Earlier this week Sony announced the Walkman NW-ZX2 Android-based portable music player. The model is the follow-up to the NW-ZX1 that was announced back in October 2013. The “High-Resolution” NW-ZX2 Walkman is premium in every sense of the word.
It combines a machined aluminium frame with rubber grip on the back for an easy grip. The aluminium alloy frame produces a highly rigid case that’s resistive to electrical noise. Sony says that a gold-plated copper chassis help produce clear and powerful sound in the low frequency range. In addition, large play/pause, music-selection and volume buttons are located on the side for easy operation.
Internally, the Walkman NW-ZX2 has 128GB of storage, a double-layer capacitor for signal accuracy and seven OS-CON capacitors for stable frequency characteristics. Other features to minimise distortion and interference includes the use of a film condenser, a low-resistance OFC cable and an over-99.99% pure tin solder.
Other additions for the best possible sound include a S-Master HX digital amp, the Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE HX) to upscale music to near high-resolution sound quality. It includes a bunch of codecs including DSD (Direct Stream Digital) and the new audio technology from Sony called LDAC, providing 3x the data transmitted for an enhanced wireless Bluetooth listening experience. Finally, the Walkman NW-ZX2 has a 4-inch TRILUMINOS display and supports Android 4.2.
There’s no doubt that the Walkman NW-ZX2 probably sounds like a beast, however we do wonder how much worth you could get out of such a device. The inherent nature of listening to music on the go is background noise whilst out and about. So even with a very good pair of headphones and amp, you probably wouldn’t be able to fully appreciate the lossless audio.
Then there is the cost at $1199.99 (€1199 in mainland Europe and £949 in the UK), it certainly is catering to the high-end. The device is Google Play certified so the Walkman NW-ZX2 could double up as a device to play games on the go, but it seems strange that Sony wouldn’t release it with a newer build of Android (Sony has loaded the Walkman with Android 4.2).
Given that most people listen to music on their phones and some of the latest audio technology is already included in the latest Xperia phones such as DSEE HX. Obviously the phone does not have the dedicated hardware that is found in the Walkman NW-ZX2, but we do wonder how many would really notice the difference whilst listening to music on the move.
Sony has already said that this is a niche device, but we wanted to ask our readers – would you buy the Walkman NW-ZX2 for $1120? Would you be crazy to even contemplate it? We’d love to hear your thoughts below.