19
Apr
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Last Updated: April 30th, 2012

Sony is a company going through major changes - it recently announced plans to lay off 10,000 plus of its workers (some of those through buyouts), has instated a new CEO, and just had one of its worst fiscal years ever. It also recently ended its Android smartphone partnership with Ericsson, and plans to now produce handsets under its own name. It's a difficult and uncertain time for Sony, and the Walkman Z, unfortunately, seems to be an excellent microcosm of the company's larger problems.

There comes an end to the life of every great consumer electronic. The portable CD player. The beeper. The cable descrambler box. All great inventions in their time - but made obsolete by modern alternatives. Now, it's time for the portable media player to step down.

The PMP hasn't actually been with us all that long. Really only since the original iPod, back in 2001 (I suppose you could count previous MP3 players generally). But the rise of the smartphone has sealed the PMP's fate, and unfortunately, it seems some companies are still trying to get in on a market that's very obviously been terminally ill for some time. And yes, this is going to be one of those deep, big-picture reviews, if you haven't already noticed.

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The Walkman Z is a device that contradicts itself at every turn. It's beautiful (and I do mean that) and well-built, but it's large and cumbersome and has oddly sharp edges. It runs a relatively stock version of Android 2.3, but charges only via a proprietary cable, and has no expandable storage. It has excellent DSP and equalizer controls, but they only work with Sony's music and movie apps. Its size and shape are perfect for playing games in landscape mode, and yet it's not PlayStation Certified. And while its main market competitor, the iPod Touch, has haptic feedback, front and rear cameras, and an ambient light sensor, the Walkman Z has... well, none of those things. And yet it costs $50 more.

Sony Walkman Z Series: Specifications

  • Price: $250 (8GB), $280 (16GB), $330 (32GB)
  • What's in the box? Sony Walkman Z, multipin USB charging and data cable, Walkman headphones.
  • Processor: NVIDIA Tegra 2 dual-core, 1GHz
  • Operating System: Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread (stock, mostly)
  • Display: 4.3" TFT-LCD (WVGA 480x800)
  • Memory: 1GB RAM / 8GB internal (4.6GB usable)
  • Wireless: Wi-Fi, FM radio, Bluetooth 2.1
  • Cameras: none
  • Battery: size unknown, non-removable
  • Ports/Expandable Storage: Sony multipin, microHDMI / none
  • Thickness: 11.1mm
  • Weight: 156g

The Good

  • The Walkman Z is undeniably cool-looking, and very well put-together (if scratch and scuff-prone).
  • The Walkman button with gesture controls is pretty neat.
  • Its large size makes it ideal for gaming in landscape mode.
  • The exterior speaker, when software enhancements are enabled, is unusually good.
  • The headphone amp is powerful and sounds good, and Sony's EQ and virtual surround settings are well-done.

The Not So Good

  • It's huge. About the size of an Epic 4G Touch, but with a smaller display, and much thicker at 11.1mm.
  • The display just isn't very good in sunlight, viewing angles are mediocre.
  • Storage space is abysmal in the base model (4.6GB usable), and non-expandable.
  • A proprietary charging cable on something that's basically an Android phone without the phone parts? Really?
  • A $250 pricetag isn't going to have these things flying off the shelves, especially considering the comparable iPod Touch is $50 cheaper.
  • The unlit capacitive keys are literally impossible to see in low light, and no haptic feedback makes them even harder to find.

Hardware / Build Quality

The Walkman Z is definitely a cool-looking piece of kit, and compared to the pretty-undeniably-ugly XPERIA Ion, it makes me wonder why Sony doesn't take its smartphones in this design direction. The royal blue rear cover just looks kind of awesome against those painted black metal accents on the sides.

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As you can see, that awesome blue rear cover (which is plastic) also gets scratched up really easily - and so do the Walkman Z's oddly sharp corners. For something that's getting tossed into bags and generally designed to be portable (and, I imagine difficult to find a case for), it's a bit disheartening that the Walkman Z isn't a little more rugged. Still, the Walkman is extremely solid, and does feel very well put-together - something Sony's XPERIA division could learn from.

Another problem with the Walkman Z is that it's just so damn big. While its 4.3" display is average by contemporary standards, the Walkman Z is both very noticeably wider and longer than my Motorola DROID BIONIC, which also has a 4.3" display. The Walkman Z is 133mm x 70mm, making it 3mm longer and as wide as an Epic 4G Touch (which has a 4.52" display), if that gives you a sense of size. This makes it great for gaming in landscape mode (lots of non-screen space for your thumbs), but the Walkman Z isn't even PlayStation Certified. What gives, Sony? It's also a decidedly chunky device for something not packing a cell radio, at 11.1mm thick.

