IFA 2016 - Sony's Portable Audio Lineup

September 25, 2016

IFA held in Berlin is always a great place to find breaking news on the latest in consumer electronics. This year didn't disappoint. In this article, let's focus on Sony, which launched a whole slew of portable audio products. Sony President and CEO, Kazuo Hirai was there to talk about the company's latest developments.
Sony NW-WM1A Walkman

What's So Special?
Sony introduced a 6 new products in its portable audio range (I must emphasize 'portable') - 2 players, 1 headphone and 3 wireless in-ears. All support Sony's LDAC codec, which promise a high quality sound over Bluetooth. Let's check out the unique features of each.
Sony MDR-1000X

Players -
1. NW-WM1Z / NW-WM1A Walkman
Sony NW-WM1Z Walkman
Sony introduces a new Signature Series flagship line of products for audio purists of which the WM1Z, with a gold-plated copper chassis and black WM1A are a part of. Sized at 73 x 124 x 20mm, both are capable of High-Resolution Audio. 
Sony NW-WM1A Walkman

They support Sony's LDAC codec for wireless high quality sound over Bluetooth (no news on aptX though) and come with a microSD slot to add more music if needed. There's Sony's DSEE HX audio upscaling technology to digitally enhance the sound quality. Wanna know the price? Read on. Your eyes may just pop.

WM1Z (gold) specs - 455g / 256GB / 33h MP3 playback
WM1A (black) specs - 267g / 128GB / 33h MP3 playback  

You can now purchase the NW-WM1Z on Amazon for USD 3,199. 
Sony NW-WM1A Walkman buttons

2. NW-A30 Walkman
Sony NW-A36HN Walkman - Red
For something more affordable, the NW-A30 series slots in nicely with the Sony's h.ear lineup with 5 sprightly colors.

NW-A35 specs - 98g / 16GB / 45h MP3 playback
NW-A36HN specs - 98g / 32GB / 45h MP3 playback / includes noise-canceling (NC) in-ears 

Headphones -
3. MDR-1000X (Wireless over-ears)
Sony MDR-1000X - Beige

The noise canceling headphone category is really spicing up with the Bose QC35, Plantronics BackBeat PRO+ and Sennheiser PXC 550 having been released recently. Sony's offering is the MDR-1000X, weighs 275g and looks pretty darn good.
Sony MDR-1000X - Beige
The MDR-1000X is an over-ears headphones and a High Resolution Audio device that supports the LDAC codec (yes, it's compatible with the WM1 series). Its most interesting feature is its 'Quick Attention' mode where you place a palm over the earcup to allow a conversation to take place. It sports touch controls and you can activate ambient sound mode to stay aware of your surroundings while listening. Available in Beige / Black.

Specs - 275g / 20h (NC on) and 22h (NC off) playback

You can now purchase the MDR-1000X Beige or Black from Amazon at USD 399.
Sony MDR-1000X - Black Casing

Wireless In-Ears
4. MDR-XB80BS (Sports Clip-ons)

These are of the clip-on variety, similar to the Beats Powerbeats3 Wireless. They are washable, have an extra-bass mode, come in three colors and when connected by Bluetooth, can stream music with Sony's LDAC codec.

Specs - 27g / 7 hours playback / IPX5 rated / 12mm dynamic drivers

You can now purchase the MDR-XB80BS Black / Red / Blue from Amazon at USD 149.
Sony MDR-XB80BS - Red, Black, Blue

5. MDR-XB50BS (Sports Wireless)
These are straightforward Bluetooth in-ears with arc supporters to insert in the ear to minimize dislodgement. They also have an extra-bass mode and come in Red / Blue / Black.
Specs - 22g / 8.5 hours playback / IPX4 rated / 12mm dynamic drivers

You can now purchase the MDR-XB50BS Black / Red / Blue from Amazon at USD 79.

6. MDR-XB70BT (Neckband)
Sony MDR-XB70BT - Red
The XB70BT are neckband earphones, a category popularized by LG TONE, that come in 3 colors.
Specs - 43g / 9 hours playback / 12mm dynamic drivers

You can now purchase the MDR-XB70BT Black from Amazon at USD 99.

They will all be slated to be available in Singapore in October to November 2016. If you want to get any of the products earlier, do click on the links above to purchase from Amazon.
Sony MDR-XB70BT - Red

We are checking on Singapore pricing. If it is the same as last year, this will be released closer to the launch date. For the moment, here are the expected prices worldwide.

The pricing is as follows: 
(Use landscape mode on mobile to view)
ProductRetail Price
NW-WM1Z WalkmanUSD 3199
NW-WM1A WalkmanEUR 1200
NW-A35 WalkmanAUD 349
NW-A36HN Walkman (with NC in-ears)AUD 449
MDR-1000X headphones (NC)USD 399
MDR-XB80BS sports in-earUSD 149
MDR-XB50BS sports in-earUSD 79
MDR-XB70BT in-earUSD 99

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