Now that you can use pretty much any smartphone as an MP3 player, dedicated portable audio players aren’t as common as they once were. But Sony thinks there’s still room for a device that puts media playback front and center.

The company launched a high-end portable audio player powered by Android in Japan in 2013, and now the company is getting ready to bring the Sony Walkman NW-ZX1 to Europe and possibly eventually the United States.

It won’t be cheap though — the device could cost as much as $1000 if and when it goes on sale in the US this summer.

Sony Walkman ZX1

What you get for that crazy high price is a pocket-sized device which can handle 192 KHz/24-bit FLAC audio files. It’ll play MP3 files too, and Sony tries to work a little digital magic to make them sound better, but if you’re the sort of audiofile who would drop $1000 on a music player, you probably don’t have a lot of MP3s in your collection.

The Walkman NW-ZX1 also has a sturdy aluminum case, dedicated music control buttons on the side, WiFi, Bluetooth, and access to the Google Play Store where you can download third-party apps.

This isn’t a phone and it doesn’t make calls or connect to the internet when you’re away from WiFi. It also doesn’t have a camera, and the 4 inch display only has a resolution of 854 x 480 pixels. But if you’re looking for better specs on a basic Android device to use as a media player, there may be better options.

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9 replies on “Hands-on with Sony’s Walkman ZX1 HD audio player with Android”

  1. Some audiophiles get a small headphone amp with its own DAC. That’s in addition to the music player and they cost hundreds. So if you can get that all in one self contained package – assuming the Sony has that kind of audio quality – it would be pretty cool and worth it to those kinds of enthusiasts. That and a pair of audiophile earphones could be the most high end pocketable sound system ever made.

    Though personally I would prefer they put this into some super audiophile phone. I would be totally interested in that as my phone has become my most used audio player. And yeah it would be worth a bit more, but moreover it would make me consider a Sony phone a lot more seriously. Also put a great Sony camera into it. Sony knows audio, they know screen tech, they know cameras; why not become known as the uber sound and vision quality phone maker? If they really put the best into it it would be worth $1000.

  2. The whole point is sound quality. Paying $1000 is a lot cheaper than buying a HiFi of such grade. The Japanese are known for investing in tangible media, SACDs etc and will pay for good hardware. As always us lot in the rest of the world cannot see beyond our own noses. Do you think Sony care that you want to undermine their vision. At least they’re trying to bring quality into the fore front instead of crummy mp3s and shitty players! Give them a break, they’re not Samsung!

  3. Does anyone know of any decent Android MP3 players with decent specs and a camera? This is just a question if there is a dedicated Wifi-only device, instead of just going with something like a Moto G.

  4. Sorny must be having a senior moment thinking they have a lock on the portable music player market.
    That pricing is cuckoo for cocoa puffs

  5. There definitely is still a market for mp3 players as I do t want to use all of my storage on my phone plus my phones battery life isn’t the best so I would rather have a big storage, long battery life mp3 player I currently have a sony mp3 player and the sound is second to none and puts iPods to shame…but $1000 are they insane?

  6. There ARE better options out there. Playing FLAC files is not difficult. How Sony thinks this is worth $1,000 is beyond me.

    1. For future visitors: There are more expensive options out there, that are heavier/bulkier. The ZX1 is actually a good deal if you know what you are looking at 😉

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