As for more functional hardware, the Walkman Z doesn't have much exciting going on. An HDMI-out port for mirroring is a nice touch, but the proprietary multi-pin charging slash data cable? Not so much. Why, Sony, why? For something big and juice-hungry like a tablet, I can at least fathom the reasoning behind a proprietary connector, but on a phone-sized Android media player? Whether to satisfy Sony's need for proprietary accessory cable sales, or simply to copy Apple's iPod model, I'm not sure, but it's a pointless complication either way.

The Walkman Z also lacks an ambient light sensor, haptic feedback, backlit capacitive keys, or cameras of any kind, which makes it feel rather stripped-down for a $250 piece of equipment.

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The power button on the Walkman Z is big and easy to press, which is perfect for a media player. The volume rocker on my review unit definitely protrudes more on the vol-down side than up, and I'm really not sure if that's intentional. The placement of the headphone jack at the bottom of the device doesn't seem to have any real downsides.

You may have noticed by now that there is one more button on the Walkman Z along the right side - the Walkman button. Its purpose is simple, and it's really just a great idea. Press the Walkman button, whether the device is on or off, and the currently playing song will pop up on the display with controls. It doesn't sound like anything brilliant (and really, lockscreen music controls can accomplish the same thing), but I'd certainly like to see something similar to this on Sony's smartphones in the future. You can also configure those pop-up controls such that they operate in gesture mode, giving you a large target box (instead of a small widget), where swiping left or right will change tracks, and tapping anywhere operates the play/pause functions.

Display / Battery Life / Storage

The Walkman Z is equipped with a 4.3" WVGA (480x800) LCD display. For a run-of-the-mill LCD, the Walkman Z's provides good colors, deep blacks, and gets plenty bright for indoor use. Go outside, though, and things change. PMPs are devices often used while on-the-go, particularly outdoors. The Walkman's display at maximum brightness is barely enough to use in direct sunlight, and even then, only when you're viewing it straight on can you really see anything - viewing angles are just kind of awful.

Battery life on the Walkman Z is basically what you can expect of an Android phone without a cell radio - good. You'll easily get a full day of media consumption out of the Walkman (provided the display isn't on most of the time), and while battery life is nothing to write home about, it's good enough that it's not complaint-worthy, either.

One thing that is complaint-worthy is the Walkman's storage - while 8GB would be decent (and matches the entry-level iPod Touch), in reality, the Walkman Z has even less than that. Out of the box, you'll have 4.6GB of that 8 available for use. That's it. Storage isn't expandable, either. For $250, this is clearly absurd. While the 16GB model of the Walkman Z will only run you $30 more ($280), Sony is already running dangerously afoul of the market-leading 8GB iPod Touch, which comes in at only $200, with the 32GB version costing $300. If there's one thing that will keep the Walkman Z on store shelves, it's clearly the price.

Performance / Software

A Tegra 2 dual-core processor powers the Z, and for gaming, this is great. You can download awesome titles from the Tegra Zone, and generally play most high-end Android games that are available today (not Sony's PlayStation titles, though). The problem is that outside of gaming, the Walkman Z isn't exactly quick. The launcher is one of the laggiest I've seen on a modern Android device, and seems capped at around 20FPS in the homescreens and app drawer. Switching to a third-party launcher will alleviate this lagginess almost completely, thankfully.

Android on the Walkman Z is pretty much stock Gingerbread, albeit with a custom 5-button launcher that includes Sony's media apps rather prominently. It's so near-stock that there's really no reason not to install a custom launcher - you don't lose anything.

Sony's proprietary apps for music and video playback are both decent. The music app, in particular, is well-designed and runs very smoothly, though I did experience at least two instances of it crashing on the Walkman Z for no apparent reason. The movie app has a very limited number of compatible playback formats, but obviously you can download alternative media players from the Play Store to get around this limitation. Of course, if you choose to use apps other than Sony's official music and movie playback tools, you lose out on all the included audio tweaking options (they only work in Sony's apps), which we'll talk about in the next section of the review.

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Sound

Given that the Walkman brand is all about audio, Sony has included a number of very useful sound-tweaking options on the Walkman Z. This includes a 5-band graphic equalizer with 6 presets, 2 of which you can customize, Sony's VPT (Virtualphone Technology) settings, which allow you to set the sound signature to different "venues" (eg, Studio, Live, Club, Arena), dynamic audio normalization, and enhancements for the exterior speaker.

