Sony's Walkman has come a long way. The first original portable cassette player was released on July 1, 1979. My elder brother was only six months old.
When I came about and was old enough to know what music was, I immediately searched for a Walkman of my own. The bright yellow "Sports" Walkman was super cool at that time, and I had to have one!
Then came the Mini Disc which I completely ignored; I jumped on the Compact Disc (CD) bandwagon in the late 90s.
Mp3 Walkmans came in the early 2000's, but got killed off by the iPod. Sony then came back with the W200, the first ever Walkman phone, which you could use to make a phonecall and play music.
Following that was a series of different mp3 players that Sony called Walkmans but they too never took flight, all due to smartphones.
Sony recently released the Walkman ZX2 at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2015, but what makes this any different?
Smartphones are even more robust now, with built-in amplifiers, many different music players that can be downloaded, as well as stellar battery life and highly expandable storage space. The ZX2 - exclusively targetting high-end audiophiles - is fighting a tough battle.
The device itself has a matte black casing, and is very nice to hold in one hand, with easy access to play, pause and rewind.
It comes with a built-in 128GB storage space and has Android 4.2 Jelly Bean software on board.
Next to the gold earphone jack is a USB port for charging, along with a microSD card slot which will be absolutely necessary if you are to upload high-resolution music.
The volume up/down buttons are nice, huge and minimalistic, right next to a smaller power button.
A 4.0-inch screen resonates a typical Sony smartphone, and Bluetooth for wireless streaming is available along with NFC for one-touch connection to your fancy speakers and headphones, making your connections seamless.
Even better, the ZX2 lasts for about five days, (although will only run 30-hours for high-res files), meaning you can easily run around with it on your commutes, or even better plug it into your car.
What I am still unsure of, is the ability for the car to "read" the ZX2 Walkman to be integrated in the car audio. Sadly, most cars only read iPod's and iPhone's. If it doesn't, at least you'll have Bluetooth audio to sync with your car audio.
The ZX2 is powered by a Sony-s S-Master HX Digital Master, which allows it to have a portable DAC (Digital to Analog Converter), and gives the ZX2 a great sound quality, with a high sampling rate and dynamic range.
Bear in mind, the Sony ZX2 is US$1119.99 (S$1500), yes, that's right - $2,000 for a Walkman from Sony. I did mention this was exclusively for higher-end users.
Sony is assuring that this would please audiophiles, and I for one, can definitely not claim to be one. I fall into the category of using a Walkman for when I go on a jog, or when I am preparing myself for a long journey, or these days, to create a playlist for a long car ride.
So audiophiles out there, Sony's ZX2 is the solution for you!