Walk This Way? Meet Sony's New $1,200 Walkman

Remember the allure of owning your first Walkman?  It's your music, in headphones, wherever you want!  Nearly magic!  Now, years down the road, with the colloquial term having segued over time from "Walkman" to "iPod" to "my phone", Sony has reintroduced their flagship travelling-tunes device...but is it worth it for the price?

Real buttons, though.  Those pressable buttons are nice.
(Image courtesy trustedreviews.com.)

Audiophiles have long clamored to have the finest, clearest, most robust and well-balanced sounds to saturate their skulls.  Even casual listeners enjoy being blown away by hearing their favorite tracks via sound equipment that is startlingly sharp (see: everyone who purchased an exorbitantly-priced pair of Beats in an attempt to gain this knowledge.  Or some kind of weird street cred.)

"I am going to party like it's my berfday, golly gee!"
(Image courtesy picsora.com.)

However, as much as the new Sony Walkman guns for this greatness, it is hindered by its own ideas of supremacy.  First and foremost, the $1,200 price tag.  According to bloomberg.com, the main allure of the ZX2 Walkman is that is can play very high-quality audio files, but at...well, a cost that's just crazy.

$1,200 for a fatter phone that doesn't take calls.
(Image courtesy geeky-gadgets.com.)

So what do you get for shelling out on a Walkman that's worth the same as a stupendous stereo?  Up front, there's a high-end aesthetic, including a leatherette backing, gold nuances (logo and 3.5mm audio jack), and a relatively serious heft to the body (8.3 oz.)  There are tangible buttons, a throwback to the pre-touchscreen days when punching play really felt like you meant it.  Inside, there's a modified version of Android Jelly Bean 4.2 running the show, which includes a variety of equalizers as well as numerous methods of filing your selections.  Google Play and any streaming services you utilize are adaptable to the ZX2, but reports of the device lagging hinder the flow. 

Not that any device could ever have the coolness cachet of the original, pseudo-waterproof
 "Sports" Walkman.
(Image courtesy www.dailydot.com.)

A MicroSD card input allows for expansion on the 128-gb hard drive, which comes in handy for DSD or AAC formats of music.  Unfortunately, this also means that you're probably going to have to update huge swaths of your music collection if you want to enjoy it in this optimum style.

However, if you're game for the upgrades, the size, and the price, the ZX2 is sonically superior - in a subdued setting.  Once out in the world, all the noise-cancelling headphones, fat file formats, and golden audio jacks in the world can't change the fact that no matter what the price is, sound can only sound so superior.  You will likely not notice any major changes in quality if you and your Walkman are enduring a train ride, long walk, or basically any other situation with intervening ambient noises.

Under certain controlled circumstances, the ZX2 is exceptional,
but how often do you get to keep it all under control?
(Image courtesy mobilitydigest.com.)

Our advice: spend a fraction of the cost of the new Walkman on a pair of decent headphones (Sennheiser Momentums are currently and constantly secured to my skull) and let the songs speak to you that way.  If you desire an independent hi-fi device for your music, excellent players like Fiio's X1 are now so inexpensive (and tiny) that you can buy one with large capacity that barely takes up any extra space in your pocket, and frees up your phone battery for all the sexting and app-diddling you need to get through your day.  Sure, the ZX2 is nice...but you could be spending that (considerably massive) extra amount of money on more tunes!

No idea about all the nuance between the all these sounds around?  Learn about the secrets of digital sound quality right here.  Rock on!

All sound is not created equal, but the ZX2 does not meet the equivalent "Spinal Tap" specs of going to 11.
(Image courtesy ar15.com.)

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