The problem is that these settings only take effect if you're using Sony's playback apps for music and video, which is a sad, sad thing. While Sony's music app is actually pretty good, the movie app is very limited in terms of format compatibility, and that's just not cool. I'd particularly like to use Sony's audio tweaks with something like Pandora, which streams at a low quality to start with, and see how much better it can be made to sound.

On a more positive note, sound does come through great on the Walkman. The exterior speaker on the rear is the best I've ever heard on a PMP or smartphone, and by no small margin. The software enhancements (again, which only work in Sony's apps) let bass come through much more clearly, and smooth out the harsh "tinny" sound you'd generally associate with an exterior speaker. While it doesn't get incredibly loud, it sounds pretty damn good for something so small.

Sony's headphone amplifier on the 3.5mm jack, the S-Master MX, is another saving grace of the device. Even without enhancements, music came through significantly louder on the Walkman Z than most Android smartphones, which isn't a huge deal for earbuds, but very important if you plan on using your PMP with a large set of on-ear cans. The included headphones with the Walkman Z aren't bad (much better than what you get with any phone), but they're nothing to write home about, either.

Conclusion

It's not hard to see why the Walkman Z probably isn't for most people. And it's not hard to see why its very purpose is frustrated by existence of ever-more-powerful smartphones.

But what takes a little more searching to find are the things Sony did right with the Walkman Z. It's very clear that Sony has extremely smart people working on its products, and that those people have come up with some great ideas. The dedicated Walkman button with swipe gesture controls. A fantastic music app with good EQ and DSP options, a great external speaker, and a legit headphone amp. And a really cool looking (and well-built) piece of hardware.

The problem is that the Walkman Z also has a lot of things going against it. It's unnecessarily large. It has a proprietary charging cable, no expandable storage (and a puny amount to start with), no cameras, unlit capacitive keys, and no haptic feedback. It's also woefully overpriced, something Sony can't afford in a market that the iPod Touch unabashedly dominates for $50 less. The iPod touch is also, frankly, just better than the Sony in a lot of important ways.

Sony needs to take those good ideas in the Walkman Z and mesh them into its smartphone and tablet products. The touchscreen PMP is a dead end. The only big company that continues to successfully sell such devices to mainstream consumers is Apple, and in ever-diminishing quantities. Even if Sony were to have produced a great PMP device with the Walkman Z, it probably still wouldn't sell - there's no more room in this dying sun of a market, especially at this price point.

Sony, we all know you brought us the Walkman, and we all loved you for it, but I think it's time to let go of the PMP dream, and focus on a more integrated, "one device for everything" approach.

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • ElfirBFG

    What an entirely useless device. Atrix4G shipped for less than $250 on eBay. Better resolution, expandable memory, smaller, lighter, micro USB, etc.. So for the same price as the 32GB Walkman, you could have a 48GB player, that could -even- be a phone. Not to mention it is easily rootable, has CM9 builds capable of 1.45GHz, etc.. Spend $5 on an app like PowerAMP and you have a 10 band equaliser as well.

    • MrHaroHaro

      And a contract. Where you're paying at least $60 a month for 2 years.

  • Raphaël Briand

    I don't know if MP3 players are really dead until phones are big enough to hold large music collections and have a little more battery life. When I carry my music around I want my entire collection, and streaming data isn't yet an acceptable solution. 64Gb MicroSD cards are on their way but rare, expensive, and certainly not standard. Sales will be diminishing but I certainly wouldn't call them obsolete.

    Obviously there's no reason to buy this particular piece of shit.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Hardly expensive - Best Buy has a 64GB Sandisk today on sale for $80. I'd say that's a fair value for that kind of size right now. SDXC support on devices, that's another case, but I'm sure future devices will start coming out with SDXC, and then sky is the limit.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

        Apparently the Galaxy S II (and many of the more recent smartphones) support SDXC. Sadly things like Nintendo DS flashcarts don't which is annoying if my collection ever exceeds 32GB.

        I find that it's best to wait as technology goes down in price, I remember back when 32GB MicroSDs where £50+ (on Amazon.co.uk) and now they are ~£20. With 16GB MicroSDs now costing ~£10, I want to see the huge 64GB to go down to £30-45 before I splash my cash on it and of course that my device supports it.

