Ahh the Walkman, that trusty rectangular hunk of plastic that us '90s kids lugged everywhere with us. For many of my generation, the Walkman was the only piece of tech — no, the only essential — we needed. So when I heard that Sony was coming out with a new Walkman, the 11-year-old in me threw up a metal sign with joy. But I was quickly brought back to 2015 when I read further details about the new device. At $1,100, Sony's new Walkman ZX2 is not your childhood portable cassette player. In fact, the high-end gadget is geared more toward music industry insiders and the extremely wealthy, rather than sixth graders who listen to Dookie on repeat.
The Walkman ZX2 made its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday, and it's already creating a considerable amount of buzz. With a nostalgic name like the Walkman but a price tag of $1,119.99, it's a bit of a paradox that has industry insiders intrigued. Despite the lo-fi name, the Walkman ZX2 is anything but. It plays music in unparalleled high resolution, making songs sound more life-like than any other format.
According to a press release from Sony, the Walkman ZX2 "can reproduce master quality recordings just as the artists originally intended." Equipped with the S-Master™ HX digital amplifier, the device "reduces distortion and noise while reproducing wide frequency response for a clearer acoustic experience." What's more, the Walkman ZX2 even makes lower-resolution music files sound higher quality with its built-in DSEE HX™ technology.
Mike Fasulo, president of Sony Electronics USA, said at CES:
The new Walkman ZX2 is a great example of the quality of our high-res audio offerings. This Walkman is tailored for outstanding sound, and every piece of material and component has been crafted to realize the ultimate high-res audio experience on the move.
One feature that's contradictory to its technological superiority is its operating platform is Android 4.2, which first debuted in 2012. Nevertheless, you can download and play apps via Google Play and connect to the Internet using its WiFi capability. The Walkman ZX2 comes with 128 GB of storage, which holds just under 2,000 songs, but also has a micro SD card slot for additional storage.
While Sony's new Walkman ZX2 isn't the same device I called my best friend when I had pneumonia in fourth grade and stayed home for 10 days listening to the Aladdin soundtrack on loop, it would undoubtedly win me over — if I had $1,100 lying around. For those who can afford it, the Walkman ZX2 will be available for purchase this spring.Images: The Verge, Robert Leverington