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on 17 September 2013
This MP3 was by far one of the best orders I have made for a while on Amazon, I specifically needed it for my training as it can become quite boring when running and all I could focus on was the traffic or the people who passed by, enough to say it was very distracting, if not irritating and definitely harder to concentrate on those last few miles. So something was evidently needed' and so I took a quick search through Amazon looking for suitable MP3's.

I will for this review analyse it in quite explicit detail and write up its 'pros' and 'cons' of this product, it will be long but informative and an available 'one stop' for anyone wondering about the product from this point forward.

I ordered this product on the 6th of September 2013 and it arrived on the 7th of September due to Amazon Prime's next day delivery. The packaging of the product was a basic cardboard wrapping which is standard for Amazon, it was knocked about during transit but the inside product was not damaged as a result.
The actually product packaging is of a shiny black card and the MP3 is securely fitted in tough plastic, this is actually expected of almost any Sony product and it is of a high quality.

Inside the product box was the instructions, it was a large sheet with many different languages on it and divided between panels the English explanation was roughly 2 panels long and relatively informative, but it did not explain the complete product features. Luckily, the MP3 is easy to use and was not an issue.

The MP3 model itself is the sturdy black plastic one with a blue led light and a loud beep which is activated whenever you select an icon on its small but readable screen; and it also flashes on and off for a bit before it stops flashing completely. This option can be turned off at anytime via the settings menu, which offers the basic feature such as play mode, brightness (which is called contrast), equalizer, led option for the blue light and the option to turn the beep off among other features.

It also includes standard earphones and a clip which can be added to the back of the MP3, probably the best thing for people who run long distances, myself included. The clip is actually very strong and it has not 'un-clipped' or slid off once during a run no matter how slow or fast I have ran my distances.
Other features include:

1. A zap/bass (bass is actually very strong, I was quite surprised even with the stock earphones it came in) button - quick explanation of zap or 'zappin' which is like a randomized feature which plays either 4 seconds or 15 seconds of a song depending on the selected MP3 settings then it switches its track, if a song is played that you like you then press the zap button to play it from the beginning. I personally find this setting useless especially that you can randomize it from the Play Mode options, and the fact you can include playlists makes it a redundant feature.
2. It also has a recording feature and hold to prevent any accidental track changing.
3. The volume has an inbuilt setting where it beeps is it is to high, and coincidentally it can be extremely loud for its small size.

As advertised it easily gives 90 minute playback for a 3 minute charge and the last time I charges it was on the 7th of September the day that I bought it and this is no exaggeration, I have used it casually but mostly running and today's date of this review is on the 17th of September and I have not had to charge it again since. In-fact the charge icon is set into 4 segments and it is on its last segment, so it has an amazing battery life.

The only thing I have left to say is that regarding the earphones it comes with are not really suited for anything else than low volume listening, as they lack musical definition completely. If you are a runner or going to use them for sport I'd Recommend the "Phillips SHS8100/10 Earhook Headphones" just copy and paste into the Amazon search bar, it should come up.

My total review of the product is five stars and on a scale of 1 - 10 it is a strong 9 out of ten, because of the near useless 'zappin' feature, this is personal however and I'm sure you would form your own understanding of the feature and maybe even enjoy it. I am going to fully recommend this product to anyone looking for a good MP3 - Sony have outdone themselves.
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on 7 January 2013
I bought it as have lost my previous one while on an trip. So as far as I was satisfied with it, why not rebuy it? Good sound quality and nice price.
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on 6 October 2013
Recently purchased one of these and what a disappointment!! it had a very cheap plasticy feel about it compared to an excellent early model i purchased in 2006 which unfortunately was lost. But i persevered followed the setup instructions to the letter but nothing!absolutely nothing and after trying the (Awful nonexistent sony after sales service!? for help/advice) i gave up and have sent it back. Certainly my confidence in this sony product was shaken, lets hope other sony products are of better quality? and reliability?.
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on 22 February 2012
I bought this a few weeks ago and although this is a very good MP3 player, I've also got the B153 model which I find easier to use. This model has the back button on the side which can be pressed unitentionally when trying to turn the volume up or down. This is slightly louder than the old models and the bass function is better than before. Has a good graphic equaliser function and on the whole is very easy to use. Good quality product. I would recommend this product to a friend.
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on 20 March 2014
I bought this to replace a Sansa Clip+ - which was an utterly disappointing attempt (review here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/R4ENU0EHCMOTZ ) to replace my awesome Cowon iAudio U2, which now appears to be irreplaceable. Where to begin? Ah, definitely with the shuffle mode:

