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CES 2015: Sony reinvents Walkman, but for a price

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Andreas Schilling

sonyAt this year's CES, Sony unveiled a new version of its classic Walkman. The Walkman NW-ZX2 is claimed to have particularly high audio quality. Of course, the new Walkman doesn't offer a slot for music cassettes, there has hardly been physical media around in the last years. Instead, the newly developed LDAC codec is supposed to provide unrivaled audio quality. Audio can also be transmitted over Bluetooth. Sony states a sampling rate of 192 kHz at 24 bits. Needless to say, the new Walkman also has a 3.5mm jack.

Sony has placed the hardware in an aluminum case, users can operate the device through a 4" screen witha resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. A customised version of Android is used as an operating system. In addition to the music formats MP3, FLAC, ALAC, AIFF, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, WMA, LPCM and DSD, the software also supports the JPEG format and video codecs such as H.264 and Windows Media Video 9. The Walkman NW-ZX2 offers 128 GB of storage, and ought to be enough for most music collections. The amount of memory can be doubled through a microSD card. Users can add and delete albums either through USB or Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz band. Furthermore, the new device also provides support for DLNA and NFC. The NW-ZX2 measures 64.7 x 130.3 x 16.2 mm and weighs 235 g. The back is covered with leather, helping to make sure it doesn't unintentionally fall to the ground.

Sony will be marketing the Walkman NW-ZX2 towards audiophiles, and claims to have paid special attention to build quality, having selected the highest quality components. This includes intricate and top notch internal wiring, which is supposed to reduce signal interference. The main components will even be handpicked. As of spring 2015, the Walkman NW-ZX2 will hit the stores, for a price of around 1,200 euro. At least the price fits the pricey audiophile hifi market.