Great sound with an insane price tag
At the Sony booth at CES 2015 we had a chance to test out the Walkman NW-ZX2 as well as Sony's new PHA-1A headphone DAC/amplifier combination that were all announced at Sony's press conference. To say this is just another music player is more than an exaggeration — this device is a beast.
The device that Sony calls a music player feels like picking up a chunk of metal. The NW-ZX2 is heavy and feels extremely solid, so if you were to accidentally drop it all you would need to worry about is some possible scratches unless you were able to destroy the display. The reason for all of that weight is the high quality DAC inside that allows this device to output high quality audio at 192 kHz/24 bit with no compression at all.
Down the right side of the Walkman are your power button, volume buttons, media buttons that allow you to pause and skip forward and backward, and a lanyard hole so that you are sure you do not drop your $1119.99 music player. On the bottom of the device you will find the microSD card slot, a docking port (that looks to be a proprietary charger) that also doubles as the port that the amp plugs into, and your gold plated 3.5mm headphone jack.
The unit I tried out was plugged into the Sony PHA-1A headphone DAC/amplifier so that I would have the absolute best idea of how Sony designed the NW-ZX2 to sound. As one who loves listening to good quality music but not at the audiophile level, I have to say it sounded amazing but I did not find a reasoning for all the extra hardware and high quality media. I would recommend testing one out to hear the quality, but with such a large price tag it seems like too much of an investment to listen to your favorite songs with no audio compression.
The most questionable aspect of the Walkman NW-ZX2 is the fact that it is running Android 4.2 Jelly Bean. We couldn't find a reason for the device to run a 2 year old version of Android but it has full Google Play certification so you can download your favorite apps to it. Not only is this the heaviest music player I have ever used but when paired with the amp it makes the whole system lose its portability since the amp needs its own power source. If you want the very best in audio quality than this would be a great device to look into getting but if you are one who listens to music on your morning jog or on your way into work, this is not made for you.