SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman Audio Player Review

SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman

From cassette to MiniDisc to CD to MP3 and now Hi-Res audio, SONY is the leading portable audio player brand. I had a chance to attend SONY Hi-Res audio demo in 2014 and tried the NWZ-ZX1 Hi-Res audio player. I was stunned by it, both the audio quality and the premium price tag.

On the other hand, SONY A-series Walkman are more affordable Hi-Res audio players. I receives a SONY NWZ-A15 for this review*. Read on to find out more about the most affordable SONY Hi-Res audio digital media player.

Familiar Design

I know digital music players are small size nowadays but still I was surprised by SONY NWZ-A15 small size and lightweight. Its dimensions are 43.6 x 109 x 8.7mm and weight only 66g. SONY says it is “World’s smallest and lightest” Hi-Res Audio digital music player.

SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman

In the box, you have SONY NWZ-A15 player and a propriety USB cable. Headphones and microSD memory card are not included.

SONY NWZ-A15 uses plastic body. The silver colour model I received has a shinning front panel but the plastic edges and back panel feel dull.

At first glance, you see a 2.2 inch QVGA (240 x 320 pixels) colour non-touchscreen display and a square shape 4-way navigation control with a center round Play/Pause button. Look closer, you will notice two buttons located below the display: Back (Home) and Option (Power Off).

SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman (side)
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman (side)

On the right side, you get volume rocker, HOLD lock and microSD card slot. Headphones jack, data port, lanyard hole are located at the bottom.

Due to the small body of SONY NWZ-A15, the display already take up most of the front panel space. The navigation and home buttons are squeezed to the bottom 1/3 of the player.

I would need to readjust holding position to the bottom to press the buttons, and it is not comfortable. Fortunately, the buttons are very responsive and you seldom need to access them while listening to your favorite music.

Hardware

SONY NWZ-A15 is the most affordable Hi-Res Audio by the company. It has build-in 16GB storage and support microSD memory card up to 128GB.

The small size audio player supports Bluetooth and NFC for wireless connectivity, but it does not support WiFi connection. Bluetooth connection can be used to pair with speakers or transfer music into the player. NFC allows you to pair SONY NWZ-A15 with supported devices with a touch.

SONY NWZ-A15 uses build-in Li-ion rechargeable battery, which can be recharge through the included USB cable. The recharge time is only 4 hours, and battery life last up to 50 hours for MP3s or 30 hours for 192kHz/24bit Hi-Res audio (when Bluetooth is OFF). Standby time is impressive, too. SONY NWZ-A15 still shows full charge level after idle for a week!

SONY NWZ-A15 digital music player supports most popular audio formats, namely FLAC / Apple Lossless(ALAC) / MP3 / AAC / HE-AAC / WMA / Linear PCM(WAV) / AIFF.

Simple User Interface

On the home screen, you get total 12 menu icons (3 x 4). The wallpaper is replaceable with your picture saved on the player. No, you cannot install/uninstall application. It is not a smartphone.

SONY NWZ-A15 does not have a touchscreen display. You press navigation buttons to select an icon and press Play button to enter. Back button to return last screen, Option button for more settings.

It is simple, except that there were couple times I tap on the display thinking it is touchscreen enabled…

SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman playing Hi-Res track
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman playing Hi-Res track

The song playback screen displays is clean and informativie, displaying album cover and song information. If song lyric is enabled, it will be scrolling on top of album cover. Press Option button for many audio effects and settings (more details below).

Rich sound effects

SONY NWZ-A15 has many sound effects and audio technology to enhance your music experience – ClearAudio+, Equalizer, VPS (surround) sound, Dance/Karaoke/Language, DPC (speed control).

SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman: sound settings
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman: sound settings

Not everyone has a collection of Hi-Res music. SONY NWZ-A15 uses an optional DSEE HX audio technology to upscale your existing lower quality audio (compressed or CD) to near Hi-Res Audio.

Personally, I don’t notice significant different between original vs. upscaled audio. I might say DSEE HX enabled has more dynamic range but it could be my psychology bias.

According to SONY, ClearAudio+ should allow you to “hear audio like its original source” but, in my experience, it is merely stronger bass and clearer vocal.

Dance/Karaoke/Language – Language study allows you to study a new language by listening to audio tracks using Quick Replay and set A-B repeat. Dance mode can set A-B repeat and playback speed. Karaoke mode can lower vocal volume or raise/lower song key.

Please take note that ALL sound effects are not applicable to Hi-Res audio without downsampling it by enable “Hi-Res Audio Effects”.

Hi-Res Audio

While you may use any headphones/speakers you have, you are recommended to use high quality headphones/speakers to fully enjoy Hi-Res Audio output from SONY NWZ-A15. I was using SONY XBA-A2 stereo headphones during my review period.

How does Hi-Res Audio compare to CD quality audio? In my experiences, Hi-Res Audio has wider and deeper audio range. I feel the music is richer and clearer.

More Features

SensMe Channels (first icon on home screen) is a sweet feature which will auto generate music channels from your song collection based on your mood: Relax, Mellow, Lounge, Emotional, Extreme, Midnight. For example, Extreme channel plays rock songs; Midnight channel plays soft songs. Custom playlists and bookmark lists are also supported.

SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman: SensMe
SONY NWZ-A15 Hi-Res Walkman: SensMe

You can transfer your favorite podcast files to listen on the digital player. The Hi-Res digital audio player also includes the good old FM Radio (not work with wireless speaker/headphones).

Beside audio features, you also can view photos and playback videos on SONY NWZ-A15’s 2.2-inch display in forced horizontal mode. I guess these are the least used features.

