Gadgets

Sony's new Android-powered NW-A306 Walkman features lightweight design, Hi-Res wireless audio and long battery life


Sony has launched a new portable player with Android onboard, and it’s not too expensive either.


Sony has unveiled a new portable music player, and unlike some of its recent Walkman models, this one isn’t hideously expensive. It’s designed to be portable, convenient and not cost a huge amount, plus it has great battery life.


The latest Walkman – the NW-A306 – is built from a solid piece of milled aluminium and features both a 3.6-inch touchscreen and a selection of physical buttons for controlling the interface and audio. Plus, it weighs just 113 grams, so a lot less than your smartphone.

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A lot of focus went into ensuring it can produce clear music with reduced noise and distortion, enabled by Sony’s S-Master HX digital amp tech. Even the solder used to combine materials and components internally was chosen specifically for its effect on sound quality, at least, according to Sony.

On the smarts side, it also uses an AI-powered DSEE Ultimate sound engine which can upscale compressed audio to make it a higher-quality file. This algorithm – according to Sony – can “restore acoustic subtleties and dynamic range” to files, and offers enhancements even for “CD-quality” 16-bit lossless codec audio.

As with any dedicated Hi-Res audio player, you get support for a number of audio codecs. Those include MP3, WMA, FLAC, AAC, DSD, AIFF and Apple Lossless. And because it’s an Android 12-based media player, you can install popular music streaming apps from the Play Store, and use the highest available resolution audio from those services.

Sony Walkman NW-A306 media player resting on a felt surface with Sony earbuds and a watch.
Sony

How much battery life you get very much depends on how you use the mini player. Using the stereo audio jack with wired headphones you can get up to 36 hours of playback with 96kHz/24-bit FLAC files. Push the bitrate up, and it understandably takes a bit more battery. Using it wirelessly using Bluetooth in ‘Transmitter Mode’ shortens that down to between 18-26 hours depending on whether you’re using a popular streaming app, or playing an offline local file.

It will be available to buy soon, costing £349 in the UK, or €399 in Europe, in both black and blue colours.



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