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Old 29-01-2012, 12:01 AM   #1
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The Sony Walkman Z Resource Thread (first impressions + reviews)




Main Specifications:

Nvidia Tegra 2 dual-core 1GHz, 512mb ram
Android™ Version 2.3
4.3-inch (10.9 cm WVGA Display
)
MP3, WMA*1, AAC*2, Linear PCM
AVC (H.264/AVC), MPEG-4, WMV 9 *1 *3
WM-Port Lineout
Hi-Speed USB (USB 2.0 compliant) / HDMI micro
IEEE 802.11b/g/n
Bluetooth specification version 2.1+EDR
FM Radio
S-Master MX, DSEE (On/Off), 5-Band equaliser (None/Heavy/Pop/Jazz/Unique/Custom 1/Custom 2 & Clear Bass, VPT(None/Studio/Live/Club/Arena/Matrix), Clear Stereo (On/Off), SP Output Optimiser (Clear Phase) (On/Off), Dynamic Normaliser (On/Off)
Battery Life approx. 20 hours
Available in 16GB, 32GB, 64GB
156g
Introduction

Being a cowon user for about 3 years, it is finally time for me to jump the wagon to the latest sony walkman flagship series. Some of you might be wondering why i decided to go for the sony Z instead when the recently released cowon Z2 which has a micro SD slot + lossless file support + better video support format at a cheaper price. I will explain it as part of my review which should be up in a couple of days. As stated in the specs, battery life is indeed average for an android player which is simillar to the cowon Z2. There is a price to pay for high technology so I will definitely miss the J3's superior battery life.

The Sony NW-Z will not be available in Singapore for the time being and the 16gb and 32gb series are only to be released in the US in mid march. We can safely expect the Z series to reach here few months afterwards.

I took the plunge and went straight for the 64GB (NW-1070) walkman to replace my existing cowon j3. Placed my order on the 22th Jan and received my item 6 days later.


A tested and proven method to purchase the Walkman Z online

**Japan practices an open market system which means their prices for electronics are never fixed! I bought my 64GB for only 32000 YEN (~528SGD) a week ago. The price has skyrocketed at this point of writing so i suggest you guys to wait until it falls to below 34000 YEN.
Please be a responsible buyer by doing a currency conversion before purchasing.

Estimated Average Price: 16GB (380SGD), 32GB(460SGD), 64GB(540SGD)
Shipping: 50SGD

It is still cheaper than US retail and definitely Singapore (the walkman Z 32GB was priced exorbitantly at 600+)


*Important** Items needed: google chrome, seperate tab for google translator (in case the in built translator fails to operate), calculator

1) Register a free account at tenso.com (Japanese forwarding service). Do spend some time reading their usage guide. You will receive your japanese address.

**From this point onwards, all japanese pages should be auto translated to english via the inbuilt google chrome. Keep refreshing if the chrome does not promt you for the translation.

2) Register an account at amazon.co.jp
- Your shipping address should be the given japanese address.
- Edit/delete payment --> add your credit card details -->billing address should be your sg address.
- Under options --> account settings --> manage your address book. There should be 2 addresses of yours.


3) At amazon.jp, search for "Sony Walkman Z"
- Choose your retailer wisely.. I based mine on highest ratings + lowest price.
- Add to shopping cart and blabla.. the rest is pretty self explanatory.


4) The retailer should state their approx delivery time. Mine took 2 working days to ship to the japan address.


5) Tenso will email you once they receive your item. Follow their idiotproof instructions. Shipping will be via UPS (50SGD inclusive of service charges) instead of EMS as japan does not allow shipping of lithium battery items.

6) Immediately make payment to tenso so they could ship the item asap. Mine took only 1 working day for the package to arrive !

Note: You could use other external japanese merchant sites but a risk is involved as most of them are quite user unfriendly and google translator might have some problems with the translation.

Price comparison with the Cowon Z2

The cowon Z2 is the walkman Z's closest competitor.