Bottom Line

SONY NWZ-A15 is a small and lightweight Hi-Res audio digital player with long battery life and rich audio features. Non-touchscreen display is not a big issue for a music player. RM699 retail price make it the most affordable SONY Hi-Res audio player. But remember to pair it with a good headphones/speaker.

If you would like to experience Hi-Res audio, SONY NWZ-A15 is a good starting point that won’t burn your pocket.

*I got to keep the SONY NWZ-A15 after review.

Full List of PS4 Launch Games in Malaysia (with game trailers)

Call Of Duty: Ghost

Sony PlayStation 4 (PS4) to be launched in Malaysia on Friday, 20 December 2013. Here are the all 23 PS4 games to be released on the same day.

Some PS4 games are available in 2 format: Blu-ray disc and PS Store Digital Download. Improved from previous digital download, now you can start playing while the game is downloading.

READ ALSO: How expensive is PS4 price in Malaysia? [Chart]

1. Call of Duty: Ghosts

Call Of Duty: Ghost
Call Of Duty: Ghost

Language: English
Genre: FPS
Release format: Blu-ray disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.callofduty.com/ghosts
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00D4WTO1M”]

2. Tottemo E Mahjong

tottemo e mahjong
tottemo e mahjong

Language: Japanese
Genre: Puzzle
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://arcsystemworks.jp/e-mahjong/
Game trailer:

3. Basement Crawl

basement crawl
basement crawl

Language: English
Genre: Action, Strategy
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.blooberteam.com/
Game trailer:

4. Contrast

Contrast game
Contrast game

Language: English
Genre: Puzzle, Platformer
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.contrast-thegame.com/
Game trailer:

5. BattleField 4

Battlefield 4 (BF4)
Battlefield 4 (BF4)

Language: English
Genre: FPS
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.battlefield.com/battlefield–4
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00CXCCFSI”]

6. FIFA 14

FIFA 14
FIFA 14

Language: English
Genre: Sports
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.easports.com/fifa
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00CXCCI8A”]

7. Need for Speed Rivals

Need for Speed Rivals
Need for Speed Rivals

Language: English
Genre: Racing
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.needforspeed.com/rivals
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00D3RBZHY”]

8. NBA Live 14

NBA Live 14
NBA Live 14

Language: English
Genre: Sports
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.easports.com/nba-live
Game trailer:

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9. Escape Plan

Escape Plan
Escape Plan

Language: Traditional Chinese, English
Genre: Puzzle, Action
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.funbits.com/
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00DBRM3G8″]

10. flOw

flOw game
flOw game

Language: English
Genre: Puzzle
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://thatgamecompany.com/games/flow/
Game trailer:

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11. Flower

Flower game
Flower game

Language: English
Genre: Casual, Indie
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://thatgamecompany.com/games/flower/
Game trailer:

12. Killzone Shadow Fall

Killzone Shadow Fall
Killzone Shadow Fall

Language: English, Traditional Chinese
Genre: FPS
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.killzone.com/
Game trailer:

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13. KNACK

KNACK
KNACK

Language: English, Traditional/Simplified Chinese
Genre: Action Platformer
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://us.playstation.com/ps4/games/knack-ps4.html
Game trailer:

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14. RESOGUN

RESOGUN
RESOGUN

Language: English
Genre: Shooting
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://us.playstation.com/ps4/games/resogun-ps4.html
Game trailer:

15. Sound Shapes

Sound Shapes
Sound Shapes

Language: English, Traditional Chinese
Genre: Music, Platformer
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.soundshapesgame.com
Game trailer:

16. THE PLAYROOM

THE PLAYROOM
THE PLAYROOM

Language: English, Traditional/Simplified Chinese
Genre: Family Game
Release format: Pre-installed Application
Website: http://blog.eu.playstation.com/2013/06/12/introducing-the-playroom-only-for-playstation–4/
Game trailer:

17. NBA 2K14

NBA2k14
NBA2k14

Language: English, Traditional Chinese
Genre: Sports
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://2ksports.com/games/nba2k14
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00DBRM3G8″]

18. Dynasty Warriors 8 with Xtreme Legends

Dynasty Warriors 8
Dynasty Warriors 8

Language: Traditional Chinese
Genre: Action
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.tecmokoeiamerica.com/dw8/
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00CBNVAE4″]

19. Assassin’s Creed IV Black Flag

Assassin Creed 4: Black Flag
Assassin Creed 4: Black Flag

Language: English
Genre: Action Adventure
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://assassinscreed.ubi.com/
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00BMFIXOW”]

20. Just Dance 2014

Just Dance 2014
Just Dance 2014

Language: English
Genre: Music & Rhythm
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://just-dance-thegame.ubi.com/
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00D8S4GRY”]

21. Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition

Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition
Injustice: Gods Among Us Ultimate Edition

Language: English
Genre: Action
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://www.injustice.com/
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00FJWNSU8″]

22. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
LEGO Marvel Super Heroes

Language: English
Genre: Action
Release format: Blu-ray Disc / PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://marvelsuperheroes.lego.com/
Game trailer:

[AMAZONPRODUCTS asin=”B00DUARBTA”]

23. Blacklight: Retribution

Blacklight: Retribution
Blacklight: Retribution

Language: English
Genre: FPS
Release format: PS Store Digital Download
Website: http://blacklight.perfectworld.com/
Game trailer:

Which are your favorite PS4 games?

How Expensive is PS4 Price in Malaysia? [Chart]

Malaysia PS4 is very expensive!

Malaysia PS4 is very expensive!

Sony Playstation 4 (PS4) price and release date in Malaysia have been unveiled