What’s the point of the new Sony Walkman?

The Sony Walkman was first introduced in 1979 as a portable cassette player that allowed people to listen to music on the go. It became a cultural phenomenon and a must-have device during the 1980s and 1990s, with over 400 million units sold during its heyday. After the transition to CD and digital audio players in the late 1990s and early 2000s, the Walkman faded from popularity.

Now in 2022, Sony has revived the Walkman brand with a new digital audio player model. The new NW-WM1AM2 Walkman aims to deliver high-resolution audio and a premium listening experience in a portable device. Key features include:

  • Hi-Res Audio certification for playback of high-resolution FLAC and WAV files up to 32-bit/384 kHz PCM
  • Vinyl Processor for reproducing the warm, rich sound quality of vinyl records
  • S-Master HX digital amplifier to reduce distortion and noise
  • 16GB of built-in storage
  • Aluminum milled frame for improved rigidity and reduced vibration
  • Intuitive physical buttons and analog-style rotating dial interface
  • Long-lasting battery life up to 36 hours for FLAC and 60 hours for MP3

With these audiophile-level features in a compact, portable design, the new Walkman aims to deliver an exceptional listening experience for hi-fi enthusiasts on the go.


The new Sony Walkman NW-A306 features a sleek and stylish physical design. It has angular edges and a minimalist look, with dimensions of 55.2 x 106.2 x 14.1mm and weighing 113g (per Arstechnica). This makes it slimmer and lighter than previous Sony Walkman models. The NW-A306 comes in two color options – black and azure blue, giving it an elegant and modern aesthetic.

Compared to older Walkman models, the NW-A306 has a more premium and sophisticated design. While older models like the NW-A100 had a boxy and bulky shape, the NW-A306 is thinner and more curved for a sleeker look. The angular unibody design also sets it apart from the rounded edges of previous players. Overall, the NW-A306 represents an evolution in the iconic Walkman design language that balances minimalist styling with high-end materials.

Audio Quality

The new Sony Walkman boasts impressive audio quality and high-resolution playback capabilities. According to redditors on r/technology, the Walkman provides noticeably higher sound quality compared to smartphones and other portable music players (Source).

The Walkman supports a wide range of audio codecs including FLAC, ALAC, WAV, and DSD formats up to 11.2 MHz. This allows listeners to play back high-resolution audio files in full lossless quality. Additionally, Sony has included new noise-canceling circuitry and high quality audio components like the S-Master HX digital amp to minimize distortion and accurately reproduce any music format (Source).

Audio hardware specifications like the dual DAC setup and large custom driver units provide impactful bass, dynamic mids, and clear treble ranges when listening to tracks. Reviewers on audiophile forums rave about the pristine and balanced sound signature of the Walkman.

Battery Life

The new Sony Walkman NW-A306 offers excellent battery life for a portable music player. It packs a 1,260 mAh lithium-ion battery which Sony claims can deliver up to 36 hours of playback for FLAC files at 48 kHz/24 bit and up to 26 hours for Hi-Res Audio file formats (as per Sony’s official specs). This long battery life allows you to listen to music all day without needing to recharge.

In real-world usage, early reviews indicate the battery life lives up to the hype. According to user reports on Head-Fi, with normal use at medium volume you can expect 25-30 hours playback from a full charge. The large capacity battery means you may only need to charge the Walkman every 2-3 days.

Charging the Walkman from empty to full takes about 3 hours via the USB-C port (per Moon Audio). This is a bit slower than some competitors but the battery lasts so long it’s a minor issue. You can quick charge for 1 hour to gain around 50% battery, very useful in a pinch.


The new Sony Walkman comes with 32GB of internal storage, which provides space for several thousand songs depending on audio quality (Ars Technica). This is ample capacity for most users’ music libraries. However, for those with very large collections, the Walkman supports expandable storage via microSDXC cards up to 1TB (Head-Fi Forums). With the addition of a 1TB card, the Walkman can hold tens of thousands of hi-res audio tracks, providing essentially unlimited music storage.


The Sony Walkman NW-A306 offers both wired and wireless connectivity options. It has Bluetooth 5.0 for pairing with wireless headphones or speakers. The Walkman can also connect via Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac networks for music streaming services or downloading additional music files (Arstechnica.com).

For wired connectivity, the Walkman has a standard 3.5mm headphone jack as well as balanced output via 4.4mm Pentaconn and USB-C ports. The balanced outputs allow you to take advantage of higher fidelity headphones and earbuds. The USB-C port can be used for charging, data transfer, or digital audio output to an external DAC (Digitalanalogconverter.com).

Overall, the connectivity options on the new Sony Walkman provide flexibility whether you want to listen wirelessly via Bluetooth, stream music over Wi-Fi, or use wired connections for high-resolution playback. The inclusion of both 3.5mm and balanced outputs ensures compatibility with a wide variety of headphones and audio gear.

User Interface

The Sony NW-A55 Walkman features a touchscreen interface, unlike previous Sony Walkman models that relied on physical buttons and controls. The touchscreen measures 3.6 inches diagonally with a resolution of 720×1440 pixels (287ppi). It uses capacitive touch technology and supports multi-touch gestures like swiping and pinching to zoom.

The touchscreen gives the NW-A55 a modern, smartphone-like interface. However, some users may prefer having physical playback buttons for music control. The device lacks any physical buttons on the front, but does have three small buttons on the side for volume up/down and power.

The main interface is smooth and responsive. It runs Sony’s custom skin on top of Android 9.0. The UI provides quick access to your music library, playlists, FM radio, settings and more. You can also install additional apps and games from the Google Play store, though the amount of storage limits how many you can add.

Overall, the touchscreen UI provides a sleek look and useful features. But the lack of physical buttons takes some adjustment for long-time Walkman users. Sony has optimized the software for playing audio and managing a music collection. But the experience still differs from previous Walkman models focused solely on audio playback.

Additional Features

The new Sony Walkman supports a wide range of audio formats including MP3, AAC, FLAC, ALAC, WMA, and WAV files up to 192kHz/32bit resolution (reference: Ars Technica). This allows you to play high-resolution lossless audio files for improved sound quality.

In terms of extra software features, the Walkman has a built-in equalizer to customize the sound to your preferences. It is also compatible with Sony’s proprietary DSEE Ultimate upscaling technology to enhance the quality of compressed audio files like MP3s. Additionally, it supports LDAC for wireless streaming of high-resolution audio via Bluetooth (reference: Reddit). These software enhancements further augment the listening experience.

Pricing and Availability

The new Sony Walkman NW-ZX707 will have an estimated retail price of $898 USD according to The National. This premium model features high-resolution playback, streaming services, and noise canceling capabilities.

Sony also revealed the NW-A306 Walkman model which is more affordable at approximately $399 USD. This model lacks some of the premium features but still supports high quality audio playback.

Both new Sony Walkman models are expected to be released on February 16, 2023 according to Metro. The devices will likely be available for purchase directly from Sony and at major electronics retailers.


In summary, the new Sony Walkman offers a lightweight, portable music player with high quality audio performance and long battery life. Key features include Hi-Res audio support, fast charging capability, generous built-in storage, and an easy-to-use interface.

Compared to smartphones and other devices that play music, the Walkman stands out for its superior audio quality and extensive audio format support. For those seeking a dedicated high-end portable music player, the Walkman is a strong contender against alternatives from Astell & Kern, Fiio, and others.

For audiophiles and frequent travelers, the new Sony Walkman represents an excellent value. With best-in-class sound and a durable, pocketable form factor, it’s a recommendable choice for anyone looking to enjoy high fidelity music on the go.

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