Anyone who has any semblance of interest in modern technology had an inkling that Sony would be introducing a new Walkman device at the CES 2015 conference this year. What ended up being unveiled, however, was quite the shock.
The first thing you should know is the price. Back in November, the Walkman A17 caused a bit of controversy when it was announced that it would cost $300, the average of an iPod in spite of lacking features. Or the ZX1, which upped the ante at almost $600, despite its mixed reviews. But that is nothing to compare with the Walkman ZX2, which is retailing at an astonishing $1,100 USD.
Looking at the device itself, it is a gorgeous piece of equipment. Jumping into the high end audio game after years of gently testing the waters, Sony has succeeded in creating the ultimate media player for users concerned with both sound quality and compatible formats.
S-Master HS and DSEE HX are the first upgrades that you see with the ZX2. Integrated for ultimate sound quality, the lackluster sampling frequency of the original files have been pushed beyond the limits they were recorded with. The result is high-res clarity and detail from music that has been pulled from anywhere, including CD’s.
Every part of the new Walkman was crafted to enhance the listening experience. Each component was carefully selected, every piece of hardware is high end, and they didn’t pull any punches in the manufacturing process. This thing has a full seven condensers, for example. It’s powerful.
There is 128 GB of on board storage, with microSD compatibility up to a 256 GB expansion. It is WIFI compatible (of course), and you have access to some Google Play apps. So streaming other music, or accessing a cloud containing files, shouldn’t be a problem.
Most of the praise seems to be for the design itself, which is sleek and optimized for comfortable use and grip. The buttons are easily accessible, carved into the sides of the device. The high resolution touchscreen is highly intuitive, and the interface is great.
Compatible files include: MP3, FLAC, Linear PCM, WAV, AAC-LC, HE-AAC, Lossless, AIFF, and DSD.
With all of the above, it probably sounds like a dream for any audio lover, right? So, why would you have to be crazy to buy it? Because for all of the things it is, there is a whole lot that it isn’t.
Not A Smartphone
This might seem like an obvious statement, but this is not a smartphone. By that, I mean it does not have anywhere near the qualities of other smart devices, and the functions are seriously limited.
While the sound quality may be amazing, and it has been designed to be highly functional, you can get something similar in the $500 or less range. For example, the iBasso DX90 has similar features, and it costs just under $380.
The ability to download some apps from Google Play gives the Sony a little bit of versatility, but not enough to justify it. It runs Android 4.2 Jellybean, which is already pretty out of date. The apps that are compatible will just make it slightly closer to the functional level of your phone.
For $1,100, this is not worth it. Even if it is an amazing media player.