* RANDOMIZATION (shuffle mode): a freaking scandal. Do you like listening to the same sequence of 8 songs over and over and over and over again? Then this is the device for you. What it does is, the vast majority of the time, when you're not keen on a track, and try to fast-forward to the next one... you don't get the next one! You get the one 8 or 10 tracks ago! Then you get *every single one* of the 8 or 10 tracks that followed that one the first time around - all in order! It's like Groundhog Day! You have to skip through every single track on your path there, for a chance at actually hearing a new song. Oh - and not sick of those songs yet? It will probably happen again in five minutes! How do you screw up shuffle play? So badly? I could write a randomization subroutine that would actually work in about 90 seconds, but I'd just rather spend the time warning you off this device.
+ Oh, when do you NOT get the previous tracks? When you actually want them! That is, f you try to flip BACK to a previous track, and it's more than a few tracks ago, the device gets confused and forgets the sequence and starts somewhere else! I know what you're thinking - have I got forward and back mixed up? No! Amazing! I know what you're thinking next: Why don't you just use back when you want to skip to a new track? Because A) it doesn't work reliably; and B) you have to flip through an arbitrary number of tracks before it gets confused and finds a new one! Which is just like flipping forward until you've heard the last 10 songs over again! It sucks! Either way!

* SOUND QUALITY: profoundly mediocre. A bit better than the Sansa, but nothing in the ballpark of the Cowon.

* CONTROLS: far from brilliant. Buttons very small, with little texture, which is just great for running, if you like staring at your arm while running through traffic. And what's right beside the volume-up button? The amazing, craptastic Zapin' button!

* ZAPPIN: Plenty has been written about this in the reviews. Probably the stupidest MP3 player feature ever. But, anyway, becuase of the button placement, the best thing is: just when you FINALLY get to a song you like, and try to turn the volume up... you accidentally hit the Zappin' button - and you're off to the races!

* VOICE RECORDER: I'm a novelist, and I actually do all my creative work on runs and workouts, so the voice recorder function isn't optional for me. Does this device have one? You bet! Until the wind picks up! Then, instead of irreplaceable voice notes, you've got a bunch of unintelligible howling static! [It was actually this horror that prompted me to finally write this review - by getting it out of my head, I hope to spend more time thinking about the current book, than about how much this MP3 player sucks.] This is like destruction of intellectual property, and basically unforgivable.

* VOLUME: Mediocre. I keep it turned all the way up most of the time, which should tell the tale. (In my view, you should virtually *never* see the top volume setting. There should always be volume to spare.)

* FILE MANAGEMENT: Okay. At least you can use it as a USB drive, and browse the file system to see what's actually on there. (Unlike the Sansa).

* DESIGN: Decent. It's pretty compact, and I like that it's a USB stick you can just jam in. Just don't try to jam it into your slimline laptop with the clip attached, which won't work. Oh, and the stop/start button is extremely promiscuous. Don't try sit-ups - or much of anything - with this clipped to the front of your shorts, not if you want the music to keep playing.

* CLIP: Speaking of the clip: it sucks. Like an old, worn-out clothes-pin in your grandmother's drawer. At least the Sansa did what it says on the tin, and stayed clipped to things.

And finally:

* RANDOM INSULTS! I was really going to give this a two-star review, because it's honestly functional, and if your standards aren't too high and you never want to skip forward tracks (though "shuffle" play loops back all on its own sometimes), and you don't use the voice recorder except in a sound studio, it's probably adequate. But then... today... it did this: I finally had tricked it into advancing to a song I was really into, and I was running along fast and happy, and had just turned the volume up to its meagre maximum... and it turned the volume down on me. With some spoken warning (in the ridiculous "Zappin' in!" voice, I think) admonishing me check if the volume was too high. Thanks, Sony. Thanks for nothing.

