CNET First Look
Sony's ZX2 is luxurious and priceyThe Sony Walkman ZX2 is a luxury portable player with Android streaming apps, a premium build and excellent sound -- but its incredibly high price may be too much for some.
It's been a long time since the name Walkman was used to describe a portable music player and the [UNKNOWN]. But Sony has spent the last 15 years to try to revive it. While Sony has tried competing against the iPod, the new ZX2 is the first high-end player to hit US shores and it's going for smaller fry. Namely Apple and Kern and Hifi man. This is a luxurious built and luxuriously priced Walkman at $1199. And it builds on what Sony has learned from its budget players and its experience with the Anroid Operating System. The player holds 128 gigabytes of music with an additional micro-sd port. And it will play back most file types, including Apple Lossless and DSD. The build quality is what you're mostly buying here with a weighty feel in the hand and nice, big, thick buttons that are wisely indented to prevent being pushed in your pocket. Something the Pono player could learn from. This is not a phone, there's no sim card. But it does have wi-fi. And so, it's already a step above it's competitors. Because it allows users to sample the future of music listening, hi-fi streaming. From services such as Tidal. If you've used an Android phone before, the ZXT will be very familiar. Even if Sony has tried, almost unsuccessfully, to make it not look like a phone. Most apps will work, though, surprisingly, third-party music players have been somehow deliberately or accidentally gimped to not play high res files. Either way, Sony wants you to use its own in-built player. Sound quality is the other part of the price equation, and as you'd expect, it sounds very good, with [INAUDIBLE] of detail and bass weight. Plus it has a great sound stage for a portable. It's a cut above cheaper devices like the Pono player and Sony's own A17 Walkman. Is it worth $1200 though? It certainly feels like an expensive device, and the ability to load streaming apps is a great bonus. Battery life at an expected 33 hours of high res playback beats the Pono player by a factor of four. If you're looking at a high end media player and want something more flexible than the audio only competitors at the price, then the Sony is definitely worth an audition. This has been Ty Pendelbrief for CNet.com. [MUSIC]