Sony NWZ-S639F mini review (not all good)
Nov 23, 2008 at 9:32 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 38

pbirkett

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Right, I am now pissed off, as I've just lost everything I've typed, so you'll have excuse this not being particularly long, in fact, its going to be pretty brief and to the point now as I've reached the end of my tether this weekend now.

I received this player yesterday after seeing positive reviews on here, and elsewhere, and indeed, a tempting price and high specification seem to make it an attractive buy.

Looks: Nice and compact, looks good. Nice screen, bright, and sharp. Good build quality. Roughly the size of an ipod nano, but better looking to me.

Radio quality: Surprised with this, very good reception, good sound quality even when plugged into my hifi. Superb.

Transfer rates: A 100 MB album transfers in approx 50 seconds. Thats approx 2MB/sec. It would take approx 2 hours to fill up the device at this rate. I expected better TBH. Still faster than my Zen Stone which, by way of example, if it were the same size as the Sony (16 GB) it would take the Stone a frankly rather silly 5 hours and 20 minutes.

Navigation: The player seems to be generally easy to use, but quite why trying to skip tracks results in it going to the next album instead, I can't quite figure out. It is, however, incredibly annoying.

Sound quality: Not bad, but probably not as good as I've been led to believe on some posts i've read on here, and also elsewhere on the internet. I'm not really sure it sounds any better than my Zen Stone. I am using pretty decent earphones too - Future Sonics Atrio M5. Its not bad though. Maybe I just expected too much. To be fair, I always felt the Zen Stone had a pretty good sound for its modest price tag and dimunitive size. The Sony DOES sound bassier and more powerful though.

Gapless playback: None. Yes, thats right, its 2008 and sony have NOT delivered a music player that supports gapless playback, even though there are literally thousands of albums that benefit from gapless playback, including, as it goes, most of my collection. Very, very poor. It has made it extremely akward for me now, as I now have to go to the trouble of joining my files together. Its not just a slight stutter either. There is an actual physical gap of about a second. Pathetic IMO.

Video: I didnt buy it for this, but as much as video can do on a 2 inch screen, it looks good. Smooth and bright. Not an issue for me though, as all of the space will be dedicated for music only.

Picture quality: Again, decent considering. But thats not why I bought it.

Battery Life: Too early for me to comment, but I think I'd expect to get at least 20 - 30 hours playback from it. Not sure if it would manage the claimed 40, but not many things do match their claims. In any case, much like the ipods, if the battery fails, your screwed.

Overall impressions: This could be a wonderful little player, which is for me, mostly marred by the frankly unforgivable omission of gapless playback. It has ruined the convenience factor for me. If it supported that, it would be easy enough to simply drag folders from my music collection straight on, but now I have to mess around joining MP3s. I'll probably keep some pre-joined MP3 files around just for use on this player. I shouldnt have to though. Also, the transfer rate is somewhat disappointing too. The transfer rate seems to be roughly equivalent to 20 Megabits/sec. I know people with faster internet connections than that, and isnt USB2 mean't to be capable of up to 480 Megabits?

But all that said, it has a decent sound, it looks nice, and gives you lots of capacity and functionality for your money.

However, I can't help but feel just a tad disappointed with it for the reasons I stated below. So near, yet so far.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 9:41 PM Post #2 of 38

Calexico

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You honestly shouldn't have been disappointed about gapless. If gapless was a dealbreaker for you, you should have checked first.

I don't know about standard USB 2.0 transfer speeds, but my iPod 5.5 can get 15-20gb in like an hour or two, which is about 3mb/s.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 9:43 PM Post #4 of 38

DJGeorgeT

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wow, I really do not know what the big deal is with gapless. I have never been bothered for not having it. For me sound quality is #1, then the other stuff.

If you wanted gapless, then get an used Iaudio X5 and rockbox it or an Imod apple and rockbox it. Heck I think the latest apples are gapless.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 9:44 PM Post #5 of 38

DJGeorgeT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pbirkett /img/forum/go_quote.gif
I dunno, maybe, although the specs dont mention anything about it. But really, ***, gapless playback is not too much to ask when its nearly 2009 is it?


not many mp3 players are gapless.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 9:48 PM Post #6 of 38

Calexico

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I understand the need for gapless, a few of my albums are really ruined if they aren't, but always research your purchases
wink.gif
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 9:54 PM Post #7 of 38

pbirkett

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If you dont listen to much electronic music then you wont understand the need for gapless, but much of this music is reliant on the fact that the music never "stops", it is continious, and for this you need gapless.

