Sony Walkman Z1050: Walkman Enters The Android Era (Review)

Sony enters the fight of the Android-based media players, and its new weapon, named Walkman Z, is quite a remarkable device.

The Sony NWZ-Z1050 has as main features a 4.3-inch touchscreen with 800 x 480-pixel resolution, is running the 2.3.4 version of the Android operating system, 16 GB internal memory and a handful of technologies designed to provide the highest audio experience. The 1 GHz Tegra 2 processor along with the 1 GB RAM, ensures the fact that most applications in Android Market will run smoothly.

Walkman Z draws your eye from the first moment thanks to its great design, more successful than in many high-end smartphones. Its glossy yet aggressive facade and sharp edges is contrasted by the back metal, polished in an eccentric purple tint.

The case may seem a bit big for a user with small hands, but this is the price paid for a large display. On the other hand its weight of only 156 grams is more than acceptable.

In terms of connectivity, we can say that is well set, the gadget featuring Wi-Fi, DLNA, Bluetooth and micro-HDMI, in addition to the GPS receiver included by Sony for using Google Maps.

A problem can be considered the lack of a card slot, the internal memory being unable to be expanded.

Software

Sony Walkman Z is an Android device, which means that you will have access to thousands of games and applications from Google’s Android Market. After installing some of the most popular games, such as Angry Birds or Riptide, we can say that they are running smoothly, providing a similar experience to the one seen on smartphones.

However, Sony has customized the interface quite seriously, focusing on quick access to multimedia applications, audio player, video and FM radio. You can access the audio playback widget even when the player is locked by pressing the W.control key.

Z can be used successfully as a mobile device for web browsing too. The native Android browser copes seamlessly with most sites, while options such as Opera or Dolphin can be downloaded from the Market.

In addition to the in-ear headphones included in the package, Sony’s player offers a wide range of audio technologies meant to improve playback, such as S-Master MX or Clear Audio (VPT, Clear Stereo, Clear Bass, Clear Phase, Dynamic Normaliser, DSEE). A strong enough external xLOUD speaker deals with audio playback when headphones are not connected.

In terms of sound we don’t have much to reproach, the NWZ-Z1050 model being one of the best gadgets of this type tested so far.

Supported audio formats are MP3, WMA, Linear PCM and AAC-LC, excluding some of the lossless formats, quite popular among audiophiles though. The player also provides access to the Music Unlimited service, which has a huge database of tracks.

Another interesting aspect is the ability to sort any music collection thanks to the SenseMe function, the selection being made based on 14 thematic channels suitable to the time of day or the mood of the listener.

Device’s autonomy reaches about 5 hours for video playback and about 22 hours for audio.

The new player Sony Walkman Z1050, with 16GB storage capacity will be available starting from this month.

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