        What's cool is that providing the device supports SDXC, you can go up (theoretically at least) to 2TB (2048GB) with your phone's external memory. Although by then SSDs will have evolved a loooooong way!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      I would say that for people like me who have a complete music collection which is only ~10GB the use for an MP3 player is questionable. I have managed to set it all up in iTunes and sync it across to an iPhone (in the past), an iPod Touch and my Galaxy S II (thanks to a great app called iSyncr). 

      I used to own a old(ish) Sony Walkman, but that was in like 2006 and now I have great smartphone that can play music and do everything that the Walkman can do, I feel I would never need to go back. Since the iPhone I have found that having everything on one device is easier.The device as David Ruddock as rightfully pointed out doesn't seem fit for purpose. Primarily the price of course as well as the other disadvantages would probably make the very purchasing of the device a questionable move for potential customers. 

      What's nice to see however is we have a Tegra 2 chipset inside and that means maybe if there is an Xperia Play 2 we might see a Tegra 3 inside for some hardcore gaming.

  • Rhundal77

    Might be a nice device to run a custom ROM on?

    • rdr0b11

      I highly doubt there will be much of a "community" to provide custom ROMs for this device.

  • Skillit

    MP3 players are going the way of the Dodo, today is all about convergence.

    Back in the day, when hip-pouches where still fashionable, I didn't have any problem in carrying a cell phone, a Gameboy, a Walkman, a small camera with some film and a voice recorder. But today where everything has to fit in my pocket and I can have a single device that can do so much more than what I used to have with me why would I settle for any less ...

    • StriderWhite

      Totally agree!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1745689461 Hal Motley

      Times have changed and I couldn't agree more. My Galaxy S II covers most things:

      1. Emulators/Android games - A great handheld gaming console.2. MP3 support - A great MP3 player for listening to tunes on the go.
      3. Reasonably good camera - Megapixels aren't everything, but it's adequate.
      4. Voice Recording? - I guess I could search the Play for one of those apps, shame  that Android has terrible stock apps.

  • OFI

    At this point anyone putting up a competing product with the iPod Touch at the same pricing level just needs their head checked.

    We all have the internet so we know how much a 32GB SD card costs so quit with the ridiculous pricing based on relatively small storage differences.Why even bother with the 8GB, what use it that for a media player? And 32GB at the ceiling, when did that become the norm anyway. It wasn't long ago Apple, MS and Creative were pushing players with 80-160GB storage. I know they can't use HDDs now but surely multiple SD chipsets aren't out of the question assuming they don't want to go with external memory.At those prices it's just DOA.It's incredible how out of touch Sony appear to be with some of their products these days. It's as if they think we'll buy into it because it has their name stamped on it. They could do with waking up from that dream!

  • http://www.toysdiva.com Toys Samurai

    An used Galaxy SII will be a much better device if you only want it to be a music player. Install GrooveIP onto it, and you get a VOIP phone wherever you have access to WIFI -- actually, a Verizon 4G 5GB data hotspot costs $50 a month, battery lasts about 5 hrs. If you always carry a bag, this could be the cheaper way to own a smartphone (a 900 min/2GB data will cost you $89 on VZW.)

  • BryanMacKenzie

    people actually use their phone to listen to music? They dont even have proper flac support...

    • TotallyGeeky

      I don't see why you'd use FLAC on your phone, I mean FLAC files are massive, and although they sound good, there is very limited space on your phone

    • ElfirBFG

      WinampPro has FLAC support. I have a solid 31GB of non-FLAC, most ~320kbps and it sounds great through PowerAmp's equaliser and Heartbeats headphones. One device that lasts a whole day and does two tasks(and a whole lot more if you factor in data services). Of course I'm gonna use it.

    • http://twitter.com/ElrandoHorse MGardner

      ICS has FLAC support.

      • BryanMacKenzie

        the point being.. flac support is meaningless if the player dosnt have a very good sound card. personally have only ever used cowon players.

  • MrHaroHaro

    Personally I like the idea of an Android iPod touch competitor. Currently I'm moving out of Android and looking to get the next iPhone when it is available, but would love to keep in touch, so to speak, with Android. This device would allow me to do just that. This could be great for people not wanting to fully commit to an Android phone for contract reasons, or just they like their iPhone/Windows Phone/Blackberry but still like some things about Android or just want to try it out long term.

  • Tomo Ayumi

    You're undeniably ugly.

  • justin lee

    wow...was gonna get the 8GB for $250 on amazon, but THANKFULLY I read this and realized there is no expandable memory!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    people saying the sound quality is as good or BETTER than Cowon J3 (wolfson dac + BBE sound)

    but seriously--   look into Galaxy S phone (root it and get Voodoo sound control).  that should sound as good as the cowon J3.  