Price is an estimation inclusive of shipping. The price for cowon's shipping should linger in around $25 region while the walkman's price is based on the lower median.

Cowon Z2: exportprive.com
Walkman NW-Z1000: Amazon.jp

16GB(cowon/walkman)
408SGD/430SGD

32GB (cowon/walkman)
457SGD/510SGD
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Last edited by BloodAddict; 03-02-2012 at 02:19 PM..
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Old 29-01-2012, 12:01 AM   #2
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Initial Impressions (Part 1)

When i first held the walkman Z, i was immediately silenced by its built quality. It is the most solid pmp device ive ever hold up to date. It puts shame to the samsung galaxy series while making the cowon feel like a plastic toy. This dual core device is HUGE with a screen size of the galaxy s2 with a design similar to the xperia arc S. The walkman Z is very smooth to play with and handles apps just like any other android devices. No problems with wireless connectivity and the poweramp plays lossless files flawlessly. More of the UI will be uncovered in my review in a couple of days time.

I will start out with the unboxing

Most of my pictures are not in focus so ive to edit them a little haha.

Package was well protected by bubble wraps


A premium 'feel' to its packaging unlike the other walkman series.


Sony MDR-EX300SL. I will do a short review on them if anyone is interested for the matter.


The walkman Z is indeed huge


Size comparison to the piano keys


Charging


Edited:


The sony audio features are only accessible to the default app. Poweramp has their own sound enchancements and provides more control over the audio spectrum. The app is worth the money and plays your FLAC as stated.

However, the Walkman Z performs quite well by default so you dont really need the enhancements if paired with a good IEM. There is definitely a difference in audio quality produced with the NW-Z1000 when compared to the J3 (both on neutral settings).

The NW-Z1000 wins the cowon j3 in almost every department (touch responsiveness, multiple playlists, UI, customizations and etc) . Anyways I think it is very unfair to compare the walkman with a 2nd gen cowon.

The only feature that i miss from my j3 is its play support button at the side of the player. The walkman only has one external dedicated button to bring up a mini control bar which is only accessible from the screen. As with previous walkmans, the sony too is equipped with a volume control button.

I would very much like to review it against the Z2. Maybe someone would be kind enough to loan me a set (kidding). Still i expect the sony to run faster since the cowon is only equipped with 256mb of ram.

For the next few weeks, I will be running the walkman with westone's ES5s and heir audio's 8.A. I do not have any high impedance headphones to include in this setup so im afraid that i cant comment much on this area.

I will talk more about this in my upcoming review although it wont be up anytime soon. Feel free to ask any questions in the mean time!

Last edited by BloodAddict; 29-01-2012 at 07:52 PM..
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Old 29-01-2012, 12:02 AM   #3
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Design and Build Quality

Reference devices: Cowon J3, Samsung Galaxy sII, Ipod Touch 3G

The NWZ-1000 sports a 4.3" screen which makes it one of the biggest portable media player around. If you are contented by the photos posted online , well im sad to say that a picture isn't worth a thousand words when it comes to this walkman series. It's design is one the best ive come across and it looks even more fantastic up closed. It is a reminiscent of the xperia arc s and the samsung galaxy s2 . The NWZ-1000 of a simillar size to the galaxy s and it's very pocketable for a normal fitting pocket.

Only the right part of the device is equipped with the buttons and ports. There is a hdmi port, a dedicated volume control and sony's unique 'on-the-go' button. Unlike the cowon j3, the walkman does not have a play/pause/fwd button and this is the only flaw ive found in the design especially after being a cowon user for at least 3 years. Sony's answer to this is its 'on-the-go' button which brings up a mini player controller which is only accessible from the screen. The headphone jack is located at the bottom of the walkman and next to it is a dedicated lineout which is an excellent feature for audiophiles with their amp setups; a feature that ive longing for the cowon to come out with. The rear end of the player is of a matt finish and there's only a speaker and a reset hole which I never bother trying out.

The walkman is about 30g heavier than the samsung galaxy s2 which is one of the reasons why the player feels like a brick. Its weight ~156g may be an added advantage or disadvantage depending on what you're seeking for.

