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3.5 out of 5 stars526
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on 20 April 2013
USAGE CONDITIONS:
I have been using the Walkman for four weeks now. I am swimming every second day for 1.5 hrs - all strokes but majorly front-crawl and backstroke and some fly and breaststroke also.
I'm a competing approx. four times a year. So, one could say I'm not a pro-athlete but not a pure amateur who swims for fitness purposes only.

I'm telling this to you so you know under what exact conditions the player is used and how it performs.

GETTING STARTED:
When I bought the player and used it for the first time, I was able to reproduce the malfunction other reviewers describe here.
If too much water gets into your ear it gets into the player too and as water isn't particularly good in transmitting sound waves, the volume goes down to a level that I would describe as: the TV/Radio is playing in the background.. It's there but you don't really pay attention to it.
You don't have to let the player dry out over night, with some firm tapping as described in the manual (don't be too shy.. it has to be quite firm without being too hard) you are able to get some of the water out immediately and continue at 75% of the maximum volume - which is quite a lot as the player gets very loud.

The second time I was using the player this issue happened to me much later in my swim-session when I tumble-turnded and pushed of the wall quite hard (We were doing 100m individual medley sprints - for those who wondered). One of the earpieces fell out and some water went in again, the volume went down and I was staying at the end of the lane tapping the water out for a minute or so. Adjusting the strap that gives additional tightness for the player helped and it didn't happen again until the end of the session.

AND ONCE YOU GOT STARTED:
Since then I never faced any severe problems or issues with the player. It took me a while to figure out how to fit it on properly but since than, swimming with music makes the training sessions much more fun and enjoyable.

ADDITIONAL OPERATING HINTS
- An additional hint would probably be to put the player on BEFORE you go into the pool as obviously water gets into your ear and you seal it in your auditory channel if you then put the player on.
- If the player slips off: adjust the neck strap to give the player extra tightness so it doesn't happen again. Additionally, try to get as much water out of your ears and the player as you can before you continue as otherwise, again, you seal the water in your ears and it gets into the player.
- If water gets into the player and the volume drops to a VERY low level, try to tap out some water as described in the manual. IT HELPS (even if it doesn't get out the water completely for the current session you're in).
- Try to find your right earpieces: I didn't mention it above, but between the first and the second time I used the player, I tried some of the earpieces. For me, the pre-fitted ones fit best. But it seems that you sometimes need a different size for your left and right ear.

SUMMARY
I was struggling whether I should rate this player with 4 or 5 stars.
I decided to give it 5 as the initial problems weren't a malfunction of the player.
Here's why: If water gets in, the volume drops. Thats not a problem unique to this device, it's a problem called PHYSICS. Water is bad at transmitting sound-waves. As soon as the water gets out again, the player works fine.
This can happen to you with every other water-usable MP3 player.

Yes - one may say: Sony could do better ensuring the earpieces are sealed with your auditory channel to avoid water getting in. But hey - if you read the manual, they tell you pretty much everything that I just told you, i.e. if you read it, you know how to use it properly.
If you use it properly - it's brilliant:
- Nice sound quality
- You hardly notice that you are wearing it
- Good battery life
- Easy to use

Overall this Walkman is fantastic to make your swimming more fun!
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on 19 March 2014
I bought this MP3 player because I was so desperately bored swimming, but had resolved to swim for an hour 3 times a week.

Below are some points that I've noted:-

- I spent a long time making sure the earplugs fitted perfectly (they supply extra ones) before getting into a pool after reading some of the reviews on here about leaking earplugs letting water interfere with the sound. I had no problem at all with them falling out or water getting in, the sound quality was excellent.

- I made sure the black neck band was tightened to stop them from moving about when I was swimming, they stayed in place perfectly, though I had to wear my long hair in a ponytail (which I do to swim anyway) for them to be most comfortable.

- They were easy to charge up and a case of drag and drop to add music (or use Windows Media Player to sync with a playlist).

- I found that music was great to listen to while swimming; but I also enjoyed listening to audio books. I've never listened to audio books before and I'd always want music in the gym; but my swim sessions are more about relaxing than going hell for leather, and despite never having listened to an audio book before in my life; I've purchased quite a few now.

- Time seems to go much faster in the pool with music or a book to listen to!

- The headphones are sturdy and the cable feels like it's good quality, they do not feel cheap at all.

- The power button is the only thing that I don't like about these headphones; it is a bit fiddly and I kept pressing 'stop' on the MP3 player before I turned it off, so when I turned it on and the music didn't start I was confused and so kept turning it on and off again. This was mainly due to the fact that I was pausing the music before turning it off, and that I was trying to turn it on them while it was on my ears already. I started to turn it on before putting it onto my ears, and within a few uses I'd got used to the controls enough to be able to manipulate them while wearing the headset.

