Hands-on with Sony’s crazily expensive Android-based Walkman ZX2 [VIDEO]


Most audiophiles take pride in their ability to notice subtleties in the music they listen to, and often go to great lengths to make sure they can extract as much of those subtleties as they can. Whether that be in the form of accepting nothing but the highest quality audio files or a pair of headphones with a monstrous price tag, they’ll do everything they can.

And now they have another crazy purchase to consider. Sony is bringing the Walkman back in a big way with the introduction of the Walkman ZX2. This thing costs about $1,200, and promises to deliver you the sort of hardware audio processing that your music deserves.

At first glance we can certainly tell you that it looks and feels like a $1,200 device, so if you were worried about getting a child’s toy for the price of a month’s worth of mortgage then don’t fret. That said, we’re not sure its build quality is enough to entice all but the most serious music listeners to drop that much cash on it.

Sony Walkman DSC07637

Loaded up software-wise is Android, though nothing terribly recent. In fact, it’s running what could be considered ancient in the technology realm — Android 4.2, which was released at the tail-end of 2012. It’s still modern and contemporary, sure, but still a bit troubling.

But if you like that it supports high-quality audio formats such as DSD, WAV, AIFF, FLAC, Apple Lossless and more, and its ability to connect to wireless headphones and speakers through Bluetooth and NFC — AND you have $1,200 that you just don’t have anything better to do with — then go nuts. Our hands-on time with it is above so hit the play button to see what’s going on with this thing.

Sony Walkman DSC07638

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

CyanogenMod announces official CM12 Nightlies

Previous article

Eyes-on with Sony’s Bravia 900 with Android TV [VIDEO]

Next article

You may also like


  1. $1200 bucks? Android 4.2? does anyone know why such a high price??

  2. “At first glance we can certainly tell you that it looks and feels like a $1,200 device” it does?

  3. 1200?? Sony go home you’re drunk

    1. What an original comment.

      1. Yup, took me a while to think that one up

  4. Yeah, I guess I prefer to blow $1200 on my eyes (T.V.) with my ears coming second (surround sound). Everyone has an expensive toy here and there. This won’t be mine. But if its your thing go for it!

  5. It’s small, but there’s a market out there for these things. Right now the top dog seems to be the Cowon Plenue P1 ( http://www.cnet.com/news/the-outer-limits-the-cowon-plenue-1-music-player/ ), which is at the same price point.

  6. ridiculous pricing, this thing costs as much as one month mortgage AND my monthly car payment

    1. yeah I could possibly take a year off of paying my cable/internet and take the money to buy this stupid thing….oooooor I can just put music on my phone and get the same experience and have it sound just a bit less “high quality”??

      1. Then it’s not the same experience………………..

        1. good point….I just cant get past the price. And to fill this up with high quality music cant possible be cheaper than buying a regular song. I’m sure you are going to have to dish out more. I’m guessing it will be like buying HD movies as compared to a regular SD movie.

          1. I play some lossless audio on my One M8 HK – with some music, it makes a big difference. With a better headset. But not really while jogging, driving, at the beach… Lol I think you get what I mean.

          2. maybe I can get my hands on a display model at best buy soon so i can really get a sense of how awesome it is then

          3. Any One M8 with s-off can get the full firmware mod and upgrade to the HK version. It’s pretty good, especially with a better app – I use Neutron Player. Great combo right there.

          4. better option than 1200 bucks??

          5. I don’t know – but – the One M8 HK will do 24-bit/192kHz audio. I think that’s overkill and then some, but it’s there for the taking and that is the top of the digital line.

            You can use any format. I actually use direct copies of the PCM tracks from some of my favorite CDs on mine – not because I have to but because I’m tired of transcoding music. My better music is either PCM (AIFF) or lossless (smaller files but transcoded as lossless) and then varying bitrates on AACs where a little compression doesn’t bother me. And with this option, I don’t sweat anything, just drag and drop to my phone to listen.

            Definitely hear the difference from the stock M8, it’s not even small.

            Even nine months later, the M8 is still kicking butt and taking names, great phone. Best Buy price on One M8 with contract update, $100. 128 GB micro sd card to store the extra-big lossless audio, $115 at Amazon right now. Neutron Player, Play Store, $6. Sunshine s-off, $25. Add taxes and shipping and activation. That leaves you around $900 for headphones – so – if your tastes and wallet run that rich, for example, anything in this class – http://www.amazon.com/HE-560-Full-Size-Magnetic-Headphones-Woodgrain/dp/B00K6JEYD4

            There – $1200 and with the Sony you haven’t bought headphones yet.

            But if price is no object and you can hear a difference, go for the Sony. :)

          6. I guarantee that with a good set of ‘phones you would hear a big difference between a HK M8 and this new Sony brick. Firmware will only get you so far without a high end DAC and amp. But yeah, the willingness to spend the extra scratch is the obvious issue. Apple proved long ago that the vast majority will take cheap and convenient sound over quality sound, and be perfectly happy doing so.

          7. Price is big in the demand curve, no question – and Micky D’s proved the same thing only with hamburgers. :D

            I hope the Sony is as you say it is – if it’s not, high end shoppers have choices. If it is that good, even better for those shoppers.

    2. Pretty sure Sony knows this device will have a nitche market. The average consumer won’t have a need for or a desire to pay for this device. If it was a couple hundred, maybe consumers would jump on. I still highly doubt it.

  7. It’s kind of odd marketing to use a brand associated with a low cost device on a high end one.

  8. Why do manufacturers install a Android version that is like 2 years old on new devices especially expensive ones?

    1. Cheaper and saves time.

  9. 1200 bucks? I want sapphire glass, the latest OS and I want it to print money.

  10. Lol what happened to Sony focusing on PlayStation? This is hideous, thick, running an old version of Android, awkward looking leather back and above all absurdly priced? It’s almost like an April fools joke.

    1. They do need to focus on PlayStation especially the PSN

  11. Oh the Sony walk-man, what nostalgia. I think I will just enjoy my new drinking device instead, http://www.thedranktank.com/product/the-drank-tank/

  12. Why so hung up on the OS version? It isn’t a phone or a video game playing device, all this thing is made to do is play high quality music, so as long as it can do that, it doesn’t matter what version of Android it’s running.

  13. “AND you have $1,200 that you just don’t have anything better to do with — then go nuts.” I have a huge problem with this line. Some people really like having their music sound great. Some people spend that much on a macbook air while you can get better for less. Some spend $900 on an iPhone or iPad. Some people like clean audio which is costly.

  14. what happened to usb headphones for hi-bit audio? this thing will fail worse than Firephone.

  15. Ah yes, let the uneducated masses comment on high-end audio gear. None of them can comprehend music sounding better than the 128kbps Nicki Minaj song they torrented being played from their phone’s speaker.

  16. Ces isn’t mainly phones that’s what MWC is for :)

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More in Featured