However, there is no need to carry a pencil to repair retracted cartridges; these are the latest Android-powered digital devices in a series that Sony has been producing for a decade. Like other digital music players, the NW-A300 and NW-ZX700 can play streaming or stored music. They’re powered by Android 12, enabling apps like Spotify, and offer “evolutionary sound” according to Sony. No “r”.
The much cheaper of the two Walkmans, the NW-A300, is expected to cost 46,000 yen in Japan (approximately €400). It has a compact size of 56.6 × 98.5 × 12 mm, a 3.6-inch touchscreen LCD with a resolution of 1280 × 720 (60 Hz), Wi-Fi 802.11AC and Bluetooth 5. As for ports, we have USB-C 3.2 Gen1, MicroSD slot and 3.5mm headphone jack.
The NW-A300 is powered by an unnamed Qualcomm quad-core SoC with 4GB of RAM. Sony promises 36 hours of 44.1kHz FLAC playback and up to 32 hours of 96kHz High-Resolution Audio FLAC playback, presumably with the LCD screen off.
The high-end model NW-ZX700 is aimed at audiophiles, which is reflected in its price of 104,500 yen, or approximately €735. Sony tries to justify this amount by adding a proper audio amplifier and large capacitors powering the analog audio output. The device drives the 11nm Qualcomm QCS4290 chipset with eight Kryo 260 processors and Adreno 610 GPU, a 5-inch screen with 1280 × 720 pixels, 64 GB of storage and 23 hours of audio playback. In addition to the standard 3.5mm port, there is also a professional 4.4mm Balanced Output audio jack.
Not surprisingly, the NW-ZX700 is much larger – 72.6 x 132 x 17mm. Like the cheaper model, it is equipped with the S-Master HX digital amplifier circuit. Both Walkmans use Sony’s AI-powered Edge-AI and DSEE Ultimate (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) to enhance the quality of compressed digital music files, and include a feature that adds the sound of vinyl playback to tracks. There are also physical buttons like in a classic cassette player and a screensaver with a spinning cassette tape.
Both Walkmans are expected to launch in Japan in February this year. Pricing and release date in Europe are yet to be announced.