Overall, this is the best MP3 player I've ever owned, most versatile and comfortable!
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on 21 February 2014
Really enjoying this product. Swimming can be a bit monotonous and it can sometimes be difficult to maintain the motivation to stay in the pool for as long as I should but this device has completely revolutionised my swim sessions in this respect. I typically swim for around 40 minutes and I have used this now on my last few swims. I selected the buds which best fit my ears and secured the strap under a fairly thick swim hat and I have not had any trouble with leaking or sound quality. I swim front crawl for my entire swim (though not mega fast which may be one reason why I have not experienced the water penetration/sound issues that others have reported - I don't tumble turn either). I have a very small head and little ears so I did think this might cause an issue but no problems so far. The software was easy to load onto my MAC (device comes with instructions for both MAC and Windows) and you can download podcast episodes which helps the time to fly by! The only drawback with this device is the buttons are slightly fiddly on the actual player but you do get used to them after a few swims. If you are loading podcasts I would advise you not to load lots of music because if you accidentally press shuffle you will have to fast forward through numerous songs before you can find a podcast again and this is difficult to do once you have the device on. There is a lock mechanism which stops this from happening if you remember to lock it anyway!! Great product and I would highly recommend it to anyone who struggles to stay in the pool for those long training swims!
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on 1 September 2013
I have to swim for health reasons but find it incredibly boring. I was loaded this device with BBC Radio 4 programmes I had downloaded and was thenable to swim happily for more than my target hour a day.

However, there are some issues. Even with my gentle breastroke/my version of backstroke, the earplugs can fill with water which blocks the sound. It only happened with me because the right one was a little lose, even with the biggest ear plug provided. When I pushed it back in, any water in my ear was sometimes forced into the earpiece. It is a simple task to clear, which is covered in the instructions (though you have to look carefully for it).

I found that, by removing the earpiece, then tapping it quite firmly on a cloth a dozen times, this did the trick.

However, I have just had a more serious issue and have had to return it as faulty. Whatever I did, if failed to connect to any of my computers (USB) which stated that the device was not recognised. I suspect a fault on the connecting "prongs". No connection to a PC? Then this item is useless. It will not charge and it is not possible to transfer files to it.

The Amazon.co.uk returns procedure was brilliant and a replacement had been despatched the next day after completing the online form. Cost of postage was reclaimed by using the online chat facility. The full amount was credited.

I hope the new one will remain fault-free as I can't now swim for any time without it!

There is one more issue. It is not possible to fast forward or rewind through a file. So, with a 40 or 60 minute programme this can be a pain especially as, once you connect the device to the PC and access the files, it forgets where it had got to in playing back the last file played. The only way round this for me was to edit the programme I had been listening to, but not completed, and chop off the part I had already heard. This is a silly shortcoming and one that they could easily overcome with a firmware update.
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on 20 June 2013
The good

Charging and loading music using the software included is really easy or you can just make your own .pla playlists and drag and drop them and your music using windows explorer or vlc or whatever you like.
You can create a playlist and load it onto the device in minutes.
I wore these in the pool for 45 minutes doing a mix of breaststroke and freestyle. Water got into the earbuds when i started to sweat after about 15 minutes as i think the sweat helped break the seal and I had to stop and just tap it out again lightly with my finger. I then carried on with no problems for the rest of the session.
The next day after using one of the larger earbuds that come included i did not have the problem again and neither did a friend who tried them out and loved them. I really love being able to listen to music it really makes everything so much more enjoyable. Oh and in case you were wondering if anyone can hear them underwater, no you cannot. Feel free to listen to as much britney spears, backstreet boys, metallica and busta ryhmes as you like ;)

The bad
I have added some tracks to mu music collection as i do weekly and the included software does not recognise that there is new music which is a bit annoying because i actually REALLY like the interface it is so clean and simple. Not a problem though I will just go back to vlc or media player or whatever :)
You also cannot really do any deep water (2 meters) as the pressure pushes water in.

The info
I have tried the "H2O Audio Amphibx" armband mp3 waterproof case with the "H2O Audio Surge Waterproof Sport Headphones" ..... those headphones sucked and stopped working within 4 months. So lets see how long these last eh :D

If you use your goggle straps to secure the player by your ears and back of the head it helps keep the earbuds in place. If that doesnt work you can use a swimming cap with them, i could dive into the pool with a cap without loosing the seal and music.

Brilliant, just brilliant(for now) First sign of problems and I will be reporting back.
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on 26 August 2013
I bought this for when I'm out running on my own as I found it too boring just running by myself, and didn't want to have headphone wires flopping about. After reading generally positive results, decided to go for this player, so I wouldn't have to be concerned about going out in the rain or sweat affecting it.

After several runs of varying distance on pavement/grass/track I have found it to be exactly what I hoped for. It has never fallen off my ears, the weight is fine - it doesn't feel uncomfortable - although the longest I've worn it for is about 50 minutes. The volume is good enough, I'm not sure I have taken it to its maximum level - it does warn when increasing the volume above a certain level.

