Sony Walkman NWZ-E453 review: Sony Walkman NWZ-E453

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The Good Slim and lightweight; good audio quality; easy to use; fun karaoke mode; affordable.

The Bad Occasionally frustrating interface; not as slick as an iPod.

The Bottom Line The Sony Walkman NWZ-E453 isn't quite as slick or good-looking as its iPod rivals, but its simplicity, affordability and portability make it a worthy competitor none the less. Overall, it's a winner.

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8.3 Overall

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If you want to distinguish yourself from the iPod crowd, Sony's Walkman line of MP3 players could be well worth a perusal. The Sony Walkman NWZ-E453 isn't too expensive either, priced at around £60.

The E453 is one of three MP3 players in Sony's Walkman E series, differing mainly in terms of storage capacity. Whereas the E453 is a 4GB model, the E454 is an 8GB player and the E455 packs in 16GB of storage space.

Thin for the win

The E453 offers a pleasing design and is available in black, blue, green, pink and red versions. Measuring 44 by 95 by 10mm, it's slim, so it'll happily slide into your pocket, even if it's already stuffed full of mobile phones, cameras and other tech. It weighs a mere 58g too.

Around the edges, there's a port for connecting the E453 to your computer via USB, a headphones socket, a hold switch and volume keys. The screen measures 2 inches diagonally and has a 240x320-pixel resolution. It's bright enough so that you'll be able to see what's going on in the various menus easily.

Videos look sharp on the tiny display. But the small size of the screen means you probably wouldn't want to watch a full movie on this device.

Note that the screen isn't touch-sensitive -- you have to navigate the interface using physical buttons. We don't mind too much, though, because the controls are pretty simple. There's a four-way navigation button with a play/pause key in the centre, and 'back' and 'home' buttons to either side.

Play it again, Sam

Finding your way around the basic menus is easy enough, but it can be tricky to see what's going on once your tunes start playing -- the icons that show whether you've paused a track and so on are very small, and the playback bar is a slim green line that's quite hard to see. These are minor gripes, though -- you'll quickly get the hang of using this player.

If you fancy letting the Walkman take the reins, the SensMe feature plays songs based on whether they're classed as energetic, relaxed, upbeat or extreme. The E453 decides which songs fall into which category. Another option chooses tunes based on the time of day. SensMe is a worthwhile feature, but we can see many users ignoring it in favour of simply rattling through music themselves.

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