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Look I'm going to start this by saying that this is NOT a device for everyone in my opinion. If you are not used to Android, you won't find the experience of this device enjoyable (unless you are willing to go through the customization and tweaks Android offers, which is to me is the fun part.) Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way: Battery. Android is a battery hog, it's always been, and it'll always be that way unless Google somehow can make more money off better batteries. If you are annoyed by having to charge your DAP at least once a day or so if you're a heavy user then this isn't your device. Hell, it may drain too fast for the average user, too! I personally use this on my hour long commute to work every morning for a week now, whether I'm playing offline Spotify tracks or straight up streaming through a hotspot...well...guess what my car has? A charger! Who would've thought! Sure it may not be an convenience for everyone, but it's an option for most nonetheless.
I get to work, and I use this pretty much all during all of my working day. Whether it's connected to my Bluetooth speaker, or my Sony MDR-1AM2 it sounds amazing! It drives my headphones better than my Pixel 3 does. If I lost a lot of juice during the day, no worries, I have like 2 Type C chargers in my office. Neat. By the time I leave work at 5 I can easily either charge it in the car or do so when I get home. Charging this device is not and will never be an issue for me.
Now, having Android 9 in the size and the weight of this device is an incredible feat. Good job on that, Sony. I've been wanting an affordable Android Sony DAP for a really long time and I'm so glad they finally delivered this little fella. This may not replace your high-end DAPs in terms of sound or functionality, but to me and to my kind of usage it is simply perfect. I wanted to give this 4 stars due to the lack of accessories, they could've easily included a case or something. Oh well. Not big of a deal. I just couldn't give it any less than five stars due to how convenient this been in my life in the last few days.
Spotify, Deezer HiFi, and FLAC all play smoothly and sound incredible on my headphones. I am not an Audiophile, so keep that in mind. I'll say this though, under the influence of the devil's grass this walkman has provided a very enjoyable experience and I believe it'll continue to prove that it's a worthy companion in my sweatpants or shirt pocket. Yeah. It's that small and light.
All in all, if you're familiar with Android, and you want a small, portable, dedicated device that will allow you to enjoy music without the distractions of your phone notifications, won't break the bank, and with such a customization interface then you should at least give it a week to test it and see how you feel about it.
Oh, I almost forgot, get a memory card, trust me. 16GB might as well be nonexistent whatsoever. Lol. Like come on Sony. Japan has a 32gb and 64gb models, but this one so far doesn't. I shoved a 256gb Samsung memory card and so far haven't had issues with it whatsoever.
I published this review on Kurt Cobain's birthday, and I've been using this Walkman all day to listen to Nirvana and Christian Death. Sometimes it's the small things in life that make the biggest difference on our lives.
Six months later update:
I had given this 5 stars originally, but I decided to update this and give it a 3 instead. Two problems: battery. Wow. This was not improved by the updates whatsoever. It only got worse. It just became very annoying.
Also, Spotify takes FOREVER to load from the memory card. And I do mean forever. Whether I'm trying to load an artist or a playlist. Often than not I'd have to restart the device to be able to get Spotify to work properly and it doesn't work for long before I have to do it again. I like this device, don't get me wrong, but I expected to get my money's worth and I simply didn't. This DAP definitely needs to be babied.
Very disappointed in this Sony. I lose 1% battery life during boot! I lose 18-20% listening with bluetooth headphones and no wifi in 1 hour. This is worse than widely reported (and almost everyone else says it's poor) but maybe my unit is defective. I disabled virtually every app and service that can be disabled safely and it helps very slightly. Also I get intermittent skipping on music stored on the player. I will have to return this device unfortunately, and hope Sony fixes this in the future. Although it sounds good and is an attractive player, I cannot recommend it as the battery life is unacceptable.
Am unsure as yet but my present comments being; I was unaware of the extensive presence of Google, as a result there is considerably more space etc taken up by Google rather than a simple Walkman, I am disappointed that my Music which I have transferred to the Walkman by Sim card does not appear to allow consecutive 'tracks' to be played without having to re-open the device and then move to the next track by hand, again, each time that occurs I have to re - open the device, the device 'times-out' very quickly.