Sony NWZ-A15 Walkman is a super-cute portable high-res music player (hands-on)

Sony has announced a couple of new Walkmans to its portfolio, including one that it claims is the world's smallest and lightest portable player.

The NWZ-A15 Walkman has come along way in terms of design since the first Walkman was introduced all those years ago and this new model looks great.

It's small rectangular shape reminds us a little of the older Apple iPod nano but instead of the round control dial Apple iPods are associated with, Sony opts for a diamond shape, which works really well.

There is a circular play/pause button in the centre of the diamond shape and the shape is made up of four buttons that do exactly what you would expect them to.

Right takes you to the next track, left takes you back to the beginning of the song, hitting the top button will bring you to up through the songs and albums you have on board and pressing down will take you down the songs.

If you press and hold the up or down buttons, it will fly through the songs too so if the tune you want to listen to is right at the bottom or right at the top, it is really easy to find.

Under the display and above the diamond control, you'll also find Back and Option buttons to change a few of the settings or get you back to where you were, plus the Option button doubles up as the power button and if you want to adjust the volume, you will find the rocker on the right hand side like a smartphone.

We loved the design of the NWZ-A15 Walkman. It is slim, light and the metal finish offers a really premium look that will no doubt help this device compete with Apple's iPods. The interface was really fluid too, responding seamlessly to the controls.

But it's no good having a lovely design if the sound is rubbish and luckily, Sony has put a lot of thought into that too. Under the hood, there is a S-Master HX digital amplifier for high-res, as well as the same DSEE HX technology that Sony introduced to its latest Xperia Z3 products to convert low-res audio files to near high-res.

We had a brief listen using the new MDR-1A high-res 40mm HD driver unit headphones and despite a conference hall not being ideal conditions, the sound was brilliant. We will of course test the headphones and the walkman properly in our full review but our impressions so far are good.

The NWZ-A15 Walkman features both NFC and Bluetooth so you can pair it to other NFC-enabled devices easily and use Bluetooth headphones if you want to. There is a headphone jack and micro USB charging port on board too, as well as a microSD port to expand the 16GB internal storage capacity.

The Sony NWZ-A15 Walkman is a really lovely product and one that will undoubtedly capture the attention of those that want a separate device for their music but don't want to go down the Apple route. We were big fans and are really looking forward to putting this device through its paces.



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