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Bought it to replace my previous Sony Walkman NWZ-E464, the NWE394 is certainly not an upgrade from Sony.
The casing is now a cheap square plastic box, used to be a nice metal box with round corners. Screen is a bit smaller, I can live with it, but the display is not as crisp as before. Also, the interface is oversimplified, no more separate main menu icon for podcasts and music.
Music sounds ok, but I just don't trust that cheap looking device on long term. Sony used to be a symbol of quality, not anymore.
On the positive side, the cable is now a standard USB.
Everything the guy below me said!....they don't make the budget ones like they use to....6 yrs ago I had the NWZS764 8 GB Bluetooth Wireless Walkman..found on sale for 99cad dollars It's starting to go so getting this replacement was a let down. I bought the NWE384 because the clear bass is with the EQ still! The new ones don't allow you to use both at once!
UPDATE 2: Over a year later, description is still fraudulent. Why won't Sony fix it?
UPDATE 1: Had 3 stars before, but deducted a star for the lame response from Sony Support in the comments. I am hopeful that they will take responsibility so that I can bump the rating higher again.
ORIGINAL REVIEW (July 2019): The description says that this device has video playback, "dynamic normalization", an alarm, and a clock. It has none of these! The description also mentions the "NWZ-E390" series of players, but this is the "NW-E390" (no "Z", and I couldn't find any evidence of an NWZ-E390 series anywhere on the web). It looks like maybe this marketing copy was written by someone who was confusing this with another model. It seems Sony used to have models with these features (like the discontinued NWZ-E380), displaying 9 icons on the home screen (3 x 3). This model has only 6 icons (2 x 3). The features that it does have work okay so far, though I've only been playing with it for a few days.
What I find hard to believe is that this misleading description has remained here for over 3 years! How is that possible? There's even a Q&A answer by "Ron" of Sony Support USA saying that this model doesn't have dynamic normalization, and a comment by "David" of Sony Support to a review that complains about lack of video (Joseph Marzano, 1/25/2019), but the description wasn't fixed. Rather disappointing, considering that there are MP3 players at half the cost that seem to have lots of nice features, but I thought I'd be "playing it safe" by paying for a Sony.
I have a Sony Walkman model NWZ-E354 made in Malaysia that I have loved and used for years. It has great sound quality, great usability, and interfaces well with Windows Media Player. THIS Sony Walkman player is made in China. It is much cheaper and lower quality. The music has a much lower bit resolution and is quite muddy. The software is ridiculously slow (when I select a playlist I have to wait 7 seconds for it to show up on the screen). I can transfer songs from Windows Media Player, but the playlists don't show up. As a result I had to download the Sony Media Center for PC software (which is awful) to create a playlist. I'm returning it.
Pros: Sound quality was great, battery life was top of the line easily 36+hrs on a single charge.
Cons: * IMHO sub-par components are used in the manufacturing of this product. (see explanation below) * Can be hard to navigate - To the best of my knowledge you cannot make a playlist on the device unless you download some Sony software and go through a couple dozen steps. My solution to solve this was to create a separate sub folder in the music folder. When scrolling through the music options (such as artist, album, ect) there's an option to for folders. If you create a folder and place your songs in there you will be able to organize them via computer to form a playlist. Unfortunately I cannot get my device to turn on (even when plugged into PC) or I would upload some photos to help explain this process.
**Main Issue: At first everything was going well until this last week. I purchased this Sony Walkman on December 20th and on February 8th (roughly 50 days later) it decided to stop turning on.. I had fully charged it overnight and listened to some music in the AM and 4 hours later when I went to turn it on again I got nothing. I tried plugging it into my PC to see if it just needed a charge for some odd reason and my PC did not pick up the device. I've waited and tried to turn it on over the last couple of days but I get nothing and same thing when I plug it into any type of charging device (wall charger, USB port on outlet, USB on PC, ect). Like any other wonderful product it of course had to happen after the return window was up.
I've never had this issue with other MP3 players. I'm constantly listening to music and like to keep a MP3 player on hand to save space on my phone for photos and Apps. I've used several no name brands now which are usually around $20-30 and most have done the job until I run into an issues with the 3.5mm input. I'm not a tech expert but I'm assuming the connection becomes loose from the constant plugging in of headphones, speakers, splitters ect. I decided to go with a name brand and something a little more pricey to see if it would last longer than the 5-6 months I was getting out of the other devices. No issues with the input but beware it might one day decide not to turn on even if it is pretty much "new".
