The new Sony Walkman is just water-resistant earbuds with storage

The Walkman brand is too powerful to let go, but now it’s aimed at a niche market.

May 15, 2017

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The Walkman brand is too powerful to let go, but now it’s aimed at a niche market.

The new Walkman has either 4GB or 16GB of built-in storage and a separate Bluetooth remote.

The Walkman brand has been good to Sony over the years. It was launched as the original portable cassette tape player, but today, Sony is using the brand for a line of dedicated media players, which itself seems almost as antiquated as the original Walkman in the age of the smartphone. Dedicated MP3 players still have a place, nonetheless, especially among hardcore music fans.

Sony's latest Walkman players are the NW-WS623 and NW-WS625. They are essentially headphones with the option of 4GB or 16GB of built-in storage that sell for $148 or $198, respectively. These new devices are meant for athletics, with a water-resistance rating of IPX5/8 and a dust-resistance rating of IP6X.

While the headphones are compact, they have a premium price for a dedicated media player in 2017. They don't skimp on features, however. They include NFC and Bluetooth, and come with a water-resistant Bluetooth remote. They also include a microphone for ambient sounds, allowing people to let noise in if they have to be aware of their surroundings. Sony says these new Walkman players will last 12 hours on a full charge and a three-minute charge will get users 60 minutes of playback.

Walkman players are certainly going after a niche base these days, but even a smartly designed media player can survive in 2017. Walkman brand awareness might also be seeing an uptick recently, thanks to the role the cassette player has in Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy movies. The sequel just opened in theaters and even gives a shout out of Microsoft's failed Zune endeavor, which was never able to make a dent in iPod sales. If anyone can make dedicated media players cool again, Chris Pratt can.

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