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Let me start by saying this. Sony sure knows how to build hardware, the NW-A105 feels great in the hand, very portable, not too heavy, not too light, just right! I'm no audiophile by any definition but I know enough to not be audio-fooled with snake-oil claims. Sure Sony limits the streaming audio format on this device to 16-Bit/44.1 kHz but that's just CD audio quality and that's good enough for me and my average human hearing. At the end of the day, you do notice the difference between the music played by this NW-A105 Walkman and your average smartphone. Also, I strongly believe this device was meant for those of us who like to listen to our own music files, carefully recorded and catalogued, hopefully in FLAC or another lossless music format. If you mostly stream music through Spotify or Tidal, it's probably best to look elsewhere, your phone will do for now until the battery problem is solved in future models.
It's only been a week or so since I've owned this device and I am quite enjoying the experience so far. After deliberating for days between the NW-A105 and the NW-A55 (got both to compare on a test run), I still went for the A105 as it provides Android functionality, Wifi and USB-C connectivity. On the battery life, yes the A55 leaves the A-105 in the dust, it's embarrasing! Having Android functionality also brings the issue of security and access to personal data since you need to use a google account to set up this device. I found a way around battery life though, as well as having to input a password every time I want to check the screen for some reason. I slapped on a wireless charging adapter in the back, which you can find for around C$15. If the battery is running low I just put the device in the wireless charging pad and problem solved, no need to connect to USB to charge and I still get to listen to music! To avoid using a password, I just "pin the app" so I can continue using the music player without having to input a password everytime I need to browse but you're limited to using the app you pinned (i.e. the music player), and can't use any other apps unless you put in the password again. This leads me to the point made earlier, I think this device was meant for those who just want to listen to music (specifically pre-recorded audio files), but with the bonus of having Wifi if you need to download firmware updates or another app to listen to music, occasionally browsing the internet, etc.
Sound quality and portability are perfect, with the android system which surely brings a lot of convenience, really getting tired of transferring music files through computer by cable.
My only complaint, same as other reviews, is the battery, yes, the battery life is…embarrassing somehow, if you play music via wifi, the battery will go down fast as hell. So what I usually do is listening the downloaded songs by switching to airplane mode, also turning on the battery saver fonction, this will help the battery life maintaining to a acceptable level.
Hope Sony can work on this and give some software optimization possibly, otherwise this is a real nice device!
I got this to replace my aging iPod and its associated issues. It sounded great, but product support being discontinued made the unit unstable. I had a walkman waay back, and liked it, but it got old too. So this year the 40th Anniversary walkman.... They talk of gold etching, soldering, etc. and tech stuff the average Joe knows little about, but I can tell you is that it is Fantastic right out of the box! Then there's the Dynamic features, equalizer and other sound enhancements that just create an awesome experience with each new feature you discover. Paired with a magnificent sounding pair of headphones I heard instruments and sounds I never knew existed in certain tracks. And to answer, No; I did not go and download all new stuff, at first I just transferred my iPod files right into it. Now having said this, the sound being great with an average mp3 file, when I downloaded a few new files I did so in FLAC and the sound was phenomenal. There is a difference as it turns out. I am thoroughly impressed with the battery life, the ease of use right out of the box, I don't think I had to check the manual once; and the sound quality; WOW! My iPod in the kitchen which was used every day so long as I was home has since been sent for recycling. I doubt that I would go back to anything but the Sony Walkman now that I have experienced their superior sound quality and dedication to portable, quality music. My first portable music device was a Walkman cassette player. Ate up batteries like crazy and I loved it. I think I have confirmed Sony Walkman will be may last as well as my first. I am not what you'd consider an audiophile, but I do appreciate great music and want to hear it in studio sound quality; the way the engineers and artists wanted you to hear it. Sony Walkman achieves this for me above and beyond.
This is a great, affordable price point dap for the average consumer. Good features, sounds great, and is a good size. If you don't like android don't buy it. To address concerns in other reviews:
Battery life: It's a small device with a small battery running on full android OS and 4gb of ram, so expectedly the battery isn't the greatest. When at home and streaming you can plug it in whenever needed. When not at home turn off connectivity functions (and close all apps that may be running in the background) and it'll get you through the day no problem, especially if you only listen for a couple hours here and there throughout the day, just turn it off when not in use. If you use bluetooth headphones you don't need a dedicated hi-res audio player, just use your phone or some other mp3 player since all bluetooth codecs to date are not capable of delivering true hi-res playback. I don't know why people complain about the battery life, just charge it when your done with it or turn it off when youre not using it, it's a dedicated music player, if youre scrolling through Instagram on it all day of course it won't last. When's the last time your phone went 2 days without charging?
Headphone amplifier power: The headphone amplifier is enough to power any level of consumer grade headphones. It's true that there may not be enough power to deal with audiophile grade high impedance headphones at high volumes, but if you're an audiophile with $2000 headphones why are you looking at an entry level $400 dap. If you have enough cash for the headphones go by a flagship model dap or at least shell out the extra couple of hundred for a mid-tier like the fiio m11.
Streaming sample rate of any app other than the sony player capped at 16 bit 44.1khz: With the latest firmware, the is an option within the settings to enable hi-res streaming. Which effectively removes the sample rate cap of other apps.
Product comes with Android 9 with pre installed sound boost apps like S Clear audio, Bass boost, Voice clear....etc. Sony's Walkman app tried almost to Poweramp.... Overall satisfied product with Complete metal body and compact engineering. Thanks to Sony.
I should have taken in consideration that the battery usage on this unit is terrible that is the only thing that I saw that wasn't to good ,the sound flawless ,but again the price for the battery problem if it's not worth it.
The battery life definitely is not the greatest but only if you're using wifi . If you have your own, perfect collection of music that is organized, this kills the iPod. Not sure how many persons need 64 GB of music on them at all times. I do.