Sony is capitalizing on a love of all things old with its new Walkman, more than 40 years after the original cassette version went on sale.
The Walkman NW-A306 gives users access to the Internet so they can download music and stream from services including Spotify and YouTube.
It has a 3.6 inch touch screen as well as physical controls on the side so users can change the volume or switch tracks without having to take it out of their pocket.
But the new device costs £349 – more than some smartphones on the market – and can’t make calls or send texts.
Sony has launched its new Walkman (right), more than 40 years after the original cassette version (left) first went on sale
The Walkman NW-A306 gives users access to the Internet so they can download music and stream from services including Spotify and YouTube
Sony TPS-L2 (2023)
price: 349 pounds sterling
appearance: Streaming and file storage
Dimensions: 2.2″ (W) x 3.8″ (H) x 0.4″ (D)
Weight: 113 grams
battery life: 36 hours
Color options: blue and black
The NW-A306 runs on Android and gives access to some essential apps, including important music apps and the Google Chrome browser.
It comes to market 44 years after Sony released its first Walkman, the TPS-L2, which went on sale in Japan on July 1, 1979.
Sony says of the new device: “Enjoy high-quality sound from the stylish and compact music player that lets you download and stream more of the music you love.”
With full Wi-Fi compatibility, a long-lasting battery, and a sleek, stylish design, you can play and find new music wherever you want.
In addition to being able to access the Internet, the new “sleek and compact” player connects to a computer, so users can transfer music from computer to device the old-fashioned way, too, using the USB-C cable included in the box.
The NW-A306 also uses AI (Artificial Intelligence) to “upscale” compressed digital music files to a higher quality.
Physical controls on the side mean users can change the volume or switch tracks without having to take it out of their pocket
The NW-A306 also uses AI (artificial intelligence) to ‘upscale’ compressed digital music files to higher quality
The blue and silver metal-cased Walkman TPS-L2, the world’s first low-cost personal cassette player, went on sale in Japan in July 1979, selling for approximately ¥33,000 (US$150).
Sony TPS-L2 (1979)
price: 33,000 JPY ($150 USD)
Dimensions: 3.5″ (W) x 5.9″ (H) x 1.3″ (D)
battery life: 8 hours (with two AA’s)
Color option: blue / silver
Sony claims that this is a device for true audiophiles as it offers a level of sound quality not found in most flagship smartphones.
Now, smartphone makers are focusing more on cameras and image quality, often ignoring audio.
The sound quality also largely depends on the accompanying headphones that the owner chooses.
Sony’s new Walkman doesn’t come with headphones, though the company does offer a range of compatible wireless and headband options.
The NW-A306 has up to 36 hours of battery life, runs Android 12 and comes in two colours, blue and black.
It also keeps retro fans happy by keeping the headphone port, which is quickly becoming a rare feature.
Smartphone makers, including Apple and Samsung, have been phasing out the headphone port in favor of wireless headphones that connect via Bluetooth.
Sony’s new Walkman doesn’t come with headphones, though the company does offer a range of compatible wireless speakers, earphones, and headphones.
The NW-A306 also has up to 36 hours of battery life, runs Android 12 and comes in two colors, blue and black.
Sony already has a list of several Walkman products on its website, including some that only provide music file transfers and don’t offer Internet access — so no music streaming.
Those offering music streaming have some pretty impressive price tags, including one at £3,299.
At £349, Sony claims the NW-A306 is affordable, although many smartphones with more features are around the same price.
Sony’s new device comes on the heels of Apple’s announcement last year that it would discontinue the iPod, the company’s series of portable media players.
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The Retro Pod app turns your iPhone into an iPod – including the classic scroll wheel
The iPod, first launched 22 years ago, remains one of Apple’s most successful products, revolutionizing the way we listen to music.
And while the product was discontinued last year, app creators are now trying to find ways to make sure we can still access the iPod home screen when we’re feeling nostalgic.
An app called Retro Pod, available in the App Store, turns the iPhone screen into the iPod Classic home page, with four options appearing on the home screen—Shuffle, Music, Settings, and Now Playing.
It even has the classic scroll wheel, with touch functionality generated by haptic feedback, so you feel bumpy as you scroll through your music options.
The catch is that it just works for Those who use Apple Music, not other streaming services like Spotify.