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Sony Hi Res Walkman Review: Maybe the Audio Player Isn’t Dead After All

Is it possible? Has Sony breathed new life into the Walkman? Well, it turns out that this little Sony Hi Res Walkman is a pocket-sized piece of heaven for audiophiles. Streaming music be damned, this is the way you should be listening to your music! The Hi Res Walkman has 64 GB of built-in memory, a microSD memory card slot, and it will keep on going for hours on end. It also comes with NFC and Bluetooth connectivity.

Unfortunately, the QVGA anti-reflective display on the Hi Res Walkman is a bit small at 2.25″—watching movies is out of the question, but it is fine for displaying album art. The directional key is what will guide you through the player. That’s right, there is no touchscreen here—deal with it. Fortunately, the menu system is pretty straightforward, and there are so many options to make your music sound even better. There is even a karaoke mode and lyrics mode, so you don’t have to guess the words while you sing along.

The Hi Res Walkman supports a wide range of hi res digital formats like FLAC. The experience of listening to such rich audio is intoxicating. Not only can the player handle a wide variety of audio formats, it will also work with both a PC and Mac seamlessly. Software is pre-loaded onto the device for easy installation and you will be prompted throughout the installation process. Dropping and dragging files is simple, easy and intuitive.

The Hi Res Walkman also has a built-in equalizer for you to adjust the settings accordingly for your music tastes. If you want more treble or bass, you can easily adjust the slider.

We got a chance to pair our Sony Hi Res Walkman review model with a hi res version of Cheek to Cheek, the newly-released album from Lady Gaga and Tony Bennett. It sounds absolutely phenomenal. In fact, we can’t remember the last time we listened to a 2817 kbps FLAC file. Even an average 320 kbps file sounds good, but this player is much more adept at handling those raw audio files—so get ripping.

Granted, if the Hi Res Walkman is not paired with the right headphones, the experience could be different. We tested the system with Sony’s own MDR-1R headphones, as well as with a pair from Bowers & Wilkins, and the results are sublime. Unfortunately, no earphones were included with our Sony Hi Res Walkman review model.

Verdict

The 64 GB Hi Res Walkman Digital Music Player is a powerful player that fits in the palm of your hand. It will bring new life to your catalog of music that you probably have been streaming from Spotify or buying from iTunes. Well, stop it! Grab your CDs and rip them onto this player, instead. There are a lot of options that the average consumer may not use with the Hi Res Walkman, but the true audiophile will love the feature set made available to them here. Unfortunately we were disappointed that the Hi Res Walkman didn’t come with a pair of earphones. Lastly, the sync/charging cable is proprietary, which is a bummer. Despite those few gripes, the Sony Walkman is definitely back with this hi res makeover.

The Good:The Walkman is back, pocket-sized and easily portable, Bluetooth and NFC connectivity, breathes new life into your music collection, great 50-hour battery life, large storage capacity of 64GB plus microSD card slot, supports every hi res audio file format you can think of, offers a rich feature set that will even impress the most hardcore audiophiles, compatible with both Mac and PC, easy to sync files

The Bad:Proprietary charging cable, no earphones are included, pricey

2 Comments

  1. Headphones not being included makes sense. To get the full benefit of a high resolution player you’re going to need a pair of headphones that costs at least $100; if you’re going to use something cheap there is no reason to buy this player. People have their own preferences about which pair of expensive phones they like, so bundling in an expensive pair with the player would be a poor move.

  2. I may look into getting this thing. Fiio brand has some competing players, at cheaper prices, but lack ease of use (manual firmware updates, the biggest) according to some reviews, and lower battery life. More audio companies should start making players like this.

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