Reviewed in the United States on 7 April 2020
Let me start this off by saying that this is an excellent music player, and personally I give it a 4/5. However, I am hoping to having a greater chance of my feedback being heard by Sony by intentionally selecting a low rating.
-Long battery life, always a staple of the Walkmans, and they nail it every time.
-Decent UI, although some slight issues like not having bookmarks on the main page, and the touchscreen feeling a bit rough (I REALLY prefer buttons).
-Decent playback, it sounds great, but I am definitely not an audio expert, so I can't say for sure that this device sounds perfect, but I haven't noticed any issues with sound quality.
-The ability to make Playlists on the device, a MUCH NEEDED feature on Walkman MP3 players, one of my big complaints about my previous Walkman, the NWZ-E354.
-Build quality is fantastic, feels a bit heftier, but much stronger with a metal frame.
-Bluetooth NFC chip is really nice, pairs easily with my Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones.
-Headphone jack is present, already a step ahead of most phones with just that feature alone.
-Screen brightness, typically I use dimmer light settings on all my devices, and this one is fantastic in how dim it can go, but is still able to be much brighter for people who plan on using this device outside more.
-Settings are decent, provide some necessary customization, although I'm a bit disappointed at the lack of wallpapers, like on the older non-touchscreen Walkmans.
-Touchscreen, I am not a touchscreen guy, and I never have been. I always found buttons much more comfortable and convenient, as I didn't have to look at the screen for certain actions, and the touchscreen gives me less control over how fast i can move through the user interface. I found the scroll bar to also be obnoxious when I am trying to add music to bookmarks or playlists, as I have to wait for the scroll bar to disappear as I move down the song list or I have to position the song to be out of the way of the scroll bar. I also dislike touchscreens as I hate getting screens dirty, and with touchscreen I have no choice but to use my greasy fingers for most user interface navigation. Typically, I would say this is my fault for buying a touch screen model, but the only current Walkman MP3 player that has buttons is the NWE-394, which lacks many of the features I wanted in the NW-A55. If Sony would make a higher-end Walkman model with buttons that is able to make playlists, bookmarks, have SensMe Channels, and bluetooth, I would definitely prefer that one!
-There is a lack of photos and videos on the NW-A55, which I definitely missed from my older NWZ-E354, along with wallpapers.
-SensMe Channels now require you to run all of your music through Sony's proprietary Music Manager software, which I hate doing as I am a drag-and-drop kinda guy who just puts my music in the MUSIC folder on the device. I did not know that the music player was not able to analyze my music library for SensMe, so I had to delete all my music off of the player and run it through Sony's software to make sure it was analyzed for SensMe. Definitely a disappointment, as the NWZ-E354 was able to analyze songs for SensMe, and it came out so long ago!
I know this review seems a little ranty (I REALLY miss my NWZ-E354 :( ), but I thoroughly do enjoy this device, I am just sad to see a lot of staple features from my old NWZ-E354 gone in the newer models. And I also really miss the front buttons as the main interface. A lot. It saddens me to see that only the low-end models have front button interfaces anymore, I would happily spend a lot of money for a device that comes with all the features of the NW-A55, but used buttons instead of a touchscreen. However, I am still very happy that Sony delivers these amazing high-quality products to such a niche market! Thank you Sony! Walkmans are definitely underappreciated little guys, and any time I need a new one, I've always been very happy with my purchase!
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