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Sony's New Walkman: MP3 Player, Headphones, and Speakers in One

Illustration for article titled Sonys New Walkman: MP3 Player, Headphones, and Speakers in One

In its quest to keep the legendary Walkman brand relevant in the post-iPod world, Sony has taken to creating some odd and neat, if niche gadgets, like the one-piece waterproof Walkman. Now, here's another stab at the same concept retooled for the hip commuter crowd.


Like the exercise versions before them, the NWZ-WH505 and NWZ-WH303 are 16 GB/ 4 GB music player built-into headphones. This time the headphones are the big over-ear variety: The 505s have bass-friendly 40mm drivers whereas the 303s have 30mm drivers. Both of the Walkmans can also switch to a speaker mode so that they'll play outloud hanging from your neck. No word on pricing or availability, but don't be surprised if they're cheaper than you'd think. The waterproof ones only cost $100, and Sony headphone hardware tends to the affordable side of the spectrum.


Now, the headphones, which morph into speakers idea has been tried before to some pretty disappointing results, so this product might be a bust. Nevermind, that it's not clear you need built-in storage in your headphones—if you don't want wires, Bluetooth is available. But it's still interesting to see how Sony evolves the Walkman to fit with the times. These days, it's not the personal audio player that has cachet, but the headphones. And Sony, as I pointed out last week, has quite a history with headphones. Here's a Walkman for our times. Will anybody listen? [Sony via SlashGear]

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Kind of a cool gadget. However, with only 4 or 16gb, and no mentioned dongle or bluetooth connection to a smart app to manage your playlist, this is competing more with the iPod Shuffle than a more full-featured iPod. As much as I want to see the Sony Walkman make a glorious return, it seems more advantageous to have a set of stereo bluetooth headphones and a smartphone with a music app.