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Where to start... The Sony NW-A55 is possibly the worst offender I have seen of what I consider misleading advertisement in the music player genre. Noting this does not entirely reflect the NW-A45, but that will be revisited in this review.
The 55 is advertised as a high definition music player with new construction to deliver an audio experience never before seen in this marketplace, at this price point. Toting top-of-the-line construction, this is the first marker of observation.
The device is similar to that of an age old iPod, except the 55 feels less durable. It's light, which can be good, but light in a way that the device feels fragile. The SD card slot is a weak point, definitely contributing to the weak feel of construction. The slot should be more robust if the device isn't IP rated. The buttons on the device feel recycled, as do the plastic and not-actually-matching colored panels on the top and bottom. The screen itself has slight gaps of differing sizes on the corners where it doesn't fit perfectly in the space (probably would have been a minor cost so obviously they said no because this device cuts as many corners as possible). Lastly, the device just doesn't feel right, having a poor ergonomic. You definitely want a case that covers the buttons so you can mask the general feel of this product.
Next is function
The device functions about as well as my $20 Bluetooth FM transmitter in terms of sheer performance. Worse in the software portion, which is a later segment. When using this device, it is proclaimed to use new techniques to deliver the best audio quality arguably on the market. It's okay. I noticed it doesn't produce anything exceptional over my Essential Phone that I use as a back-up MP3 player. This made me curious as to why and, after brief research, I found my phone and most flagships have the ability to deliver the same level of clarity if equipped with the right file.
This portion is laughable. The device froze 2 times fresh out of the box when trying to turn on the high quality settings in the menu. The UI was clunky, even though this is the $70 more expensive and supposedly fast version of the 45. I can only imagine how bad that is with this as its superior.... Unless they lied. But I'm not going to stake that claim because them lying would be illegal. Suffice to say, with all settings turned on, I noticed nearly no difference. A slight improvement vs default, but negligible over my MP3 player. And yes, I am using $200+ headphones so it is not an issue on my end.
My findings in the end of this experience are as follows (TL;DR)
This device does not give you nearly enough of an improvement over the 45 to justify $70. At all.
Hi-Res songs will run you (on all the sites Sony has chosen for you to use) $25 for a CD.
A great many features are only available if you use Sony headphones (see the trend?)
Battery life is good, but relies only on you being wired in, screen off, and many settings disabled
But, hey, at least putting music on the device is simple.
Right out of the oversized box which it arrived in, this device was able to be downloaded from Windows Media player while being charged . The sound quality is excellent especially when paired with either the Sony M3 headphones or the Sony xb31 portable speaker. The device is very user friendly and pairs quickly with everything I have tried. The screen is easy to read and navigate. This really exceeded my expectations.
I was excited to add another Walkman to the collection after walking away from the brand more than a decade ago. I listen to a lot of music and my phone's battery can't handle it. Sony bragged about this units battery life among other features so I thought why not. Big mistake. The battery only lasts a couple days and that's with no use. The UI is just trash, it doesn't show half my music and some artists it lists the same track dozens of times. The screen is a bit laggy and not that responsive to the touch. I have had $20 mp3 players that put this thing to shame. I use bluetooth headphones so the sound quality isn't any better than my phone. So I don't see a selling point at all at this point.
I make recordings of vinyl on a very high quality audio system (top spec Linn LP12, Benchmark ADC and DAC, First Watt amp/preamp, VinylStudio software)) and play those on this player and from other sources. My experience with DAPs is limited to iPods and the Pono player (I bought a total of 4 Pono players, for me and family members). The Pono sounds really (really) good but the UI is not great, battery life also not great. I love it anyway. This Sony player's UI (and the player overall) is really beautiful and works very well. I used the Music Center program just a little but found it very easy to use. I just dragged and dropped albums onto this player w/o Music Center. Formatting the micro SD card (I used a 128 GB card) was very easy and everything worked very well. The sound is excellent--at first I thought a little harsh but it seems to be smoothing out as I use it more and I think it's pretty close to the Pono, though I haven't done critical comparisons. I was very curious about the Sony players because I have had good experience with Sony products, and I am thrilled with this player, very glad I took a chance on it.
Awesome little mp3 player with no issues yet. Able to import FLAC, MP3, AAC files. Music Center app works well for picking up cover art and other metadata about your tunes. Some slight bugs such as with updating the metadata on it, but once your music is on there, importing to the Walkman is easy. Interface is nice and smooth, and pretty intuitive, and I really like the 120 levels of volume. Sounds great, no complaints.
I really was impressed with music interface and ability to sort music by folders what IPhone can’t do so...well maiden high quality materials and screen battery life acceptable but not the best(Idk compare to phones maybe for MP3 players it’s ok) The only thing making me really sad that this player unfortunately DOESN'T have own speaker😩 but I checked other players and they also without it seems to be a standard. In general if you looking for good player you found it. And don’t forget to buy only good quality sound headset to feel all quality of sound. No sense to buy this player and use headset for 20-60$ buy at least something 100$+
Having the Cayin N3 but having minor bluetooth issues I wanted something that was as good in quality, This Sony is definately worth getting. Bluetooth is very stable with the Sony. Sound is extremely clear for vocals. Battery life is amazing.