    Or, iPod 5gen or 5.5gen have the best Wolfson DAC in it.  

    If you're okay with non-expandable 16gb internal memory - I think Nexus S has the best amp in it (also has the Wolfson DAC and needs root + Voodoo app to optimize it!).    It is an amazing thing.

    other models that have 16gb built in memory  and  memory card slot are.... samsung vibrant and samsung captivate (both galaxy s phones).

    ones that don't have built in memory are samsung Epic (sprint) with sliding keyboard, samsung fascinate...  and i9000?  

    Galaxy S2 does NOT have the wolfson.  nor does the newest Nexus or original Nexus One.  

    check out head-fi.org for a great audiophile forum :)

  • Goldenpins

    I dont have any issues with "sharp corners" or "to big" as long as it runs well, solid OS and screen. The Z lacks all that. 

    People have gotten to use to Apples rounded corners and small displays as something they need to imitate. They need to focus on internal software, display and storage. Especially if there asking for a similar price. I want my device to look nice and run well. Reminds me of the original Xoom.. horrible screen, muddy looking even at Max bright settings. 

    There trying to match Apple in pricing, but fail on a software level. Lagging, you have to change home screen launchers to improve the stock launcher .Beyond Android there isn't anything that stands out. Yeah, you can edit and find work around for some problems..But It should work well right out of the box. 

  • AJ Smith

    Put PowerAmp on this thing, and no ipod, iphone, or other droid devices can sound better.

  • can’t stand mediocrity

    You guys are such dolts.

    You say that a smartphone can do everything this PMP can, but you don't think about how _well_ a smartphone can do it. Have you listened to this thing with its earphones?

    You guys are so used to ipods and throw-away earbuds that you wouldn't know SQ if you heard it.

    I know, I know, it's all "subjective" but then again, so is every entertainment experience and we pay and pay more for, so why do you dismiss SQ for its subjectivity?

    You guys are missing out.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      Wait, are you saying this device somehow has better sound quality than Android phones, because I'm willing to bet that there is not much, if any, difference. You're also generalizing the headphone usage - some people listen with crappy buds, some user higher-end - it's like saying everyone drives shitty cars - it's simply not true. I know David and I test and use a lot of headphones with our phones, and I invite him to confirm or deny the quality of sound coming out of this device vs his Android phones.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      Listen, nameless anonymous comment man, I do know a few things about audio (though I am by no means an expert), and own about a half dozen sets of high end earbuds, a very nice set of Klipsch reference speakers, and consider myself pretty damn picky about sound.

      First off, did you even read my praise of the headphone amp? I assume not. Secondly, do we look like an audiophile website? I'm sure you'd love a set of comparative FLAC test notes with a half dozen other media players, complete with a breakdown of the various amps in each, but frankly, that kind of snobbery makes me sick.

      Your comment serves as a great case-in-point for the notion that "audiophiles" are exclusionary pricks with little better to do than tell people they don't know what "sound quality" is.

      If you're that concerned with sound, buy it, and if you don't like it, return it - because clearly my ears are no substitute for your gifted ones.

      • Peter Taylor

        Not at all happy to see the exchange of insults here. But I agree with "nameless anonymous comment man" that if you review a music player, the item of most interest to someone looking to spend this much money is the ability to reproduce music to a high level of fidelity.

        The review has criticised the device for shortcomings in what for me are irrelevant "bells and whistles". I appreciate the information on the power of the headphone amp, but really wish there was more information on how the music reproduction on headphones compared with other players. Is there premium sound quality to match the premium price?  

        I hasten to add that this review is no different from every other review I have read so far. A one sentence positive comment on sound quality and paragraphs of information on other features (or lack of). The information you have provided is useful and I thank you for that. But, to me, much of what I am reading in reviews of this device is a bit like reviewing a sports car and criticising it for lack of a tow bar and limited leg room in the back seat and saying that it won't suit most families with kids.

        I just wish I could find out more about audio quality from reviews of audio devices. That's not "snobbery", it is simply a love of music.

        Anyhow, I can report that I spent a couple of hours evaluating the sound quality in my local Sony store a couple of weeks ago. Not ideal circumstances compared with trying it out at home, in my car or on a plane with my own gear. But I did a direct comparison with the audio output on the Sony Tablet S. The Tablet is exceptionally good for something that is not a specialist audio device. But the Walkman Z was better. Most notably, it was a lot more subtle in the high frequencies. The Tablet was edgy in comparison.

