Sony launches two new Hi-Res Walkmans for walkman lovers

The Japanese manufacturer is today launching two new models of its famous player. Called NW-A306 and NW-ZX707, these Walkmans target users looking for a device capable of playing high definition files and taking advantage of a wired connection. Responding thus (perhaps?), to the public who mourn the death of iPods and the lack of choice of players from major brands.

Smartphones have not only harmed cameras, they have also decimated music players. All ? No, because if the iPods are dead on the battlefield, a knight is still standing: Sony, with its range of Walkman. Taking advantage of the aura of its legendary audio player, which is now over forty years old, Sony is taking advantage of the start of the year to launch two devices, including one in France: the Walkman NW-A306 (another name to sleep out, thank you Sony ).

Read also: A French company is relaunching the manufacture of a walkman… with cassette in Normandy (January 2020)

Far from the stratospheric price of an NW-WM1ZM2 launched at €3,599 – you really have to be a bit crazy or very, very rich! – this NW-A306 version is a more modest device which is displayed at 399 €. A player capable of playing high definition audio files not only locally (Hi-Res Audio certified) but also wirelessly (Hi-Res Audio Wireless).

Android 12 and a big battery

Android 12 Sony Walkman NW-A306

Abandoning home interfaces (more or less successful…) and file transfer software (always failed) Sony plays the simplicity card and offers a simple Android 12 to its player. Excellent news that will allow users to organize their audio library as they see fit. And just simple drag and drop to add files to their device. Finally, especially on the external memory card (a Micro SD slot), because the internal memory is scant: of the 32 GB of integrated flash memory, only 18 GB are accessible to the user!

Read also: Shaping the world: Sony presents 5 technologies that will shape its future (Dec. 2022)

The presence of a modern Android obviously makes it possible to install all the applications that will be compatible with the SoC, in particular those dedicated to music: from Spotify to Qobuz via Bandcamp, all services should be available. Even if the somewhat high-end components of the device (film capacitor, quality of resistors, in-house digital amplifier) ​​call for the use of HD audio services and files.

In its NW-A306, the audio components are more premium than what's found in smartphones.
In its NW-A306, the audio components are more premium than what’s found in smartphones.

Equipped with a rigid machined aluminum body and a small 3.6-inch screen (1280 x 720 pixels), the device has a very good battery life. Already, at the time of the “stick” MP3 players, some Sony players had much longer battery life than the competition. And that’s again the case here with 36 hours of wired playback of local 44.1 kHz FLAC files and up to 32 hours of 96 kHz FLAC files. In wireless mode, the autonomy is logically lower, since Sony communicates over 26 hours with an online music service.

Who is the target?

Sony Walkman NW-A306

If in the world of Hi-Res players the NW-A306 is not very expensive, it does not prevent it from being displayed at the price of a mid-range smartphone. The target is therefore an audience that is ready to invest in dedicated audio equipment. We therefore imagine that the buyer is the one who will want, at the same time, to benefit from better sound, but also from a device that allows him to separate from his smartphone. An approach that can allow, for example, to enjoy his disco without being tempted to consult emails, social networks and others. That said, to take full advantage of the Walkman, you need fairly high-end headphones – not too much, the 32 ohm output impedance is quite limited for the €1,000 models – as well as HD audio files (FLAC and others ). To the 399 €, it will therefore be necessary to add a good headset and quality files (for purchase or streaming).


But if that’s not enough for you, if you are even more demanding, Sony has added a second device above the range: the NW-ZX707. Which targets a more audiophile audience… and perhaps less French, since the device does not seem to be launched on our territory. Currently available in Japan at around €800 (104,500 yen), the NW-ZX707 is logically larger (5”), more powerful (Qualcomm chip), has more built-in memory (64 GB) and offers better sound quality. Thanks to its integrated digital-analog amplifier and its two analog outputs: a classic 3.5 mm for headphones and a 4.4 mm socket for connecting to audio equipment.

The Walkman NW-A306 will be available in the coming weeks at 399 euros in three colors: black, blue and gray.

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