Sony Walkman NWZ-B173 review

A slight return from the former king of portable music

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Our Verdict

Small and discrete, but still a very good MP3 player.


  • Very portable
  • Quick charge
  • Good sound quality
  • Cheap price
  • Built-in USB


  • Not the easiest to navigate
  • Zap mode is annoying

It feels like a long time since the Sony Walkman was the king of portable music, with the Apple iPod stealing its thunder.

The Sony Walkman NWZ-B173 isn't going to revolutionise the MP3 player market, but it's a decent budget player with a few nice features.

A charge of just three minutes provides 90 minutes' playback - whilst a longer charge gives around 18 hours.

A built-in USB interface is a nice touch that makes plugging it into a PC incredibly quick, and adding files is done via dragging and dropping in Windows Explorer, no need for proprietary programs or iTunes annoyances here.

A small LCD screen shows you where you are, and it's easy enough to navigate through the menus.

Holding down a button gives the bass a boost, but there doesn't seem to be much of a difference.

Annoyingly, pressing that same button turns on the 'Zap' mode - which plays snippets of your music for you to choose a song you like. Not only is it pretty pointless, it is preceded with a loud voice that says 'Zapping in'.

Sound quality is good, though the included headphones are a bit on the uncomfortable side to wear.


Tech Specs

Product TypeFlash MP3 Player
Flash Memory Capacity4 GB
Product FunctionsVoice Recorder
Product FamilyWalkman B
Brand NameSony
Audio FormatsMP3, WMA
Battery Built-inYes
Height22.5 mm
Width88.8 mm
Depth15 mm
Product SeriesB
Battery Run Time18 Hour
ManufacturerSony Corporation
Product ModelNWZ-B173
Product Name4GB Walkman MP3 Player with USB, Red
Product LineWalkman
Manufacturer Part NumberNWZB173R.CEW
Manufacturer Website Address
Marketing Information

Boost your bass - Touch a button for extra deep, pumping beats - even when you're listening at low volume.

Charge quickly - Plug in Walkman® for 3 minutes and get 90 minutes playback. A full charge gives you up to 18 hours listening time

Fashion clip - Show off your colourful B Series Walkman® - attach to your clothes, bag, belt or pocket and make a fashion statement

Flashing LED display - A colour-matched LED flashes in time with the music

Easy transfers - Fill your Walkman® with easy drag-and-drop MP3 music file transfers from any PC

Direct USB connection - Connect Walkman® to a compatible hi-fi or car stereo with USB port for easy playback; enjoy cable-free PC transfers

Voice Recording - Capture, play back and share voice recordings; choose recording quality from three bit-rates

ZAPPIN™ - Touch the ZAP button to preview a short snatch of each track and help you find the perfect song

Equaliser - Refine your listening with a choice of equaliser presets to enhance any track

Jog dial - Large dial design for easy control when you're out and about

Light, compact and easy to carry - Perfect for even the smallest pocket, weighing just 28 g (1.0 oz) and 89.2 mm (3 5/8 inches) long

4GB memory - Stores approximately 970 songs (4 minute songs recorded in MP3 format at 128kbps)

Package Contents
  • 4GB Walkman MP3 Player with USB, Red
  • Headphones
  • Quick Start Guide
  • CD-ROM
  • Clip
Limited Warranty1 Year
Weight (Approximate)28 g