- Pros: The Sony NWZ-WH303 is an all-in-one headphone featuring an MP3 player and speaker. We like its versatility and its many features, all offered at a very affordable price.
- Cons: The sound performance is average and the arch is not comfortable. We regret the lack of a true Bluetooth mode.
- In Short: Headphones, speaker, MP3 player and lamp, these are the 4 functions fulfilled by the new Sony headphones. An interesting experiment proposed that should be able to find an audience. Despite some shortcomings in audio quality, it is very much appreciated to be able to enjoy its titles wirelessly using the built-in player.
- Transformable into enclosure
- 4GB Built-in MP3 Player
- Battery life 20 hours
- Headphones with internal memory
Sony NWZ-WH303 Review
The new NWZ headphone from Sony is a product that is at the very least original and relatively innovative. Indeed, unlike most other headphones market, the Japanese manufacturer has directly integrated an MP3 player and a speaker. The result is a headset, an MP3 player and a portable speaker. A lot of features therefore for this NWZ-WH303, which unfortunately take a little over the final performance of the device.
Design and Features
At first glance, the Sony NWZ-WH303 looks like a classic headset, but when you take a closer look at it, you realize that it is very special. While it is obviously possible to connect the headset to its smartphone or tablet using a 3.5mm jack cable (supplied) and listen to its music in a classic way, the all-in- One from Sony also has an MP3 player directly integrated in its headphones as well as an external speaker placed on the side of the arch able to act as portable speaker.
Clearly targeting a rather young audience, the speaker is directed to your ears when you wear the helmet around your neck and it is thus possible to enjoy a much more open and airy sound. We will still avoid putting it in this position in public transport because the volume is relatively powerful.
The headphone itself, especially thanks to the built-in player, should appeal to sportsmen wishing to enjoy their music without necessarily having a cable ranging from your reader to your ears. While in practice it is often less comfortable than headphones specially designed for runners and other sports enthusiasts, the Sony product is much more versatile. The hoop exerts a suitable pressure and should allow a good hold even during rapid movements.
On the level of comfort, if the earphone pads of leatherette are particularly soft, we regret a little lack of padding at the level of the arch and especially the weight of the helmet, which will have difficulty to be forgotten compared to a Philips ActionFit SHQ5200 for example.
The fact that the Sony NWZ-WH303 is heavier than its competitors (if it has one?) Is not really a surprise given the many resources it embarks. To reduce this weight, the manufacturer has opted for a helmet entirely made of plastic, and even if the quality of the manufacturer is correct, it is much less class than a Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear for example. On the back of the helmet, we can find a small light, it can be useful to look for his keys at night, otherwise honestly I see not too much use.
By making the NWZ-WH303 a complete and stand-alone device, you will find a lot of controls directly accessible from the headphones, as on the Bluetooth models. Placed on the top of the headphones, we thus find:
- Buttons for managing the volume
- A knob for track control and fast forward or rewind
- A start button
- A switch to activate the loudspeaker
- One port 3.5mm
- A “Random” button
- A switch to change the equalizer
There is also a part of rubber that can be lifted and under which is placed a micro-USB port to charge the headset and transfer up to 4GB of files.
The Sony NWZ-WH303 does not have a screen or remote control to display the list of different tracks in its memory, so it will have to randomly listen to its titles or switch between them manually. With 4GB of memory, it is easily manageable and it can be used as an iPod shuffle. Note that vocal effects allow to give some indications like the equalizer used for example.
If 4GB are not enough for you, know that there is also a version shipping 16GB of internal memory, model NWZ-WH505 . This one resumes the same principle as the helmet tested today.
Attention too, many might think that this is a Bluetooth headset, but it is not at all the case. If it is possible to use the headset wirelessly, it is only when using the internal memory of the headset. It will always be necessary to connect the Sony headset to wired if you want to listen to music from your iPhone or your classic MP3 player.
On the technical side, the WH303 boasts 30mm dynamic internal speakers, much smaller than the 40mm that can be found on the top model (the NWZ-WH505). In practice, the headset suffers from a few shortcomings in audio performance and this is understandable as Sony has focused its product on the functionality first and foremost.
The headphones offer an acoustic signature accentuated on the basses which do not necessarily decoiffe compared to other models proposed by the manufacturer ( one thinks of the MDR-1R for example ). I can not confirm it, but I think it is the same drivers used for the MDR-XB400. Not really surprising therefore that the sound quality is not exceptional, with a sound not very precise and little details. The basses are not deep enough and the treble very muffled. If you are just looking for a classic headset for a hundred euros, other Sony products are more suitable like the MDR-V55 or the MDR-XB600.
The loudspeaker is correct for its size, offering performance similar to that of the internal speakers of a tablet for example. It will be enough to use at home, to boost the sound of its smartphone for example while keeping the ears free but outside the power will quickly show its limits. It nevertheless remains a functionality really nice and it allows to share a little music during a small meal in a quiet park. If you are looking for this kind of functionality, we can advise you to opt instead for a portable Bluetooth speaker.
The Sony NWZ-WH303 is an original and atypical product, which clearly stands out from its competitors with relatively new features. Its strength is clearly in its versatility and its internal memory allows in a few minutes to load this one with your last albums and enjoy it directly without going through a reader or a smartphone. It is a very nice product if you are not necessarily very looking at sound performance.