Working out is good, no? But nothing's worse than worrying about gushing sweat damaging your delicate headphones, or a dangling wire getting caught in the treadmill, sucking you into the machinery. The Sony NWZ-W260 has you covered -- it's a water-resistant, wire-free MP3 player in the form of a headset. It'll be out at the end of July, in white and black versions, for a currently undisclosed price.
We've had a chance to get our mitts on the NWZ-W260, so, pending a full, in-depth review, read on for our first impressions.
The NWZ-W260 comprises two chunky earbuds attached to a flexible loop that fits around the back of your bonce. There's no annoying wire flapping about, and no need to conceal your MP3 player in your pocket, because all your tunes are stored in the headset itself.
Along the top of the left earbud, you'll find play and pause controls and a rocker to skip tracks back and forth. Over on the right, there's a volume rocker, and another button for controlling playlists and shuffling music.
The 'buds themselves are of the in-ear variety, and should form a seal with the inside of your ear. We didn't get a chance to listen to them in our hands-on session, but, in our review of the similar NWZ-W202 MP3 player, we noted that: "The bass is solid, the treble is clear and the mid-range is smoother than a freshly shaved Olympic cyclist". There's reason to be hopeful, then.
The NWZ-W260 doesn't offer total sound isolation. But, when you're working out or jogging outdoors, this could be helpful. It might not be safe to completely isolate yourself from the din of your surroundings when exercising -- you might get squashed by a bus or knocked over by a maniac riding a Segway on the pavement.
The NWZ-W260 certainly feels extremely light, so we don't think it'll exhaust your neck. The band that loops around your noggin is flexible, but feels sturdy.
Water good idea
We weren't able to test exactly how water-resistant the NWZ-W260 is. Sony reckons it'll laugh in the face of sweat and rain, and even showers -- but not pressure showers. They won't play nice with shampoo either.
The battery is supposed to last about 8 hours, and, if you've accidentally let the battery run down, then a 3 minute blast of charge will apparently give you enough juice for an hour's workout. We'll test these claims in our full review.
Syncing should be easy enough. Sony says the NWZ-W260 will sync with iTunes or your PlayStation 3. Best of all is that you can load the NWZ-W260 with tunes from your PC by dragging and dropping them. That's great if you need to line up some tracks in a hurry.
The downside of an MP3 player that sits on your head is that there's no screen to tell you what you're listening to. Sony's Zappin feature is one way around that -- it plays you a snippet of each track as you skip through them, so you can quickly find the song you're hunting for. But we've not been impressed by this feature in the past, describing it in our review of the NWZ-W202 as 'almost comically misjudged'.
The Sony NWZ-W260 looks like it will be a good choice for those who want to listen to music while hulking up down the gym. Keep your eyes on this page for the full review soon.
Edited by Charles Kloet