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Hands-on Sony Walkman NW-WM1Z Review: The €3300 MP3 player

We play with Sony’s super-premium gold-plated MP3 player, the new Signature series Sony Walkman NW-WM1Z. Is this in-your-face media machine really worth the 3300 Euro asking price? Here’s our hands-on NW-WM1Z review from IFA 2016.

You possibly haven’t owned an MP3 player in a while, and given the cost of Sony’s new Signature series Walkman, you most likely won’t ever slip one of these bad boys in your pocket. But we can all dream, and the Walkman NW-WM1Z really is a desirable media monster, pumping out incredible audio and packing all kinds of impressive features.

For a start, that gold-plated design is absolutely stunning, sure to turn all of the heads on the bus (although chances are the kind of people who can afford the Signature Walkman will have a chauffeur-driven limo). The shiny surfaces and sharp angles look great, and we doubt the NW-WM1Z will crack under pressure.

However, this is one seriously chunky MP3 player too, and heavy as hell. If you slip it into a trouser pocket, you’ll need a belt to keep your pants from slamming to the ground.

A 4-inch touchscreen takes up much of the front panel, offering slick, responsive controls for browsing your music library. You can filter on everything down to year of release, or simply have the Walkman shuffle your tracks. Album art is displayed in all of its crisp, colourful glory.

If you prefer proper physical controls, the right edge houses chunky, easy-to-find buttons for pausing, skipping tracks, changing volume and so on. On the other edge you get a handy lock button to shut off the touch controls, ready to chuck the player into a bag.

A mighty 230GB of usable built-in storage space means you can load up the Sony NW-WM1Z with thousands of Hi-Res audio albums. You can even expand that space with a microSD memory card, if you want to carry even more.

Audio quality is, as you’d imagine, absolutely marvellous. You get DSD Native playback at 11.2MHz and S-Master HX digital amplifier for Hi-Res audio, which adds up to supremely crisp, realistic playback. It’s a cliche of course, but you really do feel like you’re in the room with your favourite band, listening to them jam.

If you can’t afford the mammoth asking price, you can scale back to the Sony Walkman NW-WM1A. This slightly more sane player costs ‘just’ 1200 Euros and is made from aluminium instead.

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