Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
From an X-series owner
on 20 March 2013
I'm a Walkman MP3 fan. History is an A818 then a A829 then an X1050. Each model has improved as I have bought them. The X is still excellent but when I saw the Z was now available, the niggling thought that there was something better available got the better of me and I purchased. 16Gb is fine for me and the Z1050R was a great price.
I post this review as more of a warning to X-Series owners possibly thinking along the same lines as I did. "A, Z must be better than a X. Surely?". I'm gutted to report that if you buy the Z for playing music the answer is a solid no.
What is a Z? It's Sony using the screen from a phone and the Android operating system. A smartphone without the phone - a smart.
Build quality. The X is a purpose built MP3 player. It's build quality is outstanding - OLED screen, metal push buttons and carbon styling. The Z is a B...I...G screen in an aluminium case with small moulded slim buttons. In a droptest fight, I would suggest the X would suffer much less damage. In a game of conkers, the X wins too.
Sound quality. The X is a purpose built MP3 player. It was built to play music well and it does. The Z is a phone that has been stripped down and then had software installed to turn it into a Walkman. I could well be wrong but I doubt the Z has extra hardware for audio. According to the specs, the Z seems to share the audio technology of the X. But why then, when I select exactly the same options on both devices, do they not sound alike? It'll be down to preference but for me the X is the winner by some margin.
Video quality. The X is a purpose built MP3 player. It was built with the ability to play video but alas - it is too small. The Z to me is the opposite, it's a very good video player with the ability to play MP3's.
Practicality. The X was built with easy of access in mind. Quick access buttons on the surrounds that are easy to feel. Once playing I can operate the X with a single touch without looking at it. The Z...pick up the big device, find the Walkman button which is under the fleshy part of your thumb if you're right handed, press it once if you are wanting to pause, twice if you want to play , then press the screen to play/pause. Hideous, in a word.
Music selection on the X is ok. Slide up and down the screen to find the album, in alphabetical order, you want to listen to then press on it. Job done. On the Z press the power button at the top, unlock the device, select music player, slide through the pretty looking jumbled but alphabetical album covers. It works but again it's easier on the X.
Both the X and Z have been synchronised using Windows from the same source but while the X's library is correctly authored, the Z is all over the shop. Tracks in the wrong order, artists all shown as 'Unknown'. Can't figure out where the error lies but this problem has been around for years...
Battery life. The X is a purpose built MP3 player. It uses it's battery to play music and run the clock. The Z has so much more to deal with such as powering that 1GHz CPU. Whilst my X doesn't last the 30 hours it used to when new, it stills lasts > twice as long as the Z.
I've lived with the Z for 5 weeks but I'm disappointed to be now selling it. I wanted a new Walkman to be at least as good as the X in the music department which it just isn't for me. After those 5 weeks, I got my X back out (which was still fully charged!) for a listen and I haven't listened to the Z since. I'm back in the practical with great sound, world.
I'm still awarding it 3 stars because if you are someone who is looking for an Android device with multimedia purposes in mind and you don't already have a decent smartphone, then the Z is an excellent option. Great video quality if you take the time to get it formatted correctly. Good audio quality which can be made better using Poweramp off the Android marketplace (if you can be bothered to set it up). Access to the android marketplace it order to turn your Z into a whatever you like. It is a good device if it suits your needs. If, like me, you were looking for a great MP3 player, as the Z is marketed as, I advise looking elsewhere sorry (in my case - the top draw).