Review: Sony WS623 Walkman®, built to endure extreme outdoor conditions and any sporting activity

Billed as the ultimate sports companion that brings you music without limits, the Sony WS623 Walkman® is built to endure extreme outdoor conditions or any sporting activity. So this means that you can keep the music going on any terrain.

The Sony WS623 Walkman® is built to endure extreme outdoor conditions or any sporting activity.

An Ergonomic, slim and light Walkman

The WS623 Walkman® also features an ergonomic, slim and light design that stays in place no matter what are the movements. It is 10% smaller and lighter than the WS410 Sony Walkman® series that I had earlier reviewed, and 35% smaller than the WS610 series. The WS623 weighs approximately 32 grams.

In addition, the WS623 comes with BlueTooth®  Wireless technology, giving you the option to stream music from your smartphone using the Near-Field Communication (NFC) one-touch pairing. The WS623 itself holds 4GB worth of songs. This feature had not been available in the earlier WS413.

The WS623 comes with BlueTooth® Wireless technology.

As well, in order to cater to different tastes and preferences, the WS623 comes in different colours such as black, blue, lime green and greyish white.

Reviewing the WS623 Walkman

I recently had the chance to review the Sony WS623 Walkman®. My unit was the lime green coloured one.

My unit was the lime green coloured one.

The box comes with the Walkman, an adjustment band, USB charging cradle and a USB cable, as well as four sets each of the normal and waterproof earbuds in various sizes, as well as an instruction booklet on how to set up the Walkman®  and how to use it. There is a full booklet too, dedicated to underwater usage, which I had found quite interesting.

I must admit that I had thought the WS413 Walkman® unit that I had earlier reviewed, had been light, but with the slight reduction in size and weight, the WS623 Walkman® feels more comfortable than its earlier iteration and it sits quite well in my ears.

Easy to charge

It is relatively easy to charge up the WS623 Walkman® and sync it to my iPhone 7+.

It is relatively easy to charge up the WS623 Walkman® and sync it to my iPhone 7+ in order to get the BlueTooth®  function working – I had it connected and fired up within minutes.

The WS623 also slips seamlessly and effortlessly into the specialised charging dock that has been provided in the box and can fully charge up in about 1 1/2 hours – this is pretty fast. As well there is a three minute power up feature, which gives you a full 60 minutes of audio time. This is great for those times that you may have forgotten to charge your Walkman and you need to use it.

A full charge gives you an impressive 12 hours of music playback time when you are playing your favourite tunes from the Walkman itself. However when you use BlueTooth®, the battery life lasts for four hours though.

Had issues with loading of music

However with regards to loading my music from my MacBook Pro into the WS623 Walkman® though, I have been having some issues. No amount of switching on and off the computer, or plugging and unplugging the Walkman® itself from the USB port would help my MacBook Pro to detect the WS623 at all. I also waited for an hour for the MacBook to pick up the WS623 on several occasions, but to no avail.

At first I had thought that it was a MacBook issue and that the Sony Walkman®  may not have been compatible with my computer, so I got my Dad to try loading music with his Windows laptop. This too, unfortunately did not seem to work.

I tested out the WS623 on several runs.

So in the end I tested out the WS623 on several runs, the longest one lasting about three hours, whilst carrying my phone to sync my music via BlueTooth.

But swimming with the Walkman® was not an option, due to my issues with being able to load my music into the music player, though I admit that I would have liked to take the device into the water.

Salt waterproof to a depth of two metres

The WS623 comes with specially designed earbuds that are covered in a thin film to prevent water damage to the Walkman® and optimise sound levels for underwater listening.

It would have been good to test the WS623 Walkman® in the sea, because the Walkman®  is advertised as being salt waterproof, thus allowing you to swim at a depth of up to two metres with up to 30 minutes of submerged time. The WS623, as such, comes with specially designed earbuds that are covered in a thin film to prevent water damage to the Walkman®  and optimise sound levels for underwater listening. Together with a temperature feature, the Walkman®  can endure extreme temperatures from minus 5 degrees C to 45 degrees C, making it ideal for a hike or a climb.

As well, it is also dust-proof and can withstand small particles, thus making it perfect for any sand-based activity such as running along the beach.

Snug and Comfortable Fit

The WS623 sits very snugly inside my ears and does not bounce around at all.

With regards to the fit of the Walkman® during my runs, the WS623 sits very snugly inside my ears and does not bounce around at all when I am running. Even when I had been sweating profusely and running faster than usual, the WS623 still stayed firmly inside my ears. I also didn’t feel any amount of discomfort whilst running for three hours continuously, with the Walkman® inside my ears throughout the whole time.

For safety reasons, there is an Ambient Sound Mode built into the WS623, where sound from the surroundings is trickled in. This is a good feature for example, to cater to those who may be running on the road, and have to stay alert for oncoming traffic.

However as I had been running at a park near the sea though, the Ambient Sound mode got quite annoying because I could hear the wind blowing quite clearly through the Walkman® and as a result, this had distorted the quality and hearing range of my music.

And taking out the Walkman® from my ears after my runs were over, was also not a problem. The WS623 is quite easy to come out and it didn’t cause my ears any discomfort.

The quality of music in the WS623 had seemed a bit flat.

Music Quality

The quality of music in the WS623 had seemed a bit flat, though. It would be great if the bass and the treble are a bit more distinctive.

Battery

There is no way to check or gauge the battery levels in the WS623 and this is a minor pitfall in the device. As such, I never knew when or whether to charge the Walkman® up before taking it out again.

As a result, there had been one time when I took it out for a run and the WS623 Walkman® had died, less than a kilometre into my run. There had been no advanced warning to let me know to charge up the music player; I got an audio notification that the battery was low and within mere minutes after that, the WS623 was dead.

So perhaps this means that Sony could look into having some sort of advanced low battery indicator or display a battery percentage, when coming up with their future Walkman®  designs.

Where to get the WS623 Walkman® 

The WS623 Walkman® is available at Sony stores, Sony Centres and selected Sony authorised dealers.

The WS623 Walkman®  is available at Sony stores, Sony Centres and selected Sony authorised dealers from May 2017 at a recommended retail price of S$199.

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