Portable music players might be out of fashion but apparently, Walkmans aren’t. Sony is refreshing its Walkman lineup with two new music players, the NW-ZX707 and NW-A306 that promise the OG experience with a modern twist. In a world where dedicated portable music players are a dying breed, the Sony Walkman still holds a massive following, especially amongst retro tech enthusiasts. Riding on this nostalgia wave, Sony has come up with two updated music players “designed for listeners to enjoy music the way the artist intended with high-quality sound with a sleek design.”
The brand new NW-ZX707 is being touted as a “Premium Walkman” and is crafted using “updated components of high-end models.” The device boasts some serious specs and comes packed with an audio amplifier and large capacitors to immerse listeners in the perfect audio experience. This new Walkman comes with a 5-inch HD display and has Wi-Fi 802.11AC and Bluetooth 5 support to help you stream, download or share music.
For storing all your songs, you get 64GBs of inbuilt storage of which only 47GBs will be available at all times. The whole device comes wrapped in a milled aluminium frame to give it that sleek and premium feel. The frame also provides “rigidity for low impedance and clear, stable sound and solid bass.” To ensure that the new NW-ZX707 stays true to the “philosophy of the Signature Walkman,” Sony has fitted the music player with “upgraded fine-tuned capacitors and a FTCAP3 (High polymer capacitor) and a large solid high polymer capacitor that offers large capacitance and low resistance.” There’s even an OFC milled block covering the digital chip, “to bring listeners sound that appears to rise-up from silence.”
The NW-ZX707 takes advantage of a large 8mm coil for balanced output to help create an improved sound resolution across all frequencies. Sony says that the NW-ZX707 incorporates a DSD Remastering Engine “where PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) audio is resampled into an 11.2 MHz DSD (Direct Stream Digital), offering even more ways to enjoy music.”
On the other hand, the Sony NW-A306 is being presented as a more budget-friendly option “designed for discerning users looking for high-quality sound and style.” The music player has a compact 3.6-inch 60 Hz, 1280×720 touchscreen LCD display and weighs just 7 ounces, making it easier to carry around. Similar to the premium version, this too has Wi-Fi 802.11AC and Bluetooth 5 support but with only 32GB of in-built storage (out of which only 18GB will be available to the user). The NW-A306 will be available in black and blue colour options.
Sony is providing the full suite of entertainment and “smartness” with the NW-ZX707 and NW-A306. Both the new Walkmans come with Android 12 out of the box, meaning you don’t miss out on any Google goodness. But don’t most of us have that already? The music players also have the S-Master HX digital amplifier chip, to reduce “distortion and noise across a wide range of frequencies.” You even get a MicroSD slot, a traditional 3.5 mm headphone jack, and USB Type-C for charging on both music players.
Sony says that both the NW-ZX707 and the NW-A306 “feature a longer battery life compared to previous models,” claiming that the NW-ZX707 can last up to 25 hours of 44.1kHz FLAC playback, up to 23 hours of 96 kHz FLAC High-Resolution Audio playback, or up to 22 hours even when streaming. While the NW-A306 has a claimed battery life of up to 36 hours of 44.1kHz FLAC playback, up to 32 hours of 96kHz FLAC high-resolution audio playback, or even up to 26 hours with the streaming service apps. Sony not retiring the Walkman lineup is a clear indication that legacy tech is still in vogue amongst the Gen-Zs.
However, whether these new devices will get Sony’s iconic music player back into everybody’s pockets is something only time will tell. The NW-ZX707 and NW-A306 will be available for purchase at AUD$999 and AUD$499 respectively in Australia sometime in late February.