What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Wed, 18 Nov 2009, 11:00am

Sony NWZ-S544

Tested at £109
80100
4

Don’t let the poor-sounding integrated speakers put you off this decent alternative to Apple’s iPod nano

Write your own review

For

  • Attractive design
  • easy to use
  • punchy, vibrant picture and sound

Against

  • Integrated speakers sound poor
  • not as agile or dynamic as the class leaders

If you look at Sony's website you'll see that the NWZ-S544 is the company's first MP3 Walkman to sport integrated speakers.

Now, this is all well and good if funds can't stretch to a dock, or you like to share your sounds with your friends.

Unfortunately, the speakers are probably the least attractive feature of this portable media player.

They sound thin, weedy and any meaningful bass is non-existent. Our suggestion? Stick to the supplied headphones or, even better, upgrade them.

An exciting, energetic listen
Through the headphones, the Sony reveals itself to be an exciting and energetic listen. Dance music, hip-hop, rock and pop are all presented in an entertaining manner, and the player shows itself to be detailed and have a good sense of timing.

Refinement and dynamic subtlety aren't especially high on the Sony's list of priorities, but they're not completely ignored.

Picture quality on the 2.4in QVGA resolution screen is very impressive for the money. Images are punchy, colours are nicely judged and edges are defined.

Variety of colours and sizes

The 'S544 is a slightly chunkier design than previous Walkman models, but it's by no means overweight. It's available in four different finishes, including red, black and pink, and in two sizes: 8GB and 16GB.

An FM radio, voice recording and a selection of sound processing modes are also included.

Files can be transferred onto the device either by drag-and-drop, or by using the simple Content Transfer software that comes packaged on the player.

The Sony's menu system is easy to use with the large icons showing you the way to go.

If you ignore the speakers and focus on the picture and sound, you've got a competent and pocketable music player.

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