Small and discrete, but still a very good MP3 player.
Good sound quality
Not the easiest to navigate
Zap mode is annoying
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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.
Matt is TechRadar's Managing Editor for Core Tech, looking after computing and mobile technology. Having written for a number of publications such as PC Plus, PC Format, T3 and Linux Format, there's no aspect of technology that Matt isn't passionate about, especially computing and PC gaming. Ever since he got an Amiga A500+ for Christmas in 1991, he's loved using (and playing on) computers, and will talk endlessly about how The Secret of Monkey Island is the best game ever made.