By Seow Tein Hee
The Walkman series has enjoyed a faithful following among consumers over the past thirty years, and in a digital age where music playback is all about convenience and ease of usage, the Walkman name has continued to flourish on both portable media players and mobile phones. Enter the Sony Walkman NWZ-B133F, a pint-sized portable music player that gives one a no-frills approach to music transfer, playback and even recording with its 1GB flash drive storage.
To say the least, the NWZ-B133F has a simple, minimalist design; its slim and elongated form has just the right amount of buttons for navigation purposes. Prominent on this device is the Play/Pause button which is accompanied by the Forward and Back button just above and below it. Navigating through the various menus within the NWZ-B133F requires the use of these buttons which also doubles as the Enter, Up and Down buttons respectively, with a thinner, adjacent button keyed to return to the previous menu or to the Home screen.
At both tips of the NWZ-B133F are the 3.5mm audio jack and the USB data port for direct USB data transfers (protected by a cover). Finally, the Rec/Stop button, Volume control and Bass switch are all located at the top profile, with a Hold switch located at the bottom to prevent accidental input by the user.
Plug and Chill
Similar to earlier Walkman devices such as the Sony Walkman NWD-E020F, the NWZ-B133F supports direct USB transfer, i.e. it acts like a USB thumb drive, allowing you to simply plug it into your PC and utilize the drag and drop method for file transfers. And likewise, you'll be utilizing USB charging to keep the NWZ-B133F fully powered. With its QuickCharge technology, the charge to use ratio for the NWZ-B133F is significantly reduced, so you can plug the device in for just a few minutes to refresh the battery for another trip. On paper, the NWZ-B133F should last up to 16 hours of music playback, and we did manage almost 15 hours of continuous playback before the device waved the white flag.
Primarily speaking, the NWZ-B133F is focused as a portable audio player and so it only comes with a basic 3-line color LCD screen for navigation. On top of that, the NWZ-B133F comes with an integrated FM receiver, and perchance you stumble upon a favorite song being broadcasted, you can also utilize the Record FM function, though audio quality would depend on the transmission quality. You can also extend this to voice recording should the need arises, though chances are, you'll be skipping this feature quite often.
As for the NWZ-B133F's audio capability, we found that when we used the bass setting to optimize the bass level, the audio output became too muffled, thus forcing one to raise the volume in an attempt to regain clarity. However, even with the volume pushed to the maximum, there's still a discernible lack of power and punch in the audio delivery.
Walking the Walkman Stick
In short, what you get from this affordable (read: S$74) 1GB portable media player are a few additional features on top of its rather basic audio playback, such as recording for both FM transmission and voice. In all fairness, though the bass delivery on the NWZ-B133F was questionable, it was reasonable for its price and market segment. If you can absolutely live without the bass function, it's a decent player on-the-go.