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on 21 July 2012
This is basically a simple and fairly easy to use player which for me is about the right size but it has several features which stop me getting really excited about it.
On the good side - it has direct USB charging with quick charging time and fast load/erase cycle.
I don't use playlists but prefer to transfer albums in folders straight from my MP3 archive and change them it every few weeks. Access to files via folders is quite straight forward. Go to Music/Folder/ and drill down via the big central button to the Album you want or 'Play All' from any folder level.
Skipping forward/backward through tracks is quite straight forward from the 2-way outer wheel which you also use to select menu categories. Supplied earphones are quite good quality but I prefer the rubber type that push right into the ear and don't keep falling out so changed these. The built in voice recorder does a pretty good job although you cant use it to record from the radio because this model doesn't have a radio. Memory is small -2Gb unexpandable but there is a more expensive 4Gb version available which I didn't realise when I bought this.
There is also a useful 'Hold' button to stop jogging the controls in your pocket and has the usual repeat-shuffle options which I never use and you'll probably want to overide the annoying button beeps which default to on. The unit remembers where it was when switched off/on or after using the voice recording feature which is very handy.

On the negative side the unit can be quite frustrating for several reasons.
a) The quality of sound is very good but for me volume is almost but not quite high enough. When using on the subway train I have to set everything to max and set the graphic equalisers to max to get sufficient signal. With classical music with quiet passages or slightly under recorded mp3's you'll be struggling to hear it clearly in a noisy environment. For indoor use and normal quiet walking with well recorded mp3's though it is OK.
b) The volume - bass boost - recorder buttons are all flush and on the same side of the unit and you are continually fumbling and hitting the wrong switch so this is a big nuisance. You'll have to hold the unit really close and read the tiny letters on the switches to be sure what you're doing.
c) With the base boost on the blue ring light is continually flashing in time with the music which wastes battery power although this can be suppressed in the options menu.
d) The Zapping in - Zapping out track monitor feature is highly irritating and utterly useless. Unfortunately its easy to invoke this by accident.
e) The display screen is tiny. Unless you have Eagle eyes you'll need to take reading glasses and a magnifying glass on your walk. This is a shame because the unit is wide enough to have a much larger easy to read display screen.

To end on a high note this is a very nice looking unit and battery life is great and if you have access to a computer most times, as I do, a quick recharge is only ever a few minutes away and this will last for many hours. In use I have found the interface quite intuitive and it plays mp3's 'GAPLESS'. For a person like me who plays a lot of opera and classics this is a godsend.For those who don't know what gapless play is, almost every low cost mp3 player forms a 3 second gap between tracks even when the CD has no gap i.e. where there is a change of title in a continuous piece such as Sgt Peppers LHB. or any opera. Those of you plagued by this on your PC with windows media player should download 'foobar' its free and also plays mp3's gapless.

Anyway Bottom line - would I buy another if I lost it. Definitely ?? Well - Maybe., but I'd get the 4gb unit!

Footnote : After a year or so got fed up with hard to see buttons and screen and bought Sandisk Clip+ (8gb) This was cheaper and easier to use in practice and , with a small modification to settings to bypass EU restrictions its 'louder' as well. Also plays Gapless and has a fairly good radio.

Footnote 2 : OK so my Sansa Clip battery gave out after only six months so now I'm using the Sony again. Same amazing battery performance - if only they would remove the EU decibel restrictions as Sansaclip did and make it easier to read.!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 19 December 2012
I was given one of these things for a present, following the demise of a very good mp3 player (Sansa Clip), if it had'nt been a present it would've gone in the bin and here's why:

It's overpriced given what you get and what it's actually capable of.
The ear phones are cheap and not of the in ear type.
The limited use jog wheel is way too big & cumbersome.
The sound is woeful unless you use zapin, which plays a few seconds of each song as it skips thru them all.
The volume, zapin & rec/stop button are way too close, and you will press Record frequently.
Charging it after being fully depleted is a right royal pain in the ???, as it will probably need re-setting.
The interface (how you move within the menu is awkward & frustrating, not designed by garmin was it ?).
Battery life is poor (less than a week from a full charge and only used for half an hour a day).
No Music styles (rock,pop etc).
Deleting a track should be easy, but it's not.
The Lcd remains brightly lit for way too long, at night it becomes a lighting beacon.

My Sansa clip on the other hand was in a totally different class (better sound, easier to use, better battery life, smaller & cheaper).

I can re-call getting a similar style but far better device several years ago on an auction site from hong kong, and being a very big Sony fan to say that I'm disappointed is an understatement, now I can see why the Ipod is so popular.

The ONLY good thing about this piece of dire equipment is that it looks fairly stylish (just).

Quite clearly (going by the other reviews) I'm not the only one to think that this is about the worst mp3 player you can buy. It will be in the bin within the next month (until I can source a cheap sansa).

Final update Dec 2013; Having foolishly bought the above I continued to use it, and a set of sony ear buds did help improve the sound quality from 3/10 to 5/10, again Zappin provided the best quality (7/10), a gadget show group test featured the b4173, it got panned, this very poor excuse of an mp3 player has even been bettered by a 5year old plus 128mb creative zen that i recently found,sound comparison is laughable, the zen stomps all over this sony, which is why it was thrown in the bin, an iPod shuffle was received on x-mas day and the difference between the sony and the ipod is the same as day and night, I know understand why apple products carry a price premium, the shuffle is far superior to the brand that invented the Walkman in every way.
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on 20 August 2012
This review is for: Sony NWZB172 B Series Music Clip Walkman 2GB - Black (Electronics)
I also bought this product on the basis of customer reviews! Please forgive my lengthy review I really can't slam this product hard enough, as there are multiple reasons consumers should avoid this. Hopefully my review will help a consumer like myself who prefers to avoid gimmick products and half-attempts to capture the MP3 market when the product clearly shows Sony have moved on to MP4s etc.