It's rear form factor is similar to sony's very own xperia arc. The bottom front of the player is embroided with a 'back, home and settings' touchscreen button.

I dont know what is it made of but the NW-Z1000 feels really really solid and elegant in your hands. It certainly feels expensive and is of a much better build than the galaxy series while making the cowon feel inferior in contrast. The ipod touch feels more solid than the cowon and samsung but is nowhere close to the walkman. The device is a fingerprint magnet though but somehow it is less evident than the cowon and obviously the fingerprone ipod touch.

I've received 100% positive feedbacks from my many friends who've held the walkman. The design and build is already enough for them to justify the costly price of this player.


User Interface

Reference devices: Cowon J3, Samsung Galaxy sII, Ipod Touch 3G

The NW-Z1000 interface is based entirely on the android 2.3 gingerbread. I will not touch on the android part as it is vastly covered in youtube. Minor annyoing quirks include; having to swipe back to adjust volume via the controller and device locks itself once the screen times out. Apparently these are quite apparent in android devices and it may take some time getting used to.

Although the 64gb is only exclusive to japan, Sony has included the english language in its settings menu which is only a button away during your first android startup. The first blow to the walkman would be its startup time. It averages to about 20 seconds which is much longer than the reference devices stated above. It will only take a quarter of the time if sony had not included its fancy walkman animations at the start. Shutting down takes about 10 seconds with no animations in this regard. Those are the major quirks.. you should start smiling from the next sentence onwards

Sony has gone the right way with the nvidia tegra dual core + 512mb in the walkman Z. The touchscreen UI is superbly fast! My walkman Z is on 3/4 load (~40gb occupied) and scrolling is a breeze with songs and album arts instantaneously being uploaded. It takes less than 5 seconds for 40GB worth of songs to be updated in your library after a transfer's been done. The cowon is fast but lags when with 3rd party interface or when capacity is heavily loaded.

A click of the power button will function as a lock for the device, hold it for more than 2 seconds and it will prompt you to shutdown/airplane mode. Unlocking the device would be in a swipe fashion and it is fast and snappy such that it shows no delays in between the swipes.

Picture/Video interface are android based and you might want to demo the galaxy s2 for a similar experience. Pictures are loaded in a blink of an eye and zooming is done in a pinching motion which is the same as apple products. File/folder browser is possible but is only accessible from the 'photo viewer' or 'video player' app meaning there is no root directory unlike the cowon where you can access via a 'My Computer' folder.

There are many more bonus features (e.g flicking to switch songs, wifi checker, DLNA) to be explored in the UI but i'll leave that to you.

There are two stock players for the walkman Z; 'music' and 'w.music'. I dont know why sony came up with two but the only difference are its interface and the fact that sony's sound enchancement can only be accessed via the w.music (more on that on my part 2 review). Music interface is much snappy and more user friendly than the cowon.

Now the complication starts here. The 'music' player supports multiple playlists on the go but the 'w music' doesnt. In fact, the latter will only be able to load playlist that is been created on your PC. I am sure that Sony wanted its 'w music' player to be its point of attention (due to the sound enhancements and eqs) but why is it that the 'on-the-go' multiple playlist option is only available in its other inferior player?

Well i highly recommend you the poweramp app which is indeed an excellent substitute for the 2 stock players. It has a wonderful interface and handles lossless and flac files in a breeze. Of course bugs are existent but they're minor and shouldnt be affecting your listening experience. High end IEM/headphone users with 320kbps/lossless will have nothing to lose as sony's sound enhancement only affects greatly on poorly decoded tracks and average earphones.

There are probably bugs that i didnt noticed but ive spotted nothing so far that could ruin your listening and browsing experience. Unlike my past few years of experience with the cowon, the walkman Z-1000 does not require any tweaking to its interface as it is simply fantastic by default, probably the best ive seen from any audio geared portable player.

