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Sound quality is bad for the price, my less expensive Redmi phone have more detail and resolution to the sound, vpt surround effect is good for slow pace songs with vocals, not good for electronic music, interface and controls are very good, battery not as good as they claim but good enough, hope sony fix the sound quality with software update(because it feels like Sony is intentionally limiting it to sell their expensive models), in conclusion it is not worth the money.
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.
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.