4.5 star rating

Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F Review

Pros: Superb sound quality; Works with Macs and PCs; Noise cancellation is built into the player; Excellent included earbuds;
Cons: Noise cancellation works only with included headphones; Video-conversion software costs extra;
The Verdict: No MP3 player should be called an “iPod killer,” but Sony’s latest Walkman is truly a better device.



The Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F is sexier than its name, thanks to top-notch sound, excellent in-ear headphones, and built-in noise cancellation. It also has an FM tuner, and like most recent players, it supports video. We prefer it to the iPod nano in many ways, especially given the identical price.

Article Continued Below

The matte black plastic player measures 3.2 x 1.6 x 0.5 inches with a 1.8-inch LCD and 8GB of flash memory. A Hold switch sits on one side and volume controls on the other. A switch on top activates noise cancellation, and the charge/sync cable plugs into a proprietary USB connector on the bottom. Below the screen are dual-function buttons for Back/Home and Option/Power, and the clickable D-pad has a Play/Pause button in the center. The layout is unexciting and slightly crowded, but it’s easy to operate by feel.

Smooth, Easy Interface

The icon-based interface is easy to navigate, and we love the contextual menus invoked by the Option button. The Walkman’s initial search lets you enter one character and then jumps to the spot in the album, artist, or song list that begins with that letter. You can’t create playlists on the go, but you can load them via software.

Transferring files via drag-and-drop, Windows Media Player 11, or the included Sony Media Manager (Windows only) was simple and quick. The S718F shares a rare feature with the SanDisk Sansa Fuze: You can load it via drag-and-drop in Mac OS.

Audio support includes unprotected AAC, MP3, WMA, protected WMA, and WAV. The S718F is picky about video and photo formats, supporting only MP4/M4V and JPEG, and the included Sony Media Manager software doesn’t do conversion unless you upgrade it for $12.95.

Sound and Video Quality

The Walkman’s sound is excellent—even without activating any digital sound enhancers—with the included EX-series headphones, though they won’t work with other devices because of a small pin on the side of the plug. Digital enhancers such as DSEE, Clear Stereo, and Clear Bass—and our Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones—made the player sound better than any player we’ve heard recently, but most of the virtual surround modes sound awful.

Our test video clip from 2 Fast 2 Furious was smooth and clear on the 320 x 240-pixel screen with good color and well-synced audio. You can toggle portrait or landscape mode for video and photos. The bass on Sonny Rollins’ classic jazz gem “Tenor Madness” sounded impressively full and detailed, and the highs sparkled brilliantly.

The noise cancellation (powered by the player’s battery) works only with the included earbuds, but it took the rumble out of our commuter train ride without adding much hiss. Battery life is impressive, at 33 hours for audio and 8 for video.

Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F Verdict

This is primarily a music player, and as such, it’s the best-sounding flash-based model we’ve heard. It trumps the mighty iPod nano in sound quality, features, and battery life. Also, it works with both Macs and PCs via drag-and-drop and has useful extras, including an FM tuner, noise cancellation, and excellent earbuds. Unless you’re wedded to iTunes, we highly recommend this Walkman.

Tags: Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F, Sony, PMPs, MP3 Players, reviews, portable media player, portable media players

Technical Specifications
Sony Walkman NWZ-S718F

Display1.8 inches/320 x 240 pixels
PC InterfaceUSB
Audio FormatsAAC Unprotected; MP3; WAV; WMA; WMA Protected
Video FormatsM4V; MPEG-4
Photo FormatsJPEG
Battery Typerechargable
Battery Life33 Hours Audio/8 Hours Video
FM RadioYes
FM RecordingNo
Voice RecordingNo
Memory TypeFlash
Memory Capacity8GB
Size3.2 x 1.6 x 0.5 inches
Weight1.9 ounces
All Product Types Accessories eReaders Laptops Networking Projectors Smartphones Software Storage Tablets
All Subcategories
All Subcategories All-Purpose Budget Business Desktop Replacement Gaming Multimedia Netbook Nettop Rugged Student Tablet PCs Ultraportable
Acer Alienware Apple Archos ASUS AVADirect Averatec BeagleBone BenQ CTL Corp. CyberPowerPC Dell Digital Storm eMachines Emtec Eurocom Everex Fujitsu GammaTech Gateway General Dynamics Getac Gigabyte Google Hercules HP HTC iBuyPower Intel Lenovo Maingear MSI Nokia Nvidia OCZ OLPC OQO Origin Panasonic Razer Sager Samsung Sony Sony PlayStation Sylvania Systemax TabletKiosk Toshiba Verizon Viewsonic Viliv Vizio VooDoo Workhorse PC ZT Systems
Minimum Rating
Any Rating Editor's Choice 4.5 Stars 4.0 Stars 3.5 Stars 3.0 Stars
Screen Size
10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 20 21 4 5 6 7 8 9
1024x576 1024x600 1024x768 1136 x 768 1200X800 1280 x 720 1280x1024 1280x768 1280x800 1366x678 1366x768 1440x1050 1440x900 1600x768 1600x900 1680x1050 1680x945 1792 x 768 1900x1080 1920x1080 1920x1200 2560 x 1440 2560 x 1600 2560 x 1700 2880 x 1620 2880 x 1880 3200 x 1800 3840 x 2160 800x400 800x480
Weight Range
10.1 - 12.0 pounds 12.1 - 14.0 pounds 14.1 - 16.0 pounds 2 lbs 2 pounds and under 2+ lbs 2.1 - 4.0 pounds 4.1 - 6.0 pounds 6.1 - 8.0 pounds 8.1 - 10.0 pounds Over 16 pounds Under 2 pounds
more options