Not every product needs to have mass appeal, but presumably even the new Sony Walkman ZX2 has a target demographic. I’m just not sure what the niche is supposed to be. This device has premium audio specs and nice design, but it will cost more than $1,100 when it comes out next month.
So what could you possibly get for your $1,100 that would justify the cost? The ZX2 supports music files up to 192 kHz/24 bit in virtually any format you can think of from the generic MP3, to FLAC, to Apple’s ALAC lossless format. The device includes 128GB of built-in storage with an additional microSD card slot for more tracks. It can also pump out tunes for 60 hours on a single charge, but that drops if you’re playing higher quality audio files.
While the audio aspects of the Walkman ZX2 are high-end, it feels like Sony skimped on the rest of the spec sheet. The touchscreen is 4-inches and only has a resolution of 854 x 480 (FWVGA). It has full access to the Play Store, but it runs Android 4.2 (released two years ago now). Why Sony couldn’t at least build this device with KitKat, which has been out for more than a year and is generally better supported, is beyond me. It also has the usual Bluetooth and WiFi radios, but no cellular data connection.
There’s a trend to make smartphones very thin and elegant, but the ZX2 is built like a tank—a very premium little tank. The metal frame has some weight to it, and there are big hardware playback controls along the side. The iconic gold-embellished headphone jack is on the bottom edge. It does seem like a very well-designed piece of hardware for this one purpose.
Sony’s last Walkman was the ZX1 last year. While it was designed for a similarly high-end audio experience, it was still much cheaper. You’re looking at $500-600 for the ZX1, which is s bargain compared to the $1,100 ZX2.