It takes just a few seconds to put on and go, which is very convenient - no fussing/having to stop to adjust wires etc.

Like another reviewer noted, you do get the thud thud noise of running but I haven't found it to be annoying.

I do like the fact I can just plug it into the laptop and copy files across without having to load up separate software. The 4GB space is easily enough for storing a load of tunes - I don't want every MP3 on there, just ones that I enjoy running to.

Overall I'm really happy with it, it makes solitary runs more enjoyable, especially when faced with a long uphill stretch. It isn't the cheapest option for listening to music whilst out running, but is probably the most convenient.
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on 3 July 2014
Having previously bought a Sony waterproof MP3 player which failed about 3 months in, I was somewhat tentative in purchasing this. I don't swim but run regularly and sweat profusely. I've had these for around a year now and they are nothing but excellent. Loading music on to the MP3 player simply involves dragging and dropping into the folder, no more playing with proprietary Sony software. Sound is loud and the earphones are well 'sealed' so that you don't get too much noise leakage. Controls are easy to access and there is a lock button which means you can easily throw this into your gym bag without worrying about the battery running down. If the battery does run down, charging it for 5 minutes will give you enough juice for a workout, which is a major bonus. A full charge seems to get me about 5-6 hour long work outs. All in all, thoroughly recommended!

Pros:
Waterproof (though I haven't used it to swim)
Sound is bassy and earphones well sealed
Sit well on neck, even when sprinting
Controls easy to use and intuitive
Charges quickly
Drag and drop to add files

Cons:
Charging is via a little dock which has a USB port, this means you have to drag the dock around if you want to charge in the car
The earphone inserts are removable (3 sizes are provided), I've yet to lose one but not sure how I would go about replacing it.
Bit expensive, but probably worth it in the long run
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on 18 December 2013
I read positive and negative reviews on this but went for it in any case. I'm glad I did. I made sure that the earbuds fitted and that the connecting cord was under slight tension before swimming and I have had no problems. I am a recreational swimmer and swim about 40 min with a mixture of strokes. The ear buds stayed in place and the sound quality is really good. The water sounds are dulled and the music is clear with your head in or out of the water. You do feel the drag of the ear 'boxes' but you soon get used to that and confident that they will not pop out. The controls take a bit of getting used to i.e. its easy to press the wrong button but you do get a reassuring voice to say that you have got it right. The software download to my Mac was easy but if you are a Mac user and are used to user-friendly interfaces get used to disappointment. It has a PC file structure that will take a short while to work out. That said the drag and drop from iTunes to the Walkman is quick and efficient, you just have to look in the delete section to see if it has worked. If you are a faster swimmer doing tumble turns etc you might have the problems experienced by other users; however, if you are a recreational swimmer the Walkman is great and the experience of swimming is transformed by motivational music, just like iPods and running. Buy it, enjoy it!
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on 3 October 2013
I purchased this mp3 player to use solely for swimming as I use my iPod with sport Bose headphones in the gym. I read the Sony guide online and tried out a few of the different ear buds before going anywhere near the pool, and also played around with how my goggle strap would sit once I had it on as I didn't want to be messing around with all this once I got there.
I was really pleased how easy it was to load it up with music from Itunes on a mac and the 3 minute charge feature is excellent. I can only describe using this as a strange experience at first. I've been swimming on and off for years and have never been able to listen to music like this before, but you quickly get used to it. I did have some strange glances from other pool users though, as even though the idea has been around for a while I've not personally seen many people using them.
I found they felt much more secure with a goggle strap on over the top - I tried swimming a few lengths without goggles and although they didn't fall off they felt a little loose. I didn't experience any of the problems others seem to have - the sound remained loud enough and clear for the duration on my hour plus swim mostly doing freestyle. I love swimming but sometimes laps can become a little boring, but with this in the pool I didn't want to stop!
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on 30 May 2014
I recently ordered these and was nervous to see what they were like due to the varied reviews. My main intention was to wear them was for swimming but also for use in the gym to drown out the awful music they play.

When I received them I played around with the different eartips and thought I had a successful set that were snug however on the first swim i could tell they were wrong. Water started to come in after a couple of laps, by the end on the swim both ears were playing very quietly. Second time I altered the buds and although better one ear fell completely silent after 5 or 6 laps.

Having read different reviews I bought some triple flange eartips (£2.99 from ebay) and they are honestly amazing. They have a much longer tip that sits deep in the ear preventing any water from getting in. I swam for an hour with no loss of sound. It is a shame that Sony don't provide better eartips, or maybe I have funny ears, but it really is a small, cheap and easy way to ensure that the sound remains perfect.

All in all these are amazing for swimming and the gym, it is great not to have any trailing cables. I am sure sound enthusiasts will say the sound quality isn't as great as others, but for £40 (with the mp3 as well) you really can't go wrong!
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