If you love listening to music on the go but don’t like the thought of being tangled in wires, heave a sigh of relief. Companies are rolling out music systems that are not only wireless but also, get this, screen-less.
Sony W-series Walkman
Price: Rs 4,990
Cutting through the touchscreen brouhaha, Sony’s W-series Walkman plays up the affordability card with its price tag of Rs 4,990 (for 2GB model). This screen-less music player weighs 35 gm, making it a perfect choice for those who want to carry a music player while they exercise or manoeuvre their way through crowded city lanes.
The MP3 is available in five different colours and does not have earphone wires that get entangled with each other. A built-in Zappin mode automatically plays a sample of each song’s chorus when you are skipping through, so you will know which track you hit without having to go through the intro.
There is a jog dial to skip and play songs. The player also offers a quick three-minute charge feature that powers the device for a playback time of an hour and 12 hours of music with a full charge.
There is no switch to turn the player on or off. Sony has customised the device in such a manner that when you bring the end where the two earpieces join together through a magnetic clasp, the device is switched off. And when these two magnets are separated, the player gets activated.
We found that music was played at a satisfactory volume range, which should be adequate while exercising. The built-in earphones are quite capable of playing music with moderate bass.
* An attractive, sporty design
* Lightweight and comfortable as an all-in-one music player
* Non-upgradable memory
* Cannot be used as an alternative pair of headphones for other devices
Cowon’s iAudio E2
Price: Rs 2,950 (2GB) and Rs 3,500 (4GB)
Another iPod Shuffle-sized player is Cowon’s iAudio E2. The off-beat looking Cowon E2 comes with a pair of headphones and an USB port to charge and transfer contents to the player. We simply hooked our keys, turning E2 into a key chain (thanks to its design) and never forgot the player while on the move.
Weighing a measly 16.6 gm, this device is an assured conversation starter as soon as you bring it out. Just like the iPod Shuffle, there’s no screen, while controls are kept down to the barest minimum.
The E2 works with Windows Media Player and you can even transfer music files directly using Windows Explorer.
The E2 charges in about 90 minutes and gives a respectable nine hours of continuous playback from a single charge. The iAudio E2 comes in 2GB and 4GB configurations and is priced at Rs 2,950 and Rs 3,500, respectively. The bundled headphones aren’t really the best you get, but then what do you expect for this kind of money? Audio quality is acceptable with nearly eight EQ presets that definitely are an improvement from Apple’s iPod Shuffle.
* Design is a definite attraction
* Respectable battery life
* Bundled headphones give poor acoustics
* Compact body and tiny controls can be difficult to use