What’s the point of having a dedicated music player?
The rise and popularity of smartphones in the last decade has almost put dedicated music players completely out of business. The convenience of having all the functions you would need in multiple gadgets in just one was very appealing, compelling, and efficient. This is even evident with the business of Apple as there is much less focus on their iPod line-up these days. Heck, we can’t even remember the last keynote that featured an iPod prominently.
When gadgets try to do everything, they end up usually doing everything in a mediocre way. That’s actually very true for smartphones, especially when it comes to the sound quality department. You lose out on better sound because the built-in amplifiers and sound cards of smartphones have been greatly compromised to lower cost and reduce the physical footprint on the internal hardware. This is why there are now external portable amplifier products that really make a difference in sound quality.
The quality becomes doubly questionable when you start streaming it via apps like Spotify. You already have an inferior audio player (your smartphone) and now you stream low resolution audio via the Internet. On top of that you’re probably using Apple’s crappy earphones. Believe us when we say that you’re missing out on a lot of things. You’re actually not hearing the songs the way your favorite artist envisioned them to be.
Enter the Sony NWZ-A15
To people who passionately love music to a fault, a dedicated music player is a must. This is where the Sony NWZ-A15 comes in. Players like these can play high resolution audio files (AAC FLAC, etc) while having superior digital to analogue converters (it’s what translates the digital info to actual sound). Over-all result? You get to really hear the finer details of your favorite songs. It’s music-tripping on a whole new level.
In terms of sound quality, the NWZ-A15 delivers great pace and rhythm. You can really get fantastic inner definition and details especially if paired with a good quality headphone. Over-all sound you get is more towards neutral and clear tones as well.
When it comes to power output, the NWZ-A15 has no problems with IEMs or easy-to-drive headphones. While it can still power the more hard-to-drive cans, it doesn’t do it effectively. You’ll need to pair it with an external amplifier if you want it to shine. This is actually okay by us considering the price tag of the Sony NWZ-A15.
Elegantly Built and Easy to Use
Sony put a lot of effort into refining the hardware design of the NWZ-A15. Unlike your usual portable audiophile gear that look like bricks of metal strapped together by tape, this one is smaller than most smartphones at just 44 x 109 x 9mm. It’s really easy to slip in and out of your pocket and your bag (leaves a very small footprint). It’s also very light at 66g. You’ll probably forget that it’s in your pocket if you don’t deliberately look for it.
The premium feel carries on to the steel casing with the LED display. The body itself is superb with the physical buttons at the front being very responsive and easy to use. The downside here though is the display. Resolution isn’t that high so don’t expect album art to come out stunning.
User experience on the software side is intuitive and easy to figure out. You don’t need a manual to figure this one out. Just connect it to your computer, transfer your songs, and then turn on the player. It will then build the library and it’s easy to navigate via artists, albums, songs, etc.
Great audio output. Premium and slim casing. Superb user interface. Oh and the battery life of this bad boy easily reaches up to 30-40 hours. Wapak!
All the Bells and Whistles
Sony made an effort to keep this device for the modern-day music lover. It has bluetooth connectivity for those who prefer to listen to their songs without wires (which means it’s great for exercise as well as you can use it for running or while in the gym). They also added in NFC so that it’s easier to pair with the myriad of Bluetooth devices that you would want it to talk to.
When it comes to storage, the Sony NWZ-A15 just has 16GB of it. To remedy that you can easily slip in a microSD card so that you have more storage space. This is critical because if you decide to go for FLAC audio files, the sizes per file will easily skyrocket.
Perhaps our major concern with it right now is that they use a proprietary cable for charging and data transfer. It’s not your usual micro USB that you use with smartphones and tablets. Best to not lose the wire or you’ll need to buy a new one from Sony (we haven’t checked the price yet).
Verdict: Solid Buy for Music Lovers
Priced competitively at Php8,990, the Sony NWZ-A15 is a great buy for passionate music lovers. It’s also good for the more hardcore audiophiles but they’ll probably spend more on additional stuff like an external amplifier since they’ll be using more power-hungry and demanding headphones. For the average non-techie, the bottom line is that you will end up getting a much better music tripping experience than you would get with your smartphone.
We highly recommend this product but since to hear is to believe, we suggest you guys go to a Sony concept store (they have several already in malls) and give this a listen. Compare it closely with the sound quality that you get with your smartphone. We’re confident that this will deliver! 🙂
The Sony NWZ-A15 is now available at various Sony stores and distributors with an SRP of Php8,990.