Sony NW-S705F (2GB)

A very classy offering with built-in noise-cancelling technology, this little player is hard to fault.


7.8
CNET Rating
6.5
User Rating

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Sony is beginning to stamp its authority on flash-based MP3 players with this very classy offering. Along with design, what makes this unit so special is its built-in noise-cancelling technology. The design of the hardware and user interface are hard to fault, save for the inability to rotate the display to your comfort. The Walkman is extremely customisable, boasting lots of features and a superb battery life.

Design
Sony's new Walkman effort is sheer elegance. The unit's shiny and reflective veneer is well complemented by a classy user interface fronted by a colour OLED display which unfortunately, is faint under sunlight.

Despite the cramped dimensions, the three-line display is very well-utilised for toggling between tracks and albums and includes some space for album art. Users can turn the rotating dial to navigate the menu and swap between track and album view by sliding the dial along a horizontal axis.

At 87.2 x 27.4 x 16.8mm with a sturdy 47g frame, the Walkman is fairly petite but pretty heavy when compared with MP3 players of the same build. For a good comparison, the older NW-E005 at 25g is almost half the weight of the NW-S705F. The buttons are well-laid-out except for the inaccessible Play Mode/Sound button on the rear.

The 13.5mm diameter earbuds share some of the design aesthetics of the higher-end Sony MDR-EX90LP. What's different is that microphones are built into the earphones to monitor ambient noise. Sony has possibly scored a first by building noise-cancelling technology into the MP3 player.

Previously, noise-cancelling solutions were the domain of headphone manufacturers, with resulting bulky processor units integrated inside the headphones. By hiding the processors within the MP3 player itself, it's definitely more elegant and unobtrusive.

Features
The unique selling point of the NW-S705F is its noise-cancelling ability. In tests conducted in public transport environments, low-end noise like train rumbles were noticeably muted, though typical of consumer noise-cancelling technology, mid- to higher-end noise still comes through. Sony compensates for this by letting the user take control of the microphone's sensitivity. This helps to create a more tailored noise cancelling for different sonic environments. At press time, it's the first consumer grade product we have come across to have such an option.

The NW-S705F's noise-cancelling technology works by using the embedded microphones on the earbuds to monitor ambient noise level and send an inverse sound signal to cancel it.

Most of the player features are accessed via holding the Home button on the side of the MP3 player. This opens up options such as FM radio, playlists, shuffle playback, search, noise-cancelling activation and record arranged on a horizontal axis.

Shuffle playback is apparently a strong suit for the NW-S705F. The Time Machine shuffle picks and plays songs published in a random year and the Artist Link shuffle connects songs based on data from Gracenote's CDDB. Do note that songs have to be Artist Link-tagged in SonicStage before the option appears in the NW-S705F.

Carrying on the athletic theme from the NW-S200 series, the Sports Shuffle sets a specified playback time limit adjustable in 1-minute increments of up to 99 minutes. Unfortunately for runners, songs can be drawn only from the main library and not from a preset playlist.

Interestingly enough, the player does not need to go through a PC to transfer music onboard. An optional 3.5mm analog jack allows for recording from other devices like MD players/laptops directly to the player. The sound source output level can be adjusted via a switch on the jack (two levels). Recoding can be set to be sound-activated.

There is support for ATRAC, MP3, AAC, WMA and Linear-PCM formats. SonicStage CP is included for content management, though we'd like to gripe yet again that we would have preferred to be given the option to drag-and-drop songs directly via Windows Explorer.

Performance
The NW-S705F produced resonant bass, but the mids and highs were not crisp though they were adequate. When noise-canceling was activated, audio quality was not compromised. In fact, it was barely distinguishable from the normal mode.

When recording audio through the 3.5mm analog jack, we were satisfied with the overall quality. However, we did experience some teething problems initially when the left channel was barely audible. But subsequent recordings ran without problem.

The transfer rate through SonicStage was fairly consistent at 1.08MB to 1.19MB per second. However, the speed was rather slow when compared with other flash memory MP3 players.

FM autoscan results at our test location in the heart of the Central Business District were outstanding. The NW-S705F scored every station within the local FM spectrum.

Audio tweakers would be pleased. Instead of one user-defined five-band equaliser, the NW-S705F comes with two as well as four selectable virtual soundstages. Sony also touts a Clear Stereo technology that "enables individual left and right digital processing of the sound" from which we didn't hear much of a difference.

Sony claims a rated battery life of 47 hours which is a fairly impressive figure that should last an entire plane trip to London or LA.



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greg
9
Rating
 

greg posted a review   

The Good:- Clear solid sound
- Noise canceling is effective

The Bad:- Sonicstage requirement (however can use the instructions on http://david.dw-perspective.org.uk/Sony-NW-E00X-Walkman-On-Linux-FreeBSD-MacOSX-etc.html#step3 to get around this requirement

Nice solid state player.

ssmiker
2
Rating
 

ssmiker posted a review   

The Good:Good sound
Good Device
Reasonable FM Tuner
Compact but useful controls

The Bad:Sonic stage makes this device useless. The software is bulky and finicky and VERY VERY VERY VERY slow. It is hard to believe Sony crippled this device so badly by using this software which only runs on WINDOWS.

Since buying this device I will never buy another Sony product. Making you use SonicStage shows nothing but contempt for its customers. I own a Sony TV, PDA and stereo but after this I will go out of my way to avoid Sony products. This is as bad as the root kit they put on CDs a few years back.

anthony
2
Rating
 

anthony posted a review   

The Good:noise canceling, controls

The Bad:sonic stage ruins this player, fragile, you will be lucky if it last more than 6 months

love the noise canceling and layout of the player but the player is temperamental and sonic stage ruins it.