        I will almost certainly purchase the Walkman Z when stock arrives in-store here. I want premium portable sound quality and will pay a premium price for that alone. 

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

          Peter, I understand what you're saying, but if you want premium portable sound above all else, Cowon caters to that market with better components, and by a large margin. Sony didn't make this thing for audiophiles - it has limited storage, comes with a poor quality set of headphones, and really doesn't do anything special with sound. It's good, but when I'm listening to a headphone amp on a PMP, there's only so much difference people will actually care about. If you want that level of detail, we're really not the place to look - I wrote this review for people looking for a PMP, not for audiophiles searching for a high-grade portable sound solution.

          I apologize for the tone, but I don't enjoy when someone calls me a "dolt."

          • PMPs are finished

            jeez mate you love your PMP dont you. well good luck because PMPs will be gone the way of the dodo soon

        • kotojo

          That is the best response i ever heard good said by the way i wrote this on my z

    • PMP’s are over

      Mate I have a Galaxy S3. I have disregarded the stock music player in it and installed poweramp with its own equalisers. The music is fine for me. I have owned both the cowon A2 and the A3 when smartphones had hardly come out. Awsome devices with great sound at that time and were useful. But now with the rise of the smart phone which can play 1080p , music , has wifi and can make phone calls in a 4.8inch screen why would I bother with this Z walkman or any other PMP. The time of the PMP is over Im afraid.

  • RicemanDan

    I was about to commend a thoughtful, intelligent study, with accurate pros and cons, until I looked across the room and caught glance of my Sony X Walkman - the one preceding the Z - and suddenly thought: "what can that thing do except play music". Yet I love my X player. This moment of clarity lead me to: *reviews of Walkmans ought to be conducted by users of Walkmans*. Sony never even though about Smartphones when they designed this; they simply thought "how can we take the X to the next level for our users". This in mind is why you see continuation of the proprietary cable - it really isn't mystifying at all - Walkman users are a particular niche. I am on my 3rd Sony, hence have 3 "proprietary" cables. Would I be pleased if the next-in-line switched to something else? No. It's to Sony's credit, that they aren't swayed into another market, but instead are loyal to the niche they created long ago - and still have - people like me. I own a black and white Nokia mobile, as a txt heavy user, I'd rather not run battery down on my PMP with simple tasks. 

    So it becomes clear in my mind how Sony acted this time around - they made the perfect step for me - I want something bigged than my X to watch TV series/video and importantly - a much more usable interface for inet browsing. Pack with that, some nice external speakers  (now I can easily listen to audiobooks without physically intruding my ears) and you have a perfect advancement in the line of the Sony Walkman. I suppose the interesting point is agreement with your final statement - that we may indeed have come to the end of the line for the PMP; but for different reasons you have observed - I now have all I want: supreme audio (through my exquisite UE Triple Fi 10s), satisfactory video/gaming, usable internet and handy external sound.

    Lastly - the ever long running issue of expandable memory. I agree 32gb seems absurd as a top end and 8gb....why would anyone get 8gb; esp regarding the ludicrous portion you can't even utilize. But I picked up minute (size of a finger nail) 16gb USB drives the other day online for £7 ($10), when devices like this always charge you 3-4x that for that same step-up. So there comes a point where - you'd like a sufficient base - but then suffice with carrying a few extra very cheap grams of content, easily transferred at the use of a PC (which I've heard are quite common nowadays). So again, for a Walkman user, this barely gripes. 

    I thank you for the review, which has helped me assign a purpose to my potential purchase (though I realise many many others will never have a place for such an item - ah; just how I like it!).  

    Cheers

  • cdnrailfan

    im glad im not the only one who questioned the pricing.... though the lack of a camera is a moot point, the ipod touch cameras are a joke really, and i doubt apple will improve that in the next revision........so id rather do without a camera in an pmp if the cameras are low quality......

  • http://www.facebook.com/isa.hosein19 Isa Hosein

    Does anyone have the Z Series and had their battery start going down faster & taking forever to charge back up?

  • Hello

    Have had this player for quite awhile now, and still loving it.

    Lags compare to the Nexus 5 but it is much faster than the FiiO X3.

    Built great, charges fast, and has a very pleasing display on lower brightness settings.

    Its a Walkman, so you would expect a more in depth review of its audio quality...
    Its better than the reviewer has made it ou to be.

    Its reviewers and misinformed commenters that allowed me to get my Z at a bargain. So I guess in a way I thank you all haha

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