I'm hoping this was a defective unit (I hate to imagine this is the new level of Sony products) and 99% of the other Walkman's are great but with how products are made to be tossed away these days it might be best to just go the cheap $20 players if you are the occasional MP# user and if you are a heavy user, shell out the big bucks for the top of the line products.
I wanted to replace my old Walkman after 8 + years of reliability. My old one is having a hard time keeping a charge and sometimes it glitches, freezing and not letting me press any buttons. I expected the newer Walkman's to be the same quality but my hopes were dashed. This new Walkman has a few annoying issues. My old Walkman has no trouble uploading music from Windows Media. It will sort by artist, album, genre, ect. no problem. This new Walkman refuses to categorize over 100 songs correctly. Since I usually listen to music on shuffle mode, this shouldn't be a problem for me--the songs will still play even when not categorized right--but there's something about it that just irritates me. Secondly, it will not create playlists from Windows Media. On my old Walkman it had no problem. I have about 6 different playlists on that one, but this new one can't so much as upload a single playlist. I use playlists to listen to music in my car, but what's the point in having a new Walkman if one of the features I use the most doesn't even work right? Also, the sync between Windows Media and this new Walkman is flimsy at best. I find that even if it's plugged into my computer, it can't sync or it will lose it's connection. Lastly, it's so light weight that it reminds me of junk. My older one is a heavier, more durable. This thing feels like if I dropped it once on the floor it would smash apart. The only thing the same compared to my old Walkman is perhaps that the sound quality.
I'm so frustrated with this new Walkman that I'm debating about just continuing with my old Walkman. It's got some issues but nothing as bad compared to this.
I've had two prior versions of these MP3 players over the years & they were perfect for me - they had more features than I would've ever used, easy to navigate the interface, it was easy to put music on it and they were solidly built. Could take a few falls on concrete because despite your best efforts sometimes things slip out of pockets or hands. I think the only issues I ever ended up having with them were buttons sticking and eventual battery failures that led me to having to replace them after about 5 years of regular use each.
This being the newest model shocked me - this line has taken a dive in build quality, being made of cheap, flimsy plastic vs. the slightly heavier but nicely built Sony Walkman MP3 Players of old. I'm certain if this fell on anything but carpet or was gripped too hard or happened to be pinned against me lengthwise in my pocket if i I bent over it'd shatter instantly - confused about this downgrade in quality, it doesn't seem like anything but an attempt to cut corners and still sell for the same price with less features.
If I saw this model in a store, I'd have only been willing to purchase it for $20 at most, certainly not the $50-$75 asking price here or on Sony's website. The screen is smaller and more pixelated, when past versions had a nicer, smooth display that showed more than 4 songs when scrolling down & showed the entire song name in an annotation when the song was rolled over vs. a sluggish crawl like on this one. Less features overall - honestly surprised that with the downgrade that they even managed to keep the equalizer. Still no proper off function either but it does eventually enter sort of a hibernation mode if left on hold long enough without interacting with it further. Just make sure to pause your music before you do or you'll drain a charge away because they will keep playing until the battery runs out.
The last model I used, the NWZ-E350, was the pinnacle of this series in my opinion & I'm disappointed this newer model did not live up to it, especially with the price not being adjusted accordingly. I will not be buying future iterations of this MP3 player if this is the lack of build quality they plan on maintaining from here on out when I can get an MP3 player around similar or better quality from another brand for cheaper. A shock absorbent case of some kind to accompany this would have been great & also justified the price but it also should've been made as well as past versions anyway. Not worth as much as it's selling for.
That all said, it does what I want it to and sounds good doing it. Haven't had it long enough to weigh in on battery life yet so my review may be subject to change but it seems like it'll withstand a few hours of use per day and not need a daily charge, which is ideal - battery life will be what makes or breaks this product for me. 8gb was enough for my entire music collection more or less and I don't use the playlist or genre functions anyway so some of the issues other customers seem to be having with those features aren't something I'll have to worry about personally. Shuffle feature seems to work fine as well. I like a dedicated music player and this does what it sets out to do well enough if you want the Sony brand badly enough but be prepared to handle it with kid gloves because I don't know that this is going to survive a year with how frail it feels.
EDIT: After using this for a year at most, the battery is beginning to fail and doesn't hold a charge for very long. Incredibly disappointed. The battery life upon receiving it already didn't hold a candle to past units, but at this point in time, in a quarter of the time I had owned past units, the battery on this version hardly held a charge for more than a few hours worth of listening. I don't plan on buying another Sony Walkman after this.