Music loading is a pain
Reviewed in the United States on 29 March 2022
I purchased this Sony NW A-55 to catch a sale price that only comes around every so often. I have been wanting one for a couple of years now. My first MP3 player was a Sony, it lasted 7, almost 8 years till the battery just gave up the ghost. I had stepped on it, sat on it in my pocket, dropped it, and kicked it a few times when I dropped it while running - and it still kept chugging away, BUT it only played MP3 files, no lossless. And I didn’t realize how good it was until I transferred those Mp3 downloads onto other players, but they were priced almost the same, and the difference in sound quality was significant. I have 2 other MP3 players that work just fine, (Timkoo no b/t and YFFIZQ iffy b/t) sound is good on both but I wanted great, and Sony delivered on that. Even my lower end Bluetooth earbuds and speakers sounded MUCH better. But I had to equate that with the value of the player, meaning if the Sony is about $130- $150 more than the price range of my other players, does it sound $130 better? If you’re an audiophile it is going to be worth it, if you’re not it might not be worth the extra money for you.
And from 1980, through 2012, I have owned 3 Sony TV’s, 3 VCR’s, 3 DVD players, 2 CD changers, and I can’t even count how many Walkman's and earbuds/phones. Until I purchased my first Sony Mp3 in 2012. I have never been so brand loyal to anything as I have to Sony, not even close.
Good things about the Sony NWA55 are the sound quality of course, and the Bluetooth works flawlessly - not only does it pair in Bluetooth quickly, but you can find out what frequency the Bluetooth is receiving on which is great if you have multiple pairs of the same brand.
Scrolling is a dream, there’s a scroll bar that appears on the R side of the screen that lets you jump ahead to the beginning letter of a song, artist or album name.
And the battery life is great, I played it in Bluetooth, half volume, about 10? hours on a full charge with ¼ bar still showing . . I didn’t really track it with my watch because I knew Sony would have a good battery in it. And as far as volume goes, this could override the volume limits on some, not all, of my b/t earbuds and one speaker, although I never play music that loud anymore. There are featured presets that you can use, and a graphic equalizer to tweak music to your satisfaction.
And without a doubt, the FM radio reception just blows all competitors out of the water, picks up ALL local stations crystal clear. That is HOW Sony earned their reputation back when I was a child, their AM pocket radios.
The UI took a little more time to figure out, I did have to refer to the instructions more than once, but once I did it was a breeze to operate. The screen and readouts are crystal clear, it could’ve used a little more brightness setting though.
BUT the thing that chapped my hide was how user UNFRIENDLY the NWA 55 was about loading music. There are two ways, either Sony’s proprietary Music Center app, or you can load ONE file named “music” for all songs (it will ONLY accept a file that is named MUSIC if not loaded with their app). I found the Music Center app to be slow and cumbersome, so I chose to make a ‘music’ file instead, worked great until I tried to load more songs on it via the Sony player - it would not play them, even though I added them directly to the SD card via the Sony player - you MUST actually load them onto your computer file that you created “music” and then reload the entire file, knowing that you can chose skip duplicate files when finished, still time consuming when it should not be! (now on this I am not sure if this was a glitch in the player or not, because I ended up sending this back as defective)
Regardless, just one day before my return period ended, the Sony froze up completely when I tried to play music of the SD card, it went into “Creating Files” mode and then froze up, it had done this before so I would just leave it for 10 minutes or so and it would start working again, until this last time. So I loaded another card with the identical file, same name and it froze too (you can’t just load the card and start playing music, or take it out either, you have to MOUNT/UNMOUNT the card on the screen first, which I always did) So I went through other cards that all have the identical files all created on the Sony for my other two players when I use them. Not only did they not play on the NW A55, they would no longer work on my other players either. I spent most of the day trying different cards, either loaded via the Sony or card reader, and still the problem persisted, then it was TIME UP, and I didn’t have enough time to try anything else. One of my 128g cards is now unusable, I don’t know if it was that card’s failure or in the process of formatting the cards and reloading and copying them that the the glitch carried over - or whatever, I just had no time and didn’t want to be stuck with a very expensive paperweight.
So I called Amazon’s customer service line because just replacing the Sony was not on their online options, (Sony will NEVER admit to a defective problem, again - experience) nor could I return it to Kohls, as I usually do with returns. I just wanted a new NWA55 despite the cumbersome loading of music, and because the price point I purchased it at was no longer valid , I still wanted to keep it despite the cost. I figured that when I learned how to best use the ‘Sony Music Center For PC program’ I’d end up liking it. But I don’t have the time available to mess around with a DAP all day long.
BUT, the Amazon agent on the other line had a very thick accent and I could not understand her very well, on top of the call kept cutting in and out constantly, about every second or two, not the first time I’ve experienced this with Amazon’s outsourced call center. She called me back a second time, and still the same issues, then she tried to patch me through to a Sony agent, and lo and behold the same problem persisted and he and kept telling me he had problems with his computer screen - which is usually code for “Hey, I’m new here and/or I don’t have a lot of experience". So I just became impatient and frustrated and told them I am just going to send it back, and did so online immediately after ending the phone call. In the heat of the moment and all, and if it wasn’t for the card reader issue, and being on day 29 whether it was me or a defect, I would have liked to have kept it. As I stated all I wanted was a new one.
I also had to send back the hard case, screen protectors, and a small belt case, and accident protection I had purchased after I received the Sony, I really had no intention of sending it back. And it is uncommon for a Sony product to defect so fast, I had sold retail electronics for many years and I know of what I speak.
I have a Surfans F20 on the way now, purchased on Amazon. So I will see how that one works.
I was thinking of the NWA 105, but there’s too many reviews stating that the battery life is horrible because it has so many apps on it and for the current price of about $350, not worth it, I’m also considering the Astell & Kern CT 15, but again a little steep in price.
The customer service issue was at least 50% of my return reason, instead of an exchange, and needed to be included in this review.
If you’re a big time audiophile, you will love this thing. But if all you need is an Mp3 player to listen to while exercising, doing yard work or housework, and you don’t have deep pockets??? I’d stick with one of the many lower dollar players offered here on Amazon.
So as much as I dislike doing this, I can only give the Sony a 1 star review overall.
This is also the very first time I was EVER so disappointed with a Sony product as well.