You dont think theres a need for gapless? I disagree. I think it is a simple feature to implement, probably wouldnt cost them much to do so, and given the sheer amount of material around that benefits from it, I still think its a poor show.

Argue with me all you want on this point, but for me, it knocks at least a star off its rating.

Had it not been for that, it would certainly have been a 4.5 or 5-star machine. As it is, I'd rate it 4-stars and thats being generous.

I surely can't be the only one bothered by the whole gapless issue though. Would you stand for big gaps interrupting your music from your main systems?
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 10:10 PM Post #8 of 38

walkingman

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Playback of wav files are gapless.

It is disappointing that their drag & drop DAPs do not support gapless playback on lossy files, but personally I am not too bothered by them as only 1% of my music collection are live albums with a few classical and electronic.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 10:37 PM Post #9 of 38

pbirkett

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Just curious as to what other users are using in terms of the Sound Enhancement, Equalizer etc...

I've got everything turned on (not the surround effects though obviously), and am using the Equalizer with the mid and treble increased a touch, as it seems to give the best sound that way.

Although its my first half way expensive DAP and earphones, and although they are a fair bit better than my last Stone + CX300 setup, its quite amazing just how far off the home rig they still are. Suppose its obvious really, but even so, its a nice way to get a new found appreciation of your home system when you listen to them back to back.
 
Nov 23, 2008 at 11:41 PM Post #10 of 38

DJGeorgeT

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Electronic music is all I listen to. Mainly my own and friend's DJ mixes, but not separated track by track. But I also have singles I buy as WAV and I really do not need gapless. I can understand that you would need gapless if you were ripping from CDs that were put together poorly with songs that never ended in silence. Oh well, really, it is not a big deal in my book.

You should have checked before you purchased.

Nothing I own sounds better than my Urei 1620, technics turntables and vinyl. Portable is portable and there is a limit to how good it can be IMHO.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 12:02 AM Post #11 of 38

DJGeorgeT

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Quote:

Originally Posted by walkingman /img/forum/go_quote.gif
Playback of wav files are gapless.

It is disappointing that their drag & drop DAPs do not support gapless playback on lossy files, but personally I am not too bothered by them as only 1% of my music collection are live albums with a few classical and electronic.



except for dj mixes, everything else with be WAV in my case. I do not like how MP3's sound.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 12:48 AM Post #12 of 38

abitdeef

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Wow, what program are you ripping with? And what codec are you using? With my sony 8xx and my sony 7xx there is a gap, but it is like 1/10 of a second. Not gapless but close, my fuze and my samsung p2 have bigger gaps, not as long as a full second though. Well maybe the p2 was
biggrin.gif


Anyways, ipod, rio carbon and rock boxed stuff are all I know thats gapless. I think trekstore vibez is too, not sure.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 3:08 AM Post #13 of 38

urabus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by pbirkett /img/forum/go_quote.gif
........
Gapless playback: None. Yes, thats right, its 2008 and sony have NOT delivered a music player that supports gapless playback, even though there are literally thousands of albums that benefit from gapless playback, including, as it goes, most of my collection. Very, very poor. It has made it extremely akward for me now, as I now have to go to the trouble of joining my files together. Its not just a slight stutter either. There is an actual physical gap of about a second. Pathetic IMO.
........



First i have to say I love gapless playback and that's one I own an iPod.
wink.gif


But given that most players DON'T have gapless playback, to assume that the S63x has that functionality, well my friend, you lose and as someone else has said, you didn't do your research first.

Gapless playback showed up on the 5.5G video iPod, and with firmware updating it was retro-added to the 5G video iPod. Current Zunes are suppose to have it as well.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 3:23 AM Post #14 of 38

i_don't_know

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What codec/bitrate is your music in?

If it's lossy, maybe that's why you didn't love the SQ so much. It's apparently very detailed, so you'd probably need lossless to take full advantage of that.
 
Nov 24, 2008 at 3:40 AM Post #15 of 38

tds101

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Zune & iPod = gapless! Thats it atm. As for dance mixes, rip em' as 1 track w/iTunes and be done w/it, since that's what I did before I started using my Zune.
 

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