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Tech review: Sony NW-A35 Walkman

LiveMint logoLiveMint 09-05-2017 Vishal Mathur

It looks utilitarian. That is because the “Loop Surface” design with the curved left and right spines and the chopped top and bottom sides adorns the NW-A35 Walkman (Rs15,990). It isn’t the thinnest portable media player you will ever come across, but despite the form factor, it’s compact and easy to hold.

The basic specifications include a 3.1-inch touch display, 16 GB internal storage with a memory card slot, Bluetooth and near field communication (NFC) streaming and a gamut of high-resolution audio-playback hardware. What it doesn’t have is a smart operating system (OS) such as Android; it runs a proprietary OS. Navigating this piece of software is not quite smooth sailing. The home screen lists all the options—albums, songs, playlists, a dedicated button for high-res files. There isn’t any way to move these around.

A bunch of sound-tweak options are available, but the one that makes the maximum difference to most music tracks is the ClearAudio+ feature. It widens the sound and improves clarity. In some lower-quality audio files, however, there is a distinct loss of some detailing if this feature is turned on. Much of the sound experience will depend on the headphones or speakers you use, but the hardware itself processes music to sound neutral—it does not add bass, for instance.

Battery life is quite good—about 30 hours for high-res music files, depending on volume, and about 40 hours for standard MP3 tracks.

In a nutshell, buy this only if you are serious about downloading and listening to genuinely good-quality music, because lower-quality files will not get the best out of the Walkman. The ease with which you can connect the Walkman to a PC and drop files is a reminder of simpler times. But the lack of a smart OS such as Android means that you will not be able to access to your music on streaming services such as Apple Music and Saavn—that could be a limitation for some users.

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