Pros Superb sound quality that actually puts my new X-series to shame. Familiar, easy-to-use Sony interface. Built-in speakers (on back). Voice recording is nice.
Cons No on-the-fly playlist generation (so what else is new with Sony?). Cheapish plastic feel, 'Mickey'-look control placement takes some getting used to. Awful video feeding experience, compromises with decontenting old features for iffy new ones.
Summary I usually buy these things for their music performance, so that's typically my personal slant on things. And in this regard my wife's S545 doesn't disappoint. Music sounds truly fantastic on this thing, granted it's played through aftermarket cans (Senn PX-100, Senn IE-8 IEMs). IMO, from a audio fidelity standpoint this new player does music better than my X1061, at least before I attempt to tweak things around on the more expensive Walkman.
Sonically, this device is more than impressive; at least Sony has that part nailed. But functionally the S545 can't help but feel knee-capped. Like all other Sony PMPs present and past, getting video to the player is a real chore that seems hardly worth it given the intense hassle. Voice recording is a nice add, but the manner in which the interface works and allows you to actually LISTEN to said recordings is a sadistic joke; the S has to go off and basically reboot itself to 'rebuild' the audio library (the resultant recordings are MP3 files that apparently the S won't understand until said library is recompiled). The chassis materials are definitely a step down from what I've been accustomed to from Sony, though in truth I never had the original first-gen S-series for and actual generation-to-generation comparison. And the player IS big for the capacity, thicker than my old A829 Walkman from a couple of years ago; the price paid for going to a plastic housing, I suppose.
But the price is hard to beat; we picked this one up at our local Sony Style store at the start of this past Labor Day weekend when there was a 20% off promotion going on with ALL of their MP3/PMP devices. A shade over $100 was definitely a sweet price for this sort of sonic nirvana, but even at the regular retail price the S545 is something of a bargain. You just need to lower your expectations on pretty much everything else you'd come to look for in a PMP device.
Flawed for sure, but still good enough to enjoy and be content with.
"Love it!!!"on by cltinseattle
Pros Easy to use. Very good sound quality.
Cons Doesn't really shut off. Shutting it off puts it into stand-by mode.
Summary I have had this MP3 player for a month now and wanted to give it a little time before I reviewed it. I love this MP3 Player. First let me say that I don?t use it as a video player or for pictures, nor do I use the little table top stand or the headphones it came with so I am not going to give my opinion on those features. I use it as an MP3 player, that?s all, and for that it is excellent!
What I really like in an MP3 player is not having to use the software it comes with in order to transfer my music into the player like you do with the players made by the major computer monopolies. I am still a CD person and still like to actually buy my music on CD?s. I use Real Player to save the music to my computer and to edit the clip information, then I use Windows Explorer to copy and paste the music into the MP3 player. Yeah I know, I?m old-fashioned but I use my MP3 player as a convenient means of carrying around my own CD collection. On those occasions when I do actually download a song from the internet it is just as easy to use Windows Explorer to copy and paste it into the MP3 player.
The sound quality is probably the best of any MP3 player I have ever purchased. The built-in equalizer is nice in that you can customize your own personal equalizer settings as well as using the built-in settings. The transfer of sound quality into the MP3 input jack in a vehicle is the best of any previous MP3 player I have owned. It seems that all MP3 players will lose some sound quality when plugged into a vehicle MP3 input jack but this one does a very decent job. As I said I don?t use the little ear-bud ear phones, I simply have too many piercings to be able to use them, so I use good quality over-the-ear headphones and as I said, the sound quality is excellent.
The built-in speakers are a nice feature although they don?t give you much volume and are not something I would actually use for listening to music. They are more useful for those moments when you want to share what you are listening to with a co-worker who walks up and asks ?what are you listening to?? or when you want to ask ?who played guitar on this song??. You can simply switch over to the built-in speakers and share what you are listening to. It?s kind of a nice feature not found on other MP3 players.
The buttons and operation are easy and intuitive to learn to use. The one thing I don?t like is that you never really shut it off. Shutting it off just puts it in stand-by mode.
I made my own sleeve to carry it in and to protect it from scratching, etc. I can see how it might scratch easily if you are the kind who carries it in your pocket and it ends up next to your keys or your pocket change.
