Sony NW A306 review

So, it’s almost two weeks since I put my hands on Sony NW A306 Walkman. Is it worth getting it?

— The Good —

It is a solid, well built, extremely handy player. All the required buttons are available on the side, that is: Power On/Off, Hold, Volume Up, Volume Down, Next, Prev, Play/Pause. It means you can easily control the music flow with the screen turned off. This is something I hate with the phones – no easy way to skip a track.

External SD slot gives you a huge boost when it comes to memory for songs. In my case it accepted 512 GB microSD. Note that not all microSD formats are accepted, it depends on microSD standard; make sure to refer to the manual before purchasing microSD card. 512 GB is a storage you will probably find hard to fill up. People complain that half of the initial memory is consumed by the Android. But, let’s be serious, who will stick to internal memory as a main source of the storage. I bet most of the people go with something huge – after all, this is a HiFi Walkman that support FLAC, ALAC, and other lossless codecs. I guess you aim at 0.5 GB per album anyways.

I have read people complained about low output. I am not an expert here, but contrary to people who complained about that, this was the biggest asset of this player. It can play at so low levels that you can barely notice the music (levels ~10), 60 something is probably more than enough when it comes to volume level, and maximum is really loud. At least for me. I am not speaking for others, but for me, 60 is already extremely loud. Anyways, with this barely noticeable levels around 5-10 you get this comfort of having quiet music that doesn’t interfere with whatever you do, like reading a book.

The size of the Walkman makes it really handy. It can easily go into your pocket.

— The Bad —

Battery. What I don’t like about this device is that it drains power even on idle. If you leave it turned on at the table for a night, half of the power is gone. On the other hand, turning it off and on again is time consuming. It starts really slow. Also, there is this Android like feel to it. It means that player application is a regular, Android app. It’s extremely easy to miss click buttons at the bottom and suddenly you get back to wall paper of the startup screen. I’d definitely prefer having something “solid”, something dedicated to playing music and doing only that.

Missing covers – this is something I have already described in a different place: Sony Walkman NW-A306 and missing album art (cover) in ALAC files imported from Music. I was hoping that dropping cover.jpg together with audio files would be more than enough. This is not the case though. You have to make sure that cover art is embedded within songs. Doable, yet cumbersome.

— The Ugly —

It’s Internet ready and I hate it I have disabled most of the things (The ultimate setup for Sony NW A306 and macOS). You have GMail, Play Store and all that stuff. It turns this device into something that needs protection. It needs PIN on the unlock screen and this is terrible. In a mood for changing an album? No problem, but first: “- I want you to unlock me like one of your french girls”.

And one more thing. There is no developer menu inside Settings. It means you can’t set preferred USB connection settings. This requires your manual intervention each time you connect the Walkam to macOS using Android Transfer app. In fact, there is a developer menu in Setteings. It requires some magic though. Read here.

This is the worst thing in this devices. Instead of being just a Walkman it became sort of a Frankenstein Monster (in this context) – not a 100% phone, not a pure Walkman, something in between.. In fact, after some tweaking it becomes quite sensible Walkman. One must simply fine tune some settings (check it here).

Anyways. If you ask me, whether I am happy with it – yes, I am. Would I buy it once again. Yes I would. I simply like things with a clear, well defined purpose. I am pleased with a quality of the sound, direct (unaltered output), mini jack port. These are the things I am trying to find in sound devices – ascetic minimum and no fancy apps, Heaven forbid.