If *anyone* out there can recommend an audiophile-quality MP3 player, with a voice recorder, that DOESN'T also play video (so is suitable for exercise), I'd probably pay a bounty at this point.

Or if you know how to replace the battery in my Cowon iAudio.

Wish I had something better to point you toward, but I'm at a loss. Just don't buy this one.
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on 6 June 2013
Positive:
The sound quality was fine.
USB charge is convenient and great idea.
Comfortable for running.

Negative:
Operating buttons is not great.
Very often gets stuck when you power it off.
Eventually it just died, one month after warranty run out. Just would not power on.
Not Sony and amazon did not wish to provide any support because it is beyond 1 year warranty.
My previous mp3 player(creative ) was bought in 2005 and still works. So this item must be unreliable.
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on 16 December 2013
Gluing back my Creative Nano 1Gb I bought in 2006 having once again dropped it, I finally gave in and bought a new MP3-player. I trusted the Sony brand ('coz, you know' they've been at this a while now) - and have been hating my MP3-player since!

I accept that you cannot buy new MP3-players with replaceable batteries, the 4Gb holds plenty of music and the music sounds fine to an undemanding ear - and that's your neutral part done.

Comparing to my 7 year old Creative Nano, this player is bulky at about twice the size. Still fits in my shirt pocket fine though, and I've found out how to turn-off the inane led flashing (for which I am, as an adult, too old). The full-sized USB-connector undoubtably adds to the size; I hope those who need to connect the Player to USB often and especially when you're not at your own desk without having to carry the cable benefit. I don't.

I use my MP3-player when commuting to work. The buttons are unintuitively designed and after several weeks' of use, I still have to look at the player to figure out how to adjust volume or skip songs (no, really! - the 'wheel' direction is unintuitive) and instead of 'volume', you're just as likely to hit 'Home' or 'Zap' buttons. If you hit the wrong butoon and end up in the menu, forget about it!

When uploading new songs to the Player, it will begin playback from the first song. Good thing I like the AC/DC and Alice Cooper songs I've uploaded. I do miss the bands staring with 'The', though.

All in all; if you've not used an MP3-player previously, you're likely to find this Player perfectly adequate. If, however, you have used an MP3 in the past decade, the piss-poor design of this turd is likely to upset you.
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on 9 May 2012
Bought this player to replace my trusty B143, which I managed to render useless after cracking the screen. But over 2 years of faultless service convinced me to stick with the brand. Strangely B143 is now twice the price, than when I bought it first, so decided to go with a newer model, thinking that such a good product could only get better.

I had B173 few hours now, played around and found two slightly negative points:
- the 'jog dial' is counterintuitive when using menus, you have to turn it left to go down the list - weird
- the screen backlight is inverted, it's black-on-white, as opposed to white-on-black in B143, which I prefer. And I don't think there is option to change that
But those are minor things, which I know I'll stop noticing after a week, so I'm giving the product five stars, partly based on performance of its predecessor.

Things I love about it:
- 3 min charge - very handy when you are in a hurry, and it lasts ages too, provided you use power saving mode and don't use bass
- no batteries - in my experience with other mp3s, batteries always run out at the most inconvenient time, like in a middle of a long drive
- built-in USB - I always have my mp3 with me, and it's convenient not having to remember to drag a lead with me everywhere in case I need to transport a file or I use somebody else's computer to buy music or audiobooks
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on 9 September 2013
Brilliant little mp3 player but has a really pointless Zappin in feature which you occasionally hit when feeling around for the volume. Very lightweight, clips on brilliantly and great for running. Love it. Except for Zappin
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VINE VOICEon 19 April 2014
I bought this to replace one I had many years ago - it comes about 60% charged. It also have a wealth of paper instructions in lots of languages. I used drag and drop to add a few albums - easy.

I needed something I could clip to me whilst commuting to work rather than using my iphone. This is perfect, I can clip it to my coat pocket and not worry about it. I can also just slot this into the small pocket of my bag etc.

The only thing not good about this are the ear phones. They look cheap and don't fit in the ear properly. But past experience told me they wouldn't be great but I have other in ear ones that I will use.
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