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Sony Walkman NWZ- B143F Mp3 Player
Sony's latest Walkman player after the headband styled W202 with their Zappin technology that seems so awfully close to Apple's version for their new iPod Shuffle, is the B143. It's a slightly rugged looking design albeit a little on the bulky side has a very definite feel good factor about it. But looks aren't everything, it's what's under the hood that also counts. Allow me to give you a 'lobotomy' of sorts and fill you in on how good the B143 is under the funky exterior.
It's not a complicated player at all. It has a removable cap, underneath which is a USB (2.0) port for PC connectivity for both file transfer as well as charging. The lack of tether support could make it easy to misplace. At the opposite end is a 3.5mm earphone socket. Sony's bundled earphones are not something you'll have to worry about replacing too soon as they're quite durable and sound quality via the same will not provoke opting to change.
The player has a three line, 1 inch monochrome display that's easily visible in any lighting conditions. A 'Back' (Return) button as well as one dedicated to the Zappin function are located in the front near the nav-pad with three keys for Playing/Pause and Power and the Skip or track navigation functions. The volume keys are located on the top between the Record button (for the built in mic) and the Bass Booster one touch key. A Hold slider switch is placed on the bottom.
I personally love the design. Like I said before, its bulky design with the edgy keys gives it a very rugged sort of look. But don't mistake it for being a device that can simply be tossed around. The display WILL get scratched if not taken care of. I found out the hard way. But I still maintain that it's a good looking player especially since it comes in some pretty funky colors.
Features and Performance
The UI is drastically simplistic with everything easily laid out and the navigation system has also been made quite user friendly with the Back button and the nav-pad. You can connect it via Windows Media Player for syncing your library or just copy paste tracks in folders onto the 4GB of internal memory.Sony has of course included their Media Transfer software for transferring files. This PC software also enhances the Zappin function usability as it predefines points in the track for the feature.
I have no complaints about the music player from its quality to the decibel level. You can select tracks from your designated folders on the drive or via created playlists, Artists, Genre, Albums etc. The Zappin feature works for your entire collection but will stick to a specific folder that you're currently browsing or listening to. You can't access the settings menus directly from the Now Playing track but it's not too many clicks away. From the Settings menu for Music the options available include Shuffle and Repeat modes and EQ presets. Sony has also included the one touch Bass enhancer as I mentioned but this will deactivate the use or access to the Presets. A customizable option with a five band graphic EQ setting is also on board which can give users with specific preferences a personalized tone quality. Believe me all of the EQ settings are extremely handy and enhance the B143's audio experience.
The FM Radio's reception was average at best. There were better radios on other devices. But I still wouldn't sell this one short. The only time the static was truly unbearable was during my commute. In other areas the reception was not too bad. The same Record button can be used to activate the Radio's recording feature as well. If the reception is clear the recording is not bad at all. The Auto Scan and store option is available only from the Settings menu under Radio. Of course you can also save presets by simply keeping the Skip button pressed. The player scans for the next available station which you can then save.
The built in microphone has decent range. If left on a table it will record plenty of ambient sounds quite clearly. For voice memos and such it needn't be too close to your mouth. It's quite capable of recording voices from about 3-4 feet away.
The B143F also comes with Sony's AVLS audio limiting technology. For those who don't know, this option allows you to personally set the maximum volume for the player.
Sony's B143F MP3 player is capable of over 12 hours of non stop playback. My tests averaged in about 13 hours and 20 minutes. That's not bad at all for MP3 players. Since it has a built in USB port you'll never have to worry about having to carry around a cable for charging.
The Bottom Line
With a Price Tag of Rs. 3,990 for 4GB, the Sony NWZ-B143F makes for a pretty good MP3 player. The other relevant features like the Radio and Voice Recorder only enhance it's overall usability. In this case the Zappin feature may be a little redundant considering the player has a display but nevertheless it's there if you need it. The player is also available in a few funky colors so you might want to ask if you're planning on purchasing it.