Sony NWZ-S544 review

Ignore the speakers on the Sony NWZ-S544 and it's a decent alternative to Apple's iPod nano Tested at £109.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

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


  • +

    Attractive design

  • +

    easy to use

  • +

    punchy, vibrant picture and sound


  • -

    Integrated speakers sound poor

  • -

    not as agile or dynamic as the class leaders

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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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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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