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Sony Walkman NWZ-W273 Review: Waterproof Player for the Win

A review of the newest Sony Walkman!
A review of the newest Sony Walkman!

Sony Walkman NWZ-W273 Review: Waterproof Player for the win

Two weeks ago we showed you the unboxing of the Sony Walkman NWZ-W273, a waterproof MP3 player (4GB internal storage, non-expandable) integrated with in-ear headphones. We’ve been using it extensively for the last few weeks in various conditions: running, swimming, and working out on the gym. In our tests we wanted to see if it did well for ergonomics, sound quality, intuitiveness, and over-all durability. Read on for our full review.

(Note from EIC: This review was contributed by our Unbox Podcast Special Co-Host, Eason De Guzman. Thanks Eason!)

Form Factor: This is the New Walkman

The Sony Walkman debuted several decades ago for cassette tapes and it came with lanky headphones. Eventually they made the transition to CDs, to harddrives, and then to flash drives. Today we have this new design which integrates the earphones with the actual player and it looks pretty cool. They designed it specifically for people with active lifestyles as you wear it as a band (from the back of your head) as opposed to the usual clip MP3 player with separate earphones.

This is actually already the 3rd generation of Sony Walkmans using this particular design. The older models though were water-resistant and this is the first variant that is 100% waterproof.

(Older model side by side the newest one)

A snug and solid fit

The Sony Walkman NWZ-W273 is truly one made and perfected for people doing physical activities. The in-ear plugs snugly fit inside our ears providing excellent noise isolation. Not only that, it didn’t fall of our ears even if we were running, swimming, or even doing body jam in Fitness First (lol) thanks to the solid and holding it together.

Button Layout

While the device has made huge strides in stability, durability, and design, the form factor lends itself to some unavoidable flaws. We’re talking about the buttons and controls. There’s a kinda steep learning curve here because it’s not how you usually control MP3 players. As you would imagine the controls are on the outer faces of the earpieces. On the left side we have the volume rocker and shuffle. On the right we have previous/next, play/pause, and the power/lock switch. It will take a bit of getting used to.

All these buttons are similar in texture so you might mistake one for another button especially the ones for next track and play / pause. A good feature they added though is the lock switch of the power button. You can use it so that you don’t accidentally turn it on or off, especially when it’s in your bag or pocket.

Just like the iPod Shuffle, we don’t have a visual interface here to navigate songs. All we have are the next and previous track buttons and the shuffle mode. To organize the songs you’ll have to connect it to your laptop/desktop and come up with your own playlists.

How to put in music? Remember folders?

You can play music in sequence or shuffle mode. You can organize your music by folders using your laptop. Unfortunately storage is only up to 4GB so you’ll probably be fixing your playlist with selected songs as opposed to just dumping your entire music library in the device (like what you do with your iPod).


If you want to preview songs quickly without pressing the next track button multiple times you can use the Zappin feature. When you long press the play button, you navigate through your music in shuffle mode and pacing through 10 second previews of your music until you are satisfied with what track you want to play. The previews are shown around every mid of the song so most likely you will always hear the chorus part of your music which is easier to recognize.

Sound Quality: Surprisingly Good

Sony has spent decades designing and perfecting their audio equipment. In fact they still have some of the best earphones and headphones in the market today. They used that expertise to make sure that the Sony Walkman NWZ-W273 delivers great sound quality despite the rather unique and unconventional form factor. Treble is clear and the separation is actually pretty impressive. Mids could use a little more work though as well as the bass but it’s not really bad considering the price and the other benefits (water-resistant, durability, etc).

Wateproof: Music underwater = Amazing

How about swimming? We tried swimming with this and we can say without a shadow of a doubt that it’s an amazing experience to listen to music underwater! There’s some sort of serene feeling to it, hehe. Anyway, Sony claims that it can go as deep as 2 meters which means it’s great when you are just wading about or even doing more strenuous swimming exercises.

(Photo from Sony)

The device is also ideal for running. It never fell off during our runs so this is truly the perfect audio partner for runners, both casual and serious types.

Battery Life: Workout all day

Sony claims up to 8 hours of non-stop playing. But in our experience we can only get up to 6.5 hours maximum playback. Maybe this is because we play my music a little bit above average in volume. But for our active lifestyle it’s already enough for our everyday routines to get through the day with music.


There is a small LED indicator light on the right earpiece that flashes red when low battery and green on normal battery levels. It also beeps from time to time if you are low in battery.

Weirdest but kinda cool charging mechanism

To keep this model of the Sony Walkman waterproof they needed to find a way to take out the micro USB slot for charging and data transfer. To accomplish this they replaced it with a magnetic mechanism that requires a dock which in turn has the USB cable that you connect to your laptop or desktop. So don’t misplace it as you might never charge your Walkman ever again, hehe.


Verdict: It’s worth the investment

We always get asked — what’s the best earphone for running and working out? This is our answer. The Sony Walkman NWZ-W273 delivers excellent sound quality while at the same time offering superb durability and stability. There are still some kinks they can iron out later on but for now this truly is the best option available.

The Sony Walkman NWZ-W273 is available in the market for Php4,995 (4GB Variant). It’s available in Sony stores, AV Surfer and other IT stores nationwide.

(Note from EIC: This review was contributed by our Unbox Podcast Special Co-Host, Eason De Guzman. Thanks Eason!)

Carlo Ople

Carlo is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of During daytime he’s the Managing Director and Partner of a Digital Marketing Agency in the Philippines and by nighttime he’s living out his passion as a gadget enthusiast and story teller through Unbox.

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    1. yes you can charge it in power bak, I tried it using my power bank and it did charged. use only the 1-1.5A usb socket.

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