Lexi-J
8
Rating
 

Lexi-J posted a review   

The Good:Good memory size
lots of feautures such as time
time warp shuffle etc

The Bad:Can be painful to look through all songs on MP3 as it takes so long because the screen is so little. Difficult to see screen in bright light and how on earth do you load your own playlists onto it? Please help someone. However, the Pros outweigh the cons by far.

Great design, fits nicely in hand. Have had it a year and no major problems

Audiosamurai
9
Rating
 

Audiosamurai posted a review   

The Good:sound quality, overall quality

The Bad:sonic stage (replaceable by http://www.sonydigital-link.com/DNA/downloads/downloads.asp?l=en&ct=NWF&f=MP3FM20 !!)

everything was said before

toluca70
5
Rating
 

toluca70 posted a review   

SonicStage is horrible, give this a try instead, it will allow you to copy file directly from the hard drive to the player http://www.sonydigital-link.com/DNA/downloads/downloads.asp?l=en&ct=NWF&f=MP3FM20

abby
8
Rating
 

abby posted a review   

The Good:battery life
looks
sound quality

The Bad:software- carp and confusing
earphones
fiddly buttons
to use both hands to control

bargain- on sale!!!

Noname
7
Rating
 

Noname posted a review   

The Good:Player sounds great, and even better in a noisy place with noise cancelling turned on; the noise reduction is significant, wow! Capacity and features are really great, but the player itself is very small, though still effortless to use. Exept...

The Bad:As the player is so small, it also has very tiny display. (The screen is actually just about one third of the height of the player!) It's readable, but very faint in bright light. And not a lot of information can be displayed at once... There are three lines in the display, and I'd say those could be utilized better, the management could be improved. Fe. now it's just pain in the **** to browse all sogs as there are no letter shortcuts and therefore finding a particular song with it's name, is very painful, practically impossible, as it takes minutes to scan through hundreds of files with that three-line-display. Letter sortcuts would be essential! SonicStage has such... Okay, then there are those BULKY earphones... No matter they are bulky, but they are irritatingly angular, and the edges of aluminium microphone cases are SHARP! Damn! Atleast in my case, the edges, SHARP edges, push my ears so, that they start hurting pretty bad just in couple of minutes. Well, I didn't take that for very long, so I grapped a file (tiny, tiny file) and rounded those irritating edges. (I took great care preventing that no metal dust gets inside the phones, taped holes and so.) Basically that did the trick, now I barely notice that the phones are there. But I'm just saying, those earphones are a bit bad design... Well, they don't fit for everyone for sure. There are three different size muffs to change on the part, that goes in ear. If the phones were designed so, that also the angle of the in-ear-goeing-part could be changed... Well, maybe in next model, right SONY! :) And no more sharp edges in phones, please! Yeah, I should propably write straight to Sony...

Very nice, compact player. I don't mind using SonicStage software either. It's also smarter and easily aproachable than iPod's iTunes.

amier
7
Rating
 

amier posted a review   

The Good:it fits in the palm of my hand in my pocket and i can control it without having to take it out and look at the display. i can't believe the size of this thing. the person who designed this thing must love music and how it should sound. i hope they make an upgraded version of this unit with more features. i'll be the first to buy.

The Bad:1. the headphones are a bit bulky as the back end is visible wher the microphone sits.
2. sonicstage is a pain but a must. sony needs to make it user friendly as i have had times when the programme freezes. i have to shut it down and restart most annoying.

an excellent piece. i've never really liked flash memory items but this is truely amazing. its very loud and the noise cancelling feature is amazing. i'm truely happy. my last gizmo was a zen extra broke in 2 months. i was better of with a walkman for the size.

toody
6
Rating
 

toody posted a review   

The Good:*Noise cancelling technology (perfect when you're in noisy areas -- you can hear your music without having to blast the volume up)
*Jog function -- sony has encased it in a little gap, i think it'll last a bit longer. (my 500 series was broken because of the jog function)
*Fast charging

The Bad:*SonicStage -- of course it's annoying and transferring songs takes a while if you're converting bit rates. Another thing I HATE is I can't simply add a song to an exisiting playlist onto the player.
*The functions aren't as great as they used to be on the 500 series. It takes so many extra steps to change onto FM tuner. I can't easily get to my playlists anymore
*Poorer battery life --It'll only last at least 24 hours for me. Much better battery life of course compared to the ipod (12 hrs) but it doesn't last as long as the 500 series. What's up with that?
*The earphones -- I like how they're noise cancelling...but I hate how the jack thing only fits into the player. I hit the gym a lot and I end up having to bring an extra pair of regular earphones if I want to plug them in to watch tv while I'm on the cardio machines.
*No cover to protect the usb drive on the player -- I already see dust encrusted in it

My NW-507 mp3 player broke so I ended up having to buy another one. This mp3 player is pretty decent but not as great as the 500 series. Sony has made some improvements but only minor ones. One of them I found was the display. In daylight you can at least see a bit whereas the 500 series you couldn't.


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User Reviews / Comments  Sony NW-S705F (2GB)

  • greg

    greg

    Rating9

    "Nice solid state player."

  • ssmiker

    ssmiker

    Rating2

    "Since buying this device I will never buy another Sony product. Making you use SonicStage shows nothing but contempt for its customers. I own a Sony TV, PDA and stereo but after this I will go ou..."

  • anthony

    anthony

    Rating2

    "love the noise canceling and layout of the player but the player is temperamental and sonic stage ruins it."

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