As part of its 2015 International CES press event, Sony has taken the wraps off a new flagship portable music player that could be the perfect device for those that put as high a premium on design as on the quality of their audio playback.
Milled from solid aluminum alloy and packed with gold-plated copper wiring and circuitry to cut electrical impedance and boost sound quality, the Walkman NW-ZX2 supports all of the major 24-bit audio formats including FLAC and Apple Lossless for offering better than CD-quality playback. And there's 128GB of disk space on board so there's plenty of room for storing high-resolution music files, plus a MicroSD slot for adding up to 128GB more. So, that's enough space for up to 1700 tracks in 24-bit format (roughly 150mb each).
However, the internal disk plus the beefiness of the internal components mean that the Walkman -- which also runs Android and has a touchscreen interface -- weighs in at 235g and is 131.2mm tall, 65.1mm wide and 18mm thick. So, it's not the sort of device that can be slid simply into a trouser pocket before heading out and about.
However, once a safe place to store the device has been found -- either on your person or in a bag, the device's battery is good for 33 hours of high-resolution 24-bit music playback.
As well as lossless formats, the Walkman will also support standard MP3 formats and ripped CDs which is good seeing as most music lovers, no matter how dedicated, will have a collection made up of a host of different physical and digital file formats. And, thanks to the S-Master digital internal amplifier plus a new type of processing, the Walkman should be able to boost the quality and reduce the compressed sound of some of these files, too.
Other features that show Sony has really thought about potential owners and their needs, is support for something called the LDAC codec. What it means is that the Walkman can connect wirelessly via Bluetooth to headphones, speakers or a full hi-fi system without a drop in music quality. The LDAC codec make transferring data wirelessly three times more efficient.
It's also why as well as a headphone jack, the device supports USB audio output for connecting to headphone amplifiers and DAC amps for wired use at home and can connect via wi-fi for listening to tracks via music streaming services, a number of which are starting to offer tracks in hi-resolution audio.
Sony has not confirmed how much the NW-ZX2 will cost but has confirmed that it will be launching this spring, initially in Europe.