This completes my first half of the review. It will take a while to get the second half done as i still have the westone and heir audio customs to play around with

Feel free to ask any questions in the mean time.

EDITED: Unfortunately i wont be able to make an in depth review on the audio section as my schedule is really tight. I would say that this is one of the better audio players out there surpassing the likes of cowon j3 and zune (yes I am bold enough to confirm this). Well i see people trying to compare the walkman Z with the DX100 despite the large price difference and technical capabilities and hence i see this as a compliment to the walkman franchise.. I cant recall anyone trying to pit the ipod/cowon/other mainstream players against a high grade audiophile player

I am currently working on my 'Westone ES5 vs Heir Audio 8.A' review anyway!

Last edited by BloodAddict; 16-03-2012 at 11:54 PM..
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Old 29-01-2012, 02:00 AM   #4
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walkman z can fit into pockets? interested to get but got phobia of buying from overseas
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Old 29-01-2012, 03:12 AM   #5
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i guess its pureply japaeses menu no english?
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Old 29-01-2012, 05:59 AM   #6
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i guess its pureply japaeses menu no english?
Language can be changed to english. I did my research first :p
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Old 29-01-2012, 08:26 AM   #7
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hmm...not using micro usb?

the plug looks big..
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Old 29-01-2012, 09:01 AM   #8
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^ it shld be using WM-port if i am not wrong
but using micro usb port will be another plus point
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Old 29-01-2012, 10:02 AM   #9
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The MDR-EX300SL is not worth the review. To sum things up, the 'premium' stock earphones provide very high sibilance and a fatiguing listening experience after a few minutes.

Btw, sony audio features are only accessible to the default app. Poweramp has their own sound enchancements and provides more control over the audio spectrum. The app is worth the $6 and plays your FLAC as stated.

However, the Walkman Z performs quite well by default so you dont really need the enhancements if paired with a good IEM. There is definitely a difference in audio quality produced with the NW-Z1000 when compared to the J3 (both on neutral settings).

I will talk more about this in my upcoming review although it wont be up anytime soon. Feel free to ask any questions in the mean time!

Last edited by BloodAddict; 29-01-2012 at 10:24 AM..
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Old 29-01-2012, 12:15 PM   #10
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Is the audio difference btw j3 for better or worse?
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Old 29-01-2012, 01:16 PM   #11
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No matter how many time I see, that is a damn sexy device... sorry, but I'm lazy to do research... Cowon Z2 can last around 22 hours, but how long can Sony Z series last?

I'm looking to buy a new MP3 as well, now aiming for the J3

EDIT: Will you be buying those other music app like poweramp to try as well? Or just the stock music player?

Last edited by aerolord; 29-01-2012 at 01:20 PM..
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Old 29-01-2012, 01:49 PM   #12
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looks good
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Old 29-01-2012, 02:20 PM   #13
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Looks sleek and nice... Let me know if you can do FLAC files thru apps as per my question thru PM to you.
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Old 29-01-2012, 02:28 PM   #14
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Is the audio difference btw j3 for better or worse?
It is too early to say this but i find the NW-Z1000 SQ to be better than the J3 but the differences are marginal. So current cowon users have nothing much to lose. I can elaborate more but do give me some time

No matter how many time I see, that is a damn sexy device... sorry, but I'm lazy to do research... Cowon Z2 can last around 22 hours, but how long can Sony Z series last?

I'm looking to buy a new MP3 as well, now aiming for the J3

EDIT: Will you be buying those other music app like poweramp to try as well? Or just the stock music player?
I am using the poweramp trial which will last for 2 weeks. The Sony Z's battery lasts for 20 hours as stated

looks good
Feels better in your hands

Looks sleek and nice... Let me know if you can do FLAC files thru apps as per my question thru PM to you.
70% of my library is in FLAC and the poweramp is able to play the files without any problems. However, i am considering to convert them to 320kbps CBR instead as i cant tell the differences between the two
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Old 29-01-2012, 03:13 PM   #15
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How are the playlists management wise? Compared to J3?
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