Sony's unveiled two new Walkman music players aimed at audiophiles – with the price to match.
The idea of separate music players seems a quaint idea in the smartphone age, given that nearly any connected device is capable of playing music to a reasonable quality. Although not everything can produce hi-res audio.
With the new NW-WM1ZM2 and NW-WM1AM2 (difficult to differentiate at a glance) music player models, Sony hopes to crack into the market of music quality enthusiasts with a fair chunk of disposable income.
Both units can either download or stream music with Android OS and Wi-Fi compatibility, and include a USB-C port to quickly transfer tunes from your PC. It's important to note not all streaming services are created equal: Tidal is known for including high-quality audio, so it could be worth switching over if you've been left cold by the recent Spotify situation.
They both have two headphone jacks and are capable of upscaling compressed audio files so you can enjoy more details from individual instruments and dynamic range from recordings.
Where the two models mainly differ is in the build materials and price. The AM2 is made of an aluminium alloy frame, has 128 GB in-built storage with a microSD slot for more, and retails for $1,899.
And that's the cheaper option.
Meanwhile, Sony's ZM2 uses a gold-plated oxygen-free copper chassis and holds 256 GB internally.
Oh, and it costs $4,999.
Clearly, I'm not the target market for such a product, as I am neither an audiophile nor someone with money.
Sony is well-known for its high-quality audio products, including the popular WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones, so it's reasonable to expect the new Walkmans will deliver on strong sound fidelity.
The way in which both the ZM2 and AM2 music players are built is intended to reduce electrical interference and therefore audio distortion, so what you hear should be just as the artist intended.
Still, that's a fair amount of coin to spend on a music player. If it's exactly what you're after and you know you'll benefit from what they deliver, go for your life.