I've used MP3s & these players for over a decade now, for both music and data and because they are supposed to be simple to use, easy interface by USB with Windows programmes, and swift data transfer of more than just audio files, word documents, spreadsheets etc. But I wanted something more durable than the Evodigitals and mistakenly thought Sony might have used their experience to make a good product to last me longer than a few months before their clunky button get knackered.

The Sony NWZB172 Series Music Clip Walkman 2GB - Looks snazzy, but that's as far as the functionality of this product goes. I bought this for just shy of £33, 3 times the price of the cheapest basic ones which are perfectly satisfactory for robust use. I would expect an MP3 player 3X the cost to have 3X the memory, 3X the sound quality, 3X the functionality, and most of all, 3X the ease of use...

1.) Memory - 2Gb is more than enough for a lot of data/songs etc but when £9.99 MP3s can give you double this you have to question why this costs so much.
2.) Sound quality? Terrible. Very low at maximum, and traffic sounds can be very clearly heard over playback.
3.) Functionality - The equalizers barely make a difference to the sound between selected genres and in fact 'Normal' is the best, again for the cost, I expect this to be present. Other functions are pretty standard fare and no different to cheaper options.
4.) Easy to use? The NWZB172 IS easy to use, in its defence, with a standard drag and drop system if you're using IBM/Windows OS. But with anything other than Vista and better, even if they are recent updates (I'm using XP SP3), you are very likely to get it crashing, deleting data, corrupting files, and going dead altogether. It is also prone to an error message which reads "Verbindem.M.USB" and will do nothing else but display this when you plug it in to charge. Despite days of trawling the internet tech forums for solutions, I discovered this is a common problem with this model. I didn't even bother contacting Sony I'll vote with my wallet. This product on 2 occasions and 2 seperate products crashes with this error after it's 1st full charge (recommended in the manual)
It was marketed with a '3 min charge' USP. It's not quite 3 mins but it does charge quickly. But this is where the problems begin. The easy to install user manual recommends pressing the 'RESET' button "with a small pin" to return functionality, but doesn't indicate how far to press or how many times if this doesn't work, it would be very easy to skewer the thing in trying to fix it! Still I purchased via Amazon with the seller ASK. When I requested a replacement, they were very efficient, polite and always responded to emails to arrange collection and delivery, fortunately I was on holiday that week, and despite one or two errors of communication with the driver not following instructions to deliver, they rectified delivery of the replacement, which unfortunately had the same problem.

I requested a refund which the seller promptly issued, and I decided to purchase this product from Argos instead, not advertised on Amazon:

PHILLIPS GoGear SA3MXX02 - It has 4Gb, 2X the memory, the screen is wider & 2X as large, it is slimmer, sleeker, has better functionality, plus everything this one claims to do but doesn't, charges in 15-20mins and holds charge for over 90mins, but 5 min top ups in any PC/laptop will mean you will never get a dead battery!Great sound, even records, other models have radio but this kicks Sony's 172's butt! A month on it's still going!

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on 24 September 2012
Positives: It's a good size, the playback quality is good, I found the menu easy to navigate, the maximum volume was okay (I could hear most podcasts alongside a fairly busy road), and it charged quickly.

However, it broke after 5 months.
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on 20 September 2012
- Good battery life
- Decent sound quality

- Tiny display
- You cant see duration of songs
- Unresponsive and slow rotational switch
- Pricey for what it offers
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on 31 January 2013
I didn't particularly want an iPod, but did want an MP3 player for when I was walking the dog. this is compact, well made and easy to use. The headphones are of good quality and the sound reproduction is good. I have only had it a few months, so cannot make comment on the durability, as yet.
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on 23 January 2013
Bought this player April last year and was very happy with it. Nice and small, easy to charge and transfer music onto it. From that point it did everything I needed.

Then after 8 months it suddenly stopped turning on. Trying all the recommendations from the sony website (charging, resetting) did not fix it. There was a 1 year warranty on this product and I exchanged it without problems at amazon. Full points for the no-hassle refund from amazon, so bought a different mp3 player from them now.
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on 2 September 2012
Stopped working after 32 days, just outside Amazon's 30 day return period. Sony portrays itself as a premium brand but has sadly lost its way with this product.
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on 10 August 2012
I am very happy with it. It was cheap and the battery last ages plus it charges really quick. The screen is small but it is easy to navigate on it to choose different options. The sound is also very good and the headphones very confortable. The clip that it has for its transport is very useful to do exercise.I would buy it again with no doubts.
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on 18 October 2015
This is a great product -- I've used them for years, as an mp3 player and a microrecorder for work. It's tiny, lightweight and withstand most anything except being dropped in a cup of coffee.

The record quality is great: you can set it in the center of a table surrounded by five people in a loud, crowded restaurant, and still capture all the voices of participants without an unacceptable level of background. You can do interviews in cheering crowds, as long as you hold the mic quite close to the subject's face. The USB interface makes for easy file transfer -- and without having to fuss around with annoying sync programs.

The sound quality is also great, and the size and weight make it perfect for music while exercising, especially running outdoors where a big smartphone would always be a hassle. And at this price, if you lose it (always the biggest hasard with tiny devices) just get a new one.
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