Sony S-Series Walkman review: Sony S-Series Walkman

The S-Series packs in quite a few useful music-oriented extras as well. First is the Intelligent Shuffle function, which creates specialized listening experiences based on the year a song was released. Then you have a veritable smorgasbord of sound enhancement options, including two user-customizable EQs. Next, of course, is the noise-cancellation feature, which works in kind with the packaged headphones--hence the aforementioned semi-standard headphone jack. There's an extra chink for those earbuds' special plug, though the S-Series will work with standard sets also. Sony even includes an accessories cable that allows you to run an airplane's audio system through the player in order to enjoy the built-in noise canceling--quite the thoughtful addition.

Sony has also introduced a brand-new extra on the S-Series: a smart playlist function called SensMe Channels. Somewhat similar to the Nano's Genius feature, SensMe analyzes the songs in your library to create playlists. But unlike Genius, SensMe doesn't create lists on a song-by-song basis. Rather, it analyzes the entire library on the device and creates a selection of Channels ranging from Morning to Lounge to Extreme. You can then access them from a dedicated icon on the main menu. It's certainly an interesting feature and should appeal to those who balk at the time-consuming process of creating custom playlists. However, the cohesiveness of the Channels is questionable at times, although we did really enjoy the Morning playlist on the way to the office.

Performance and such
It may be a bit pricier than the competition, but one of the great things about the S-Series Walkman is that it sounds great right out of the box--meaning you don't have to go through the extra step of tossing out the packaged earbuds and purchasing some decent ones. Still, while the included earphones offer good sound quality, they may not be comfortable for all users, and a proper fit is necessary to enjoy the bass the player is capable of producing. Even at the flat setting, the S-Series offers impressive audio response. Music sounds deep, warm, and enveloping with a nice amount of sparkle at the high end. Bass is reasonably present at flat, but to our ears, is much better with the player's Clear Bass settings jacked up. Tweaking the custom EQ can also help open the sound when listening through canalbuds.

In fact, the S-Series Walkman shines across the board when it comes to performance. Photos look crisp, clear, and bright with great color saturation. The screen is too small for extended video viewing and there's some pixelation during quick motion, but short clips look decent and viewing angles are very good. Truly stellar is the rated battery life of 40 hours for audio and 10 for video. CNET Labs didn't quite match those numbers, getting 38 hours for music and 8.7 for video, but we're still impressed by these slightly diminished results.

What you'll pay

Pricing is currently unavailable.

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Where to Buy

Sony NWZ-S736F Walkman (4GB, black)

Part Number: NWZ-S736FBNC Released: Sep 15, 2008

MSRP: $149.95

See manufacturer website for availability.

Quick Specifications See All

  • Release date Sep 15, 2008
  • Built-in Display LCD
  • Battery Player battery - rechargeable - lithium ion
  • Tuner Bands FM
  • Run Time (Up To) 40 hour(s)
  • Capacity 4 GB
  • Color black
  • Weight 1.6 oz
  • Supported Digital Audio Standards AAC
  • Installed Size 4 GB
  • Diagonal Size 2" m
  • Sound Output Mode stereo
  • Type digital player / radio