The bottom line, this is a great little MP3 player for the money.
Pros I love the sound quality...It has even better sound quality than previous S series..Also the battery lasts for long time
Cons I don't like that I have to fix the view of the pictures manually...I wish it worked if you just rotated it..and I can't also select a picture as a wallpaper
Summary I like this product because it has much better sound quality than all the Ipods out there...I actually had an ipod nano, but then I had to change it because of its WORST possible SOUND QUALITY with the white HEADPHONES..the battery also goes too fast...even if you just listen to music and watch any videos..but the new Sony S series has it all.. the new one has bigger screen which is very good to watch videos..eventhough the main function of this mp3 player is the built in speaker I don't use it much...because I feel that the button will get loose..
The bottom is that if you really care about the music quality then you have to use this mp3 player because this is the best one you have out there...and if you just like to show off with sound quality then pick up those ipod nanos
Pros Powerful Speaker, Nice Screen, Good Computer Interface, Great Sound!
Cons Long time to load playlist list, Reboots with large playlists, No expandable memory, Will not allow you to remove bundled software.
Summary This unit boasts great sound, great sound enhancement options, a user friendly and robust menu and GUI. Linking with computer is fast and easy. However with 16GB (actually 14.8 usable) you have a lot of music and have a good chance of having a relatively large playlist (especially considering that you can sync by playlist in many computer music programs, i.e. Media Monkey, WMP 11, etc.). Well, this unit will not play large playlists, actually it will not even recognize them. When the unit loads after a sync it rebuilds the library, but apparently this library does not include the playlists. When you first go to the playlist menu, it takes forever to load (20-30 seconds easy), then when it gets to a large playlist, it locks up, clicks, then reboots. And even further, the reboot is a hard reboot, the unit takes about 3-5 min to turn back on because it has to reload the library all over again. Even after reloading, the unit will not recognize the playlists, and repeats the same problem. Bottom line, Sony made a great unit for a great price, but practically made the unit unusable with this issue. Small playlists work fine and load fast, large ones, no luck. The speaker is great, user interface and display are pristine, OS could use some work. I have synced the same playlists with many other MP3 players with no issues what so ever. Hopefully Sony will come up with a firmware fix in the near future, unfortunately at this point, there is no internet support in forums, etc. to find if this is a reoccurring problem because the unit is so new. Maybe I will try the unit again later when it has had a little more exposure on the market and the bugs have been worked out, but at this point, both units I tried (while hoping I got a lemon at first) are going back. Fellow non-Ipod users, use a your own risk.
Pros Sounds excellent. Fast and easy drag/drop songs from my computer. FM radio recording comes back sounding just like the original broadcast.
Cons Photos are displayed across the width of the screen, so even though the pictures are sharp, they are very tiny, only using half of the available screen. The unit is "dead" while it's recharging/hooked up to the computer.
Summary I bought this because of the FM recording sound quality. Very pleased with that. Easy to use for most features. Loading songs was quick and painless. The built-in speakers are functional, but nothing amazing, just an added bonus if you happen to want someone to hear something without passing around a set of headphones. I tried loading a video file, but it was apparently the wrong format (AVI not AVC) so I'll have to figure out how to change the format, if that's possible.OK, I found out where to set the photo setting to display in the "horizontal" format of the screen instead of the "vertical" orientation, so the pictures are now twice as big. Much nicer.
Updated on Sep 21, 2009
Updated on Sep 29, 2009A couple more points on this unit... after you charge the unit up and disconnect it from the computer/USB port, it stays on... even if you had it turned off when you plugged it in. I had it plugged in and charged it up, then when I went to use it, the power was way down.. almost dead. The only thing I can figure out was that it was just own the whole time after I unplugged it from the charger and didn't realise it was automatically "on" at that point. It's also very easy to bump any button on the unit, and touching almost any button will turn it on. Very easy to inadvertantly have the unit on draining power that way as well. I found I have to keep the lock button armed just to prevent the battery getting drained.
The isn't much of a fast forward speed to go through recorded sessions. Better to just stop and retsart the recording at various points to divide up the recording into more managable sections.