Sony continues to bank on the popularity of the Walkman Headset series with the new model NW-WS623. If it looks familiar, that is because the design resembles the NW-WS413, which I reviewed last year.
The model numbering seems to suggest that the WS620 series is a successor to the WS610 series, which looks quite different. WS610 series has larger storage at 16GB, only waterproof, includes splashproof remote. The WS610 also feature additional functions like reading out incoming alert and text messages, supporting EQ presets and sound effects. The WS610 battery life is only 7 hours.
The WS620 series bears more similarities to the WS410 series, that is, salt waterproof, supports ambient mode to listen to surroundings while on a workout, 12 hours battery life, 4GB storage. It then inherits some capabilities from the WS610 which WS410 lacks, which is connecting to Bluetooth devices. Hence, WS620 is able to enjoy music either from internal storage or from Bluetooth-connected audio devices. The new WS620 can also support FLAC files.
Looking at my previous review notes on the WS413, the WS623 appears to have improvements over the sound quality. Unlike the neutral tuning on the WS413, the WS623 sounds clear with sufficient details and brightness. The bass is firm and not boomy, certainly not going to please bassheads. When connecting over Bluetooth, there appears to be slight shift in the frequency response downwards. In Bluetooth mode, you can control the playback and volume with the respective buttons, as well as activating ambient mode.
And for the first time, I wore earphones for a swim, and I am loving it! Instead of hearing the swishing and swashing of waters against my ears, I get to enjoy uninterrupted music. Granted, the audio quality is not as clear due to the additional film on the swimming eartips, which makes the audio less bright.
The NW-WS623 puts some pressure against the ears to keep them from falling. As a result, it could cause discomfort to my ear canal bones after wearing for a while. Fortunately, the headset force enables me to place the earbuds just outside the ear canals loosely and continues to stay in place throughout my runs. The ambient mode does not create any excessive wind noise during runs, which is excellent.
The Sony NW-WS623 is the sum of 2 excellent Sony Walkman headsets. Like the WS413, I can wear it for swims in the pool or in the sea, with ambient mode to hear the surroundings, and 12-hour long battery life. Like the WS615, I can link to Bluetooth audio device to expand the music choices. Retails at S$199 at all Sony authorised retailers and Lazada.
WS413 or WS623? If you do not need the Bluetooth function and not particular about audio quality, then WS413 is better value.
WS615 or WS623? If you need larger 16GB storage space, like to EQ the tracks, do not swim in the sea, then go for WS615 which comes with a splashproof remote.