Sony Launches Thinnest Hi-Res Audio Player, Four Bluetooth Headsets


Just in time for IFA, Sony has announced a slew of audio products for both home and mobile audio connoisseurs. The company continues its march into the Bluetooth space, launching four wireless headphones covering a variety of needs. Sony also debuted a few audiophile-grade products that are just as pretty to look at as listen to.

High-Res Audio Gets Slim

One of the more intriguing announcements is the 27-ounce, 1.3 x 4.25 x 0.87-inch Walkman NZW-A17, which Sony is billing as the world’s smallest and lightest high-resolution audio player.

Set to launch sometime in September, the 64GB aluminum player has the ability to play the usual MP3, WMA, AAC, AIFF, WAV files but adds the better-than-CD-quality ALAC and FLAC to the mix.

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The device also features DSEE HX technology, which can upgrade compressed MP3 to near high-res quality. The NZW-A17 is equipped with NFC technology for quick, easy pairing and can last up to 30 hours playing high-res tracks and 50 hours on MP3. If its 64GB on internal storage isn’t enough, the NZW-A17 can accommodate up to a 64GB microSD card.  

However, it’d be a waste to have that high-quality audio without some equally powerful headphones.  Sony delivers with the audiophile-grade MDR-1A Hi-Res Headphones. Sporting 40mm drivers and aluminum-coated Liquid Crystal Polymer Film diaphragms, the MDR-1As promise clear, well-balanced audio.

Available in early September, both the NZW-A17 and MDR-1A Hi-Res headphones are priced at $299.99.

Sony Cuts the Cord

It appears that Sony is going on a cord-cutting frenzy, launching four sets of Bluetooth headphones.  For active users, the company offers Walkman NWZ-WS613 and the MDR-AS800BT Active Sports Bluetooth Headset.

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The NWZ-WS613 is a pair of headphones and an MP3 player in one. The waterproof earbuds wrap around the back of your head, creating a snug, comfortable fit. Fitness buffs have two ways to listen to music: stream via Bluetooth or listen to music loaded directly to the device. The NFC-enabled buds also come with a ring-shaped remote that you can slip on your finger as you go about your workout. 

The MDR-AS800BT is also geared towards exercise-minded consumers, but isn't as hardy as the NWZ-WS613. The MDR is splashproof instead of waterproof with earbuds that can be worn traditionally, but can be flipped over to take advantage of the stabilizers which ensure a more secure fit.

Bass junkies looking for a healthy dose of thump might want to check out the MDR-XB950BT Extra Bass Bluetooth Headset. Equipped with 40mm drivers, the XB950BTs feature Sony’s Electro Bass Booster function, which will add more punch to the lows in any track. Listeners can expect approximately 20 hours of battery life.

Those searching for a little peace and quiet have the MDR-ZX550BN Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headset. According to Sony, the over-ear headphones can filter out up to 90 percent of ambient noise. The company estimates that the headphones can last up to 29 hours with the active noise-cancelling enabled, 25 hours disabled. 

The MDR-XB950BT Extra Bass Bluetooth Headset and the MDR-AS800BT Active Sports Bluetooth Headset will be available in mid-September for $199.99 and $149.99 respectively. The MDR-ZX550BN Bluetooth Noise Canceling Headset will ship towards the end of September for $129.99 while the Walkman NWZ-WS613 with Bluetooth will launch in October for $159.99

Sherri L. Smith

Sherri L. Smith has been cranking out product reviews for since 2011. In that time, she's reviewed more than her share of laptops, tablets, smartphones and everything in between. The resident gamer and audio junkie, Sherri was previously a managing editor for Black Web 2.0 and contributed to BET.Com and Popgadget.