Date
23 October 2017
With its bulk and solid aluminium casing, the Sony XZ1 is the antithesis of the sleek iPod and all previous Walkmans. Photo: Head-fi
With its bulk and solid aluminium casing, the Sony XZ1 is the antithesis of the sleek iPod and all previous Walkmans. Photo: Head-fi

Remember the Walkman? It’s here again, bulkier and costlier

Before everything else, there was the Sony Walkman — or more precisely, before Apple reinvented the music business. 

Die-hard Walkman fans will tell you the portable video-cassette player started it all and Apple simply latched on to the idea.

That’s easy to understand given that in the hard-charging technology sphere, everybody copies — and improves on — everybody else.

But the latest iteration of the Walkman, 35 year after its debut, is revolutionary in its own right.

While the original analog player heralded the age of mass-market, portable music, the new US$700 Walkman is aimed at premium buyers thanks to technological advances that are helping more audio-on-the go users head upscale, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In many ways, the Sony ZX1 is the opposite of Apple Inc.’s sleek iPod and all previous Walkmans. Its heavy, bulky body houses 128 gigabytes of storage for ultra-high-quality music files.

Each ZX1 is manually carved from a block of aluminum, which helps reduce noise.

Unlike many earlier Sony attempts at high-end consumer electronics, the ZX1 is doing well in Japan, selling out out after hitting Japanese stores in December.

Since February, it has made its debut in Europe and other parts of Asia, although its launch date in the United States has yet to be announced.

Is the new Walkman going to be a game changer?

Probably not, but it’s an excuse for ageing believers to feel nostalgic about the 1980s and for younger fans to try something they’ve known only in name.

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RA

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