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HEADPHONES ON

Sony’s souped-up Walkman costs a cool $1,200

The first Walkman.
Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon
Groovy.
By Zach Wener-Fligner

2014-15 Fellow. Quartz Things team.

This article is more than 2 years old.

The Sony Walkman is back.

This is not the same CD deck you had back in middle school. The new Walkman ZX2, announced this week at CES 2015, is a $1,200 Android device targeted at audiophiles. It’s an upgrade to the similar Walkman ZX1, released last year—it currently sells online for $590.

The ZX2 will come equipped with a 128GB drive and boasts an impressive 60-hour battery life. Though it can be loaded with any Android apps, its explicit focus, and the driver of the high price, is audio. The amplifier on the device, known as the S-Master HX, is designed especially for high-definition audio—a term that describes the amount of information in a digital audio file.

Some argue that the boost provided by high-definition audio isn’t actually perceivable. But the debate, like that of vinyl versus digital audio, is ongoing. Sony is hoping to attract those who feel that current audio is shortchanging them on sound quality—perhaps the same people who are driving the recent boom in vinyl sales.

If those folks are willing to pay handsomely for the difference (real or imagined) in sound, the ZX2, available this spring, might do well. Early reviews coming from CES seem to be positive. Here’s a Youtube review, with views of the product, from Ross Miller of The Verge:

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