, they have given holes for lanyard loops, just below the earphone-cord point. So you can hang it around your neck, or else wear something with a pocket!

  2. The only “downer”… the USB cap is already becoming loose. (Remember why they designed cap-less pen drives?) It isn’t coming off on its own yet, but it’s not as tightly-fitting as it was the first day. And I have only had it for less than 10 days so far! ***

  3. I called Customer Care for the cap – if it was just a piece defect, then maybe they could replace the cap; and if it was a design defect, then they could perhaps give me some spare caps to use in case this one fell off somewhere! But apparently, Sony cares about only those customers now who spend money in 6-digit figures over Plasma TVs! My little walkman worth a few grand INR was like “not even worth talking about”! So yeah… customer care sucks!


Despite the cap though, the rest of the product is totally worth falling in love with. The audio quality of Sony, 4 GB of space, and ease of use; what more could one ask for from life! (Yeah, the NWZ-B143F is still plugged in! Currently swaying to the sounds of Kenny G’s “G-Bop”…!)



*** UPDATE: It's now several months since I bought this device, and while I have not been using it daily, the cap is still just as loose as it was 10 days after the purchase.



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