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Sony Walkman Nw-zx2 128gb Mp3 Player Hi-res

Rating:
4.5/5,
  1. Aeneas
    Worthy flagship with excellent battery life
    Written by Aeneas
    Published Mar 3, 2016
    4.0/5,
    Pros - Battery Life, Audio Quality, Android OS, Build Quality, Hardware Design, microSD slot
    Cons - Android 4.2, Screen Lacks Oleophobic coating, Proprietary connector (WM-Port), Volume cap (only EU versions)
    Value
    As a Walkman, this made it to the mainstream press – something the overpriced Astell & Kern devices will never manage. Pricing was typically mentioned as a con. However, when you compare this to Astell & Kern devices, it represents good value, especially outside the EU, where prices tend be higher. There are also several other competitors on the market now. I've tried the FiiO X7 for a couple and found it disappointing, especially the battery, and it restarted several times for no obvious reason. 
     
    Audio Quality
    Clean, with great detail, separation, and soundstage. Slightly dark. To me, it beats both the FiiO X7 and the AK120. Most of these differences are quite easily heard when compared to a lesser device, like my S6 Edge smartphone, but the step down (in my opinion) to the FiiO X7 is not so big. 
     
    There is a system-wide equalizer with the option of adding Sony's special effects. DSEE HX is supposed to restore dynamic range and ClearAudio+ makes makes low quality recordings sound better, apparently. My music isn't low quality so, I don't use these adjustments, 
     

    There is considerable talk in the device thread about using a balanced cable with TRRS. I haven't tried this, so I will not comment. Some are calling it a significant upgrade. Others are sceptical.
     
    Design
    Very good, all round. It looks expensive, according to people who didn't know what it was.
    It's heavier than a smartphone but also smaller than newer 5"+ Android flagships. It feels substantial rather than bulky.
    The pebbled leather back is a premium touch that looks and feels nice, even though I'm not always keen on this. I liked this about the better BlackBerry devices, but not on last year's LG G4.
    I also wish the screen had an oleophobic coating like most phones, and would have preferred a microUSB port instead of the proprietary WM-Port.
     
    Battery Life
    Fantastic! Far better than any comparable device. It lasts several days, using a mixture of Spotify (online and offline) and hi-res FLAC files.
    The one downside is that battery life does some to drain away when idle, so flight mode (etc.) are helpful. Additionally, there are various battery-saving apps you can use, because it's Android OS. 
     
    User Interface
    Android in general is a positive, as you can install your own apps. However, for a flagship device to remain on Android 4.2 is disappointing. It won't bother many, but I don't like the unchangeable cyan coloured icons and text in the notification bar.
     
    I'm also not very impressed with the stock music/Walkman app, which is simplistic in views and sorting options. I wish I could album artist and composer, for example. 

      Richter Di and Shini44 like this.
    1. gidion27
      Truly love the design of the Sony Walkmans. This one is just amazing looking:)
      gidion27, Mar 3, 2016
    2. proedros
      proedros, Mar 3, 2016
  2. piksnz
    ZX2 is a great match for AK240 at a much less cost
    Written by piksnz
    Published Mar 3, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - Excellent sound and build quality. Pure Android Experience, Allows 3rd party streaming services like Spotify, Google play music, Great battery life
    Cons - Android OS issues (Google play services eating battery life), Price
    Comparison review:
    [​IMG]
     
    Detailed video review of ZX2 player. 
     
    [​IMG]
     
    This is a quick unboxing and review of the player. More detailed review coming soon.
     
    [​IMG] 
    1. View previous replies...
    2. GreenBow
      Given the three choices it's hard to evaluate since the Hugo is not a player. However best bang for buck can be rethought. Buy a cheap Sony player and pair it with the Hugo.
       
      Since you say you're not a rock fan, but I am, I can still empathise with that. A fair amount of rock is rubbish, some is good on the surface but closer listening and it gets weak. Then there are good rock bands. Try listening to some Rush. Either Moving Pictures, or preferably Time Stand Still: The Collection (compilation album),  which is power packed and harmonically pleasant.
      GreenBow, Jun 4, 2015
    3. seanwee
      HOLY **** so expensive!!!!!!!!!!
       
      would rate it very low in value
      seanwee, Aug 2, 2015
    4. Jeff Y
      @seanwee how does high price = low value?
      Jeff Y, Aug 2, 2015
  3. Whitigir
    Top of Sony audio quality at a good price
    Written by Whitigir
    Published Oct 23, 2015
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Tonality Realism excellent, immersive staging experiences, superb battery life. Android OS
    Cons - Android OS
    Be Advised that this review was observed during the ZX2 sound enhencement disabled. Please read on to find out more.

    IMG_4908.jpg


    I have bought this ZX2 for about a year, and would like to share my experiences with everybody. I came to the audio world a long time ago by Sony Walkman tape, and now I am back to it as Sony had decided to comeback into the Walkman again :D. Zx2 is the current flagship from Sony. I had and always been chasing for the ultimate realistic and detailed experiences from my music collections. I enjoy variety of music as in instrumentals, classicals, jazz, pop, electric, soft rock....etc....only except hip-hop and hard metal rock.
    IMG_4902.jpg

    The sound signature over all is warmer but balanced, musical, thicker tonal body, realistic feel of instruments tonal body, spacious, immersive, and beautiful. The best of all is the emotions that the notes carry with it across the whole spectrum. The playtime can last for days to me as I listen to music at the least 2 hours a day. You will also read that I keep mentioning the "Tonal body density". Because this is the best of ZX2 :wink: and as a music lover, whose quest is to look for realistic instrument playbacks and on a balanced flat scale, I love it ! It is totally phenomenal. The most obvious observation is the drum beats and the strings play :D, then brass and the rest
    IMG_4910.jpg

    Soundstage: it is excellent, wide, good accuracy of instruments placement. There are some instances that I can feel the sound close in from the further left then gets behind me and fade away to the further right.

    Sound field: immersive, it is just like surround sound but with more intimacy. It is like 360 sound field around me, totally projected me into the track. Sometimes I feel like myself being on the stage beside the singer, while hearing the singer clearly, all of the instruments are layered around me from the back to the side and in the front. The feeling is like I could turn head and see somebody is playing that guitar, or flute.
    IMG_4912.jpg

    Bass: quality bass with the blend and balance of everything from sub bass, mid bass, and extension surprisingly together with the thick density of a tonality. This density of tonal body applied and presents well in all instruments and across the spectrums...everywhere, but mostly easily observed with drums hits and strings play. Yes, every players can play out quality, fast, balanced, detailed bass, but can it play this well in the tonal body density ? ZX2 is excellent in this department alone and is unique. This density get as phenomenal as that a power and weigh applied behind each beats and plays by the artist could be felt or observed. Ultimate and realistic instruments plays experiences.
    IMG_4914.jpg

    Mid: beautifully blended, and balanced for the result of accurately and well presenting of instruments from various kind of the same category. It gets so accurate that the soundstage and 3rd dimensional of the player is breath taking and oh so addictive. Good senses of spaces, separations and placements are beautifully presented. The density is again in play here, very accurate density that in some songs when there is duets, and rare instant they do sync with each other very well and blended that without having the good density of the vocal body in each tone to be well played out....the audience gets confused easily as of who and which one is singing. Not with the ZX2, even each singer will carry their own distinctive vocal density within their voice, uniquely presented and can easily be picked a part. Especially the string instruments and it played behaviors. It never had been easier to pick apart the Violin, gourd, Guzheng, guitar, electric guitar. Every each of them carry a unique and distinctively differences within their tonal body and plays. Beautiful.

    Highs: good clarity, good details, but thick and smooth which results into an intimacy and being loved feeling. It is not cold, thin, lonely or harsh feeling. It is a feeling of being loved, while each beats and tones are being played out very throughly and presenting. When was the last time you hear the differences of power applied and emotions behind each cymbals hits ? Like CCCCHHHHHIIIIITTTTT....ccchhhiiittt....ccchhhiiiittt.....CCCCCHHHHHIIIIITTTT. It will be uniquely be presenting here :D
    IMG_4917.jpg

    The thick body density of the ZX2 is it forte, and due to this the ZX2 feels warmer, intimate, lushy, musical....and top of all being realistic. But due to this nature, any gears with warmer signature will bring in even more warmth and lush feeling. How would you like to enjoy your music ? Luckily I am easily forgiving, and sometime can even be very picky. I do enjoy both ways

    Pairing with brighter gears for better details, and analytical feeling but yet smooth, soothing, and energetic. I picked MDR SA5000 modded it and I listen to it throughout the day for the best experiences of details and organic, realistic experiences
    Pairing with MDR Z7 (warmer, lushy, wet by nature) during the night with a glass of wine or couple beers before going to bed to intimately feel being loved, soothed, relaxed, and get ready to bed...sometimes I even sleep with it in the bed for a short time but had to wake up to put it away.
    IMG_4919.jpg

    After a year of ZX2 ownership, I have found something very interesting. Nothing is without flaws, and so is the ZX2. I thought the random bass distortion was the Sony weakness, and the weak and less trebles energetic ? Perhap it is in stock form, together with not so good seperation....there is a way to fix it and ultimately bring out the best of ZX2 :wink:. Please read in to find out more.

    Sony nowadays in order to promote their marketing technologies, they would have to let common folks hear the changes and differences between each of their own sound enhencements such as Clear Audio Plus, DSEE HX, surround sound. They had to gimp down the overall quality by their native app "Sound adjustment" to allow these changes. Ironically the best tonal body density can only be carried out accurately and correctly by the Native Stock player app. Please click on the link below to find out more why, and why should you not disable it.

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/742609/sony-nw-zx2-hi-end-dap/8295#post_12001421

    The best way to enjoy ZX2 is with stock music app, but sound enhencement disabled, and with TRRS connection. Please do never tick the option of "Dynamic Normalizer" it will present even if sound adjustment app is disabled, and will heavily ruin the sound. When using ZX2 with the enhencement app there, even without using any option in it, the ZX2 capability is heavily reduced, especially the airy and the energy of the trebles end.

    To the owners of ZX2. If you never had used TRRS connection, or disabled the sound adjustment app ? Please do so, and realize the unique and differences experiences the ZX2 can bring

    I will post picture when I get home :D. Please enjoy, and pm any question you may have

    IMG_4922.jpg

    Another found upgrade and solution to improve Zx2 performance even further

    http://www.head-fi.org/t/742609/sony-nw-zx2-hi-end-dap/10140#post_12260275
    1. View previous replies...
    2. proedros
      the TRRS is indeed a big improvement
      proedros, Nov 17, 2015
    3. Whitigir
      Android OS on ZX2 is of older 4.2 version, and Sony doesn't bother to update it over a year of release yet. Also android OS drains a lot of battery as it run a lot of junks in the back ground, such as animations, and other stuff. You need to disable all those to get a better battery life.
      Whitigir, Nov 18, 2015
    4. Richter Di
      Thank you so much for your review and the tip with the poweramp Alpha. Any thoughts regarding the current alpha-build-703 versus the version you linked above? Thanks.
      Richter Di, Feb 18, 2017