Pros Great sound for a portable player
Good battery life
Cons Sony Installation software corrupted my XP machine.
Summary I almost hate to give this thing only three stars because it has great
sound and hardware features. One the other hand the software is so bad
it deserves negative stars. But there is a workaround - justuse drag & drop instead of
the Sony install or media software.
Since Sony's famous root kit scandal (Google "sony rootkit lawsuit")
infected thousands of customers computers via Sony software that was
very anti-consumer, I should have know better than to ever
let Sony software run on my PC. But I wanted to get my new MP3 player to
working fast, so I followed Sony's instructions. Bad idea!!! They want
you to plug the Sony into a USB port and then run the install
software that's already in the Sony. I tried this on my old XP (SP2)
machine, and the Sony installation tried to "upgrade" my windows Media
player. There was no benefit to me for this "upgrade", Sony's
"engineers" we apparently too lazy to design an installer without this. Or
maybe they're still trying to infect their customers with rootkits.
Anyway, the install of the new MS media player failed, and in the deal
corrupted my old MS-media player. Since I primarily use VLC media
player the was just just an annoyance, not a fatal problem - but now my
old XP PC has no MS media player. Thanks, Sony :-(
Being stubborn (and a geek) I then decided to examine the Sony MP3 player a
bit more carefully on my work Windows-7 machine. The Sony mounted as a
USB device named "Walkman", but instead of just running Sony's toxic
installer again, I poked around in their file system and found
the music folder. It had a few mp3 files in it, so I decided to see
what would happen if I copied in a few more mp3 files. I did a drag &
drop with windows explorer, the Sony rebuilt the playlist with them.
There they were, playable - it worked! I then select all my mp3 files, about a
100, and dragged them over. Thanks to the magic of USB 2.0, in 10
minutes I had 100 tunes loaded - without running any Sony Windows software. They
all list and play just fine. Why did Sony provide that destructive
install and "Content Transfer" software when you can just drag & drop
files? Why not just tell customers how to load up the files in one easy
step like I did? Write a simple GUI for those who want elaborate
play-lists or auto-synch with an online service, and let the rest
of us just load & go.
Once I had some files in place I discovered the upside of this
device - It sounds great! My kids all have iPods, and this thing sounded
at least as good right out of the box, and at a fraction of the price.
I'm something of an audiophile and plan to experiment with upgrade ear
buds (the ones that come with it are pretty tinny) and maybe a headphone
amp. Just for grins, I put a pair of Sennheiser HD280 studio headphones
on the Sony - and it sounded really good! Like all MP3s the highs where
a bit slurred and mushy, but the mids and bass were clear and as loud as
I could want, even without a phones amp. The dinky Sony could drive the
large form-factor Sennheisers just fine :-). The better MP3s sound
almost like WAV files played on real high-end audio equipment. I'm
optimistic than when I get some lossless formats in there I'll have a
really good sound.
I've tried hooking my kids iPods (Nano and classic) to real stereo
equipment and never had results like this. The Sony/Sennheiser combo
beats the pants off any iPod I've heard hooked to anything.
When I was done setting it up I unplugged the USB I'd been using to
charge the battery, and tossed the player in my backpack, without
thinking to turn it off. That night I got another nice surprise - it was
still playing (4 hours later) and the battery was still fully charged.
I'm not sure how many hours they claim, but I didn't really believe I'd
get more than 5 or so in actual use. I'm now sure I'll get 10 or more.
In fairness to Sony, I must add that we've also had Apple software
nightmares with my kids iPods, like the time one we tried to
"synchronize" and flipping iTunes erased the entire mp3 collection in the PC. She was
in tears! I write software for a living, and bugs like Sony
and Apple have should never get past QA.
Bottom line is this unit will give you great sound for cheap; but you
have to be willing to move files manually to use it safely.
Pros Superb sound.
16 GB at an amazing price.
Equalizer and mega-bass.
Compact and light.
Cons Scratches way too easy (screen and body).
Battery life is a bit short.
Summary I use it for playing music from the folders I create by artist, album, etc.
Sound is SUPERB even with regular ear buds, equalizer and mega-bass do modify the sound a lot, volume can get pretty loud, navigating folders is a breeze.
Don't have to use Sony's software at all. Can rip with any ripper (including WMP), I use Windows MP for syncing, not sure how other software will work, I use Windows Explorer to manage files if needed. Drag and drop DOES support tagging, the only thing that won't transfer is the album cover. Then again, sync it with WMP.
I don't believe the charger is a microUSB, I think it is mini B, which is the one most cell phones use (BB curve 8320, etc). Or leave it plugged to the PC after syncing.
Cases are widely available now (mid December 2009).
Does not feel cheap at all.
Have no problem with the interface at all.
I don't use it for pictures or video so can't comment on that.
The only advice: BUY A CASE AND SCREEN PROTECTOR before you use it for the first time; it is AMAZING how much it scratches. This is the 3rd player I own and I've never seen anything like it (one of the previous I owned was also a Sony, but the case was opaque not glossy like this one).
Pros Battery life is very impressive
Price was fairly decent
Sound quality is decent
Easy user interface and navigation
Wonderful looking screen
Cons Scratches very easily
Horrible PC connections, often causing both my computer and player to crash
Software doesn't install on some computers
No playlist editing on player
Summary Overall the Sony Walkman E-363 is the worst mp3 player I have ever had. If Sony just fixed up a few things I would gladly give this player a good to excellent rating, however it just has to many flaws. I doubt I will ever buy a Sony player again, instead I'll buy an iriver or Philips, both which are superior in most aspects. If you like a long battery life, easy interface and navigation and want a lovely screen you could go for a Sony player. However if you hate having something that easily scratches, takes 2 hours to get a song/playlist on to it and/or crashes whenever connected to a computer I suggest that you get another brand mp3.
Pros Quality, sound, endurance...all are above reproach. The ability to drag 'n drop files. Album Art on the screen is wodnerful.
Cons Not avialbe in bigger than 16GB size and no longer available.
Summary I owned each genartion of iPods until the last 160GB version. They worked but were frustating for me to use, and iTunes...I loathe it. I purchased this unit 2 years ago and I enjoy it as much now as when I purchased it. Better sound than my tablet and my RG LTE smartphone. Too bad it will not last forever.
Pros I run Ubuntu and that it was instantly recognized and mounted was great. I like the drag and drop capability. User interface is simple and easy to navigate.
Cons It only recognizes wma video formats (a real kick in the pants for non Microsoft users). The form factor could use some slimming and Sony's love of proprietary hardware (example: the usb connector) is slightly frustrating.
Summary The product functions well as a simple low/mid range mp3 player.