Rock and Roll

Sony Network Walkman NW-S23, Creative Zen Micro, & KOSS P-15 Headphones

Mar 1, 2005
Outside Magazine
Sony Network Walkman NW-S23, Creative Zen Micro, & KOSS P-15 Headphones

Sony Network Walkman NW-S23, Creative Zen Micro, & KOSS P-15 Headphones    Photo: Tom Schierlitz

PRO TIP: Stop the chill. When it's below freezing, protect the gizmo. Freeskier Sage Cattabriga-Alosa extends the battery life of his personal electronics by stashing them in interior pockets as close to his warm torso as possible.

  1.) The superlight SONY NETWORK WALKMAN NW-S23 holds 256 megabytes of data and is designed to work with SonicStage, Sony's proprietary PC software. The program converts CD tracks into a Sony-specific format—and takes its time in doing so. Compared with other formats, it takes forever to rip four hours of music. (However, you can get around this jam by dragging and dropping preexisting MP3 files from your computer into the player.) The headphones, however, are smartly designed. They wrap around each ear for comfy listening, even in knockabout conditions. $180; 800-472-7669, » THE O FACTOR: The S23's strongest points are light weight, durability, energy efficiency, and portability. The unit is water-resistant and comes with the sturdiest armband we tested—the palm-size player literally screws onto it, guaranteeing a secure fit. One AAA battery allows for a whopping 70 hours of play time, enough to last through a week's vacation without replacement.

  2.) With five gigabytes of memory, the CREATIVE ZEN MICRO scores a knockout with its fingertip controls, which work like a laptop's touch pad and make navigating through data ticklishly easy. The Micro is only PC-compatible—sorry, Mac users—but comes with a voice recorder, FM tuner, and address book with calendar that syncs with Microsoft's Outlook e-mail program. $250; 800-998-1000, » THE O FACTOR: The rechargeable battery can easily be replaced when it wears out (after approximately five years) with a fresh Creative battery ($39). That's nice. Usually with units this size, you're forced to ship it to the factory to install a new and pricier power pack.

  3.) Put an end to tangles with KOSS P-15 HEADPHONES. They come with wires that wrap neatly around a carrier, which in turn straps onto your music player. The sound quality is similar to that of Apple's earbuds. $15; 800-872-5677,

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