Sony updated its decades-old Walkman media player line with an aluminum model running Android 4.2, featuring high-res audio, and priced around $1,120.
The NW-ZX2 is the first Walkman to integrate Sony’s new LDAC codec technology. LDAC provides an enhanced wireless audio experience by transmitting digital audio data “three times more efficiently than previous Bluetooth connections,” says the company.
The NW-ZX2 is not, however, the first Walkman-branded mobile device to run Android. Back in 2011, we saw the Sony Ericsson Live with Walkman, which ran Android 2.3 (“Gingerbread”) on an unnamed 1GHz processor, accompanied by 320MB RAM plus a microSD slot for up to 32GB flash.
Flash forward to 2015: Whereas 2001’s Sony Ericsson device was a phone with Walkman bits, today’s NW-ZX2 device is a Walkman with WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, but lacking the phone bits.
This time around, the emphasis is on sound quality: “Experience High-Resolution audio like never before with the Walkman NW-ZX2, which can reproduce master quality recordings just as the artists originally intended,” states Sony’s marketing collateral.
To wit, the NW-ZX2 is equipped with Sony’s “S-Master HX” hi-res digital amplifier technology, which Sony claims “reduces distortion and noise while reproducing wide frequency response for a clearer acoustic experience.” Also included is Sony’s “DSEE HX” technology that’s said to upscale non-Hi-Res sources to provide higher quality sound.
Specific aspects of the NW-Zx2’s design that were dictated by the goal of achieving extremely high quality audio included the use of double-layer capacitors, thick-film, copper-layer PCBs, OFC cables, and “high purity lead-free solder.” These helped achieve the device’s high sound resolution, by reducing the impedance and maintaining an “extremely stable” ground reference, says Sony.
Summary of NW-ZX2 specs
The following specifications are listed by Sony for the NW-ZX2:
- Processor — tbd
- RAM — tbd
- Flash — built-in 128GB; expandable via microSD slot
- WiFi — 802.11b/g/n/a
- Bluetooth — A2DP/AVRCP/OPP/HID/SPP; supports SBC/LDAC codecs
- Display — 4.0-inch FWVGA 854×480 pixel “Triluminos” display
- Sony LDAC codec — provides enhanced audio quality over Bluetooth
- S-Master HX digital amp — provides reduced distortion and wide frequency response
- DSEE HX (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) — restores lost audio fidelity in compressed music
- Compatible formats — MP3, WMA, FLAC (192KHz/24bit), Linear PCM (192KHz/24bit), WAV (192KHz/24bit), AAC-LC, HE-AAC, Apple Lossless (192KHz/24bit), AIFF (192KHz/24bit), DSD (2.8MHz, 5.6MHz); note: copyright protected WMA and AAC-LC files cannot be played back
- ClearAudio+, Clear Bass, Equalizer, VPT
- One-touch listening via NFC
- Connectivity — USB (specifics tbd)
- Battery — Lithion-ion; provides up to 60-hours music playback per charge; charging time approx. 4.5 hours
- Dimensions — 65.1 x 131.2 x 18.5mm (excluding max. protruding section)
- Weight — 235 g (approx.)
- Operating system — Android 4.2 (“Jelly Bean”), with Google Play Store support
The Sony Walkman NW-ZX2 will be available this Spring. Although Sony did not state pricing in its press release, the NW-ZX2 several sources say it will be priced at about $1,120. Further details may be found at the Walkman NW-ZX2 page of Sony’s online store, and on Sony blog page.