Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Review
High resolution audio hasn’t quite found its place in the world yet. Whether the demand is there is one thing, but one of its main obstacles is probably the high price of music and the lack of price diversity in equipment. So it’s good to see Sony bring its latest Walkman out with all the Hi-Res capabilities but with a reasonable price-tag to match.
The Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 is an entry-level music devise and we were kindly given one by Sony to put it to the test. Read on for our review of the latest Sony Walkman.
It should be said that for around £150, we genuinely didn’t expect too much in the way of features, and the NWZ-A15 doesn’t disappoint in that sense. There’s no wi-fi, and no apps. That means no Spotify streaming too. While on paper not shocking, this actually might be a big problem. If you’re not in the market for spending too much on a device, chances are you’ll not be interested in spending too much on Hi-Res music either.
The Walkman is limited to FM radio and Bluetooth, as well as Near-Field Communication (NFC). Having said ‘limited’, most speaker docks do come Bluetooth enabled these days so it shouldn’t be too much of an issue and wasn’t one for us.
The screen is 2.2 inches and 320 x 240 pixels, and only functions as a display offering, unsurprisingly, no touchscreen capabilities. The Walkman is controlled by a diamond-shaped directional pad which has a ‘Play’/’Pause’ button in its centre. Simple.
The ‘Back’ and ‘Option’ keys are located at the bottom of the screen and the volume keys and a ‘lock’ switch are on the right edge of the device. There’s a 3.5mm headphone socket, and a proprietary port for data and USB charging on the bottom of the Walkman. Finally, there’s a hoop so you can thread a lanyard or an equivalent through your new NWZ-A15.
The aesthetic of the Sony Walkman certainly won’t be winning any awards and it’s clear that Sony spent more time of the functionality as opposed to the look.
But it is noticeably small and will easily fit snuggly in your pocket. Sony claims the A15 is the world’s smallest and lightest high-resolution music player, which doesn’t require too much of a stretch to imagine. The Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 measures in at 109mm x 43.6mm x 8.8mm and weighs only 66g.
The Walkman is functional in use too. Loading is very quick and the menu is extremely easy to navigate. Loading music onto the Walkman is also as easy as it gets with a simple a drag and drop on your computer. The device is 16GB as standard but you can insert a microSD card for extra storage.
Performance-wise, the NWZ-A15 is as good as you could it expect. And we don’t say that as a slight. The extra texture is noticeable, the tonal balance is on point, and there are no issues with the frequency range. It produces a sound which is perfect for Joes who want to see what High-Res Audio is all about without having to commit to a marriage with it.
The music playback screen gives you plenty of options to play with the sound too. At the most basic level, there are standard EQ settings. There’s also the ‘ClearAudio+’ option which automatically widens the stereo image and dynamics. The more exotic settings include ‘Dance Mode’ which lets you raise and lower the tempo to suit your rave speed, and a ‘Karaoke Mode’ which cuts down the vocals. These are limited to non-high-res tracks, unfortunately.
Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 Review Verdict
For what it is, we think the Sony Walkman NWZ-A15 is worth the £150. If you’re wanting to dip your toes into the world of High-Res audio, we wholeheartedly recommend it. But the problem here is most consumers who truly care for the higher quality in sound will be wanting more and therefore will be willing to pay more, which in turn might make the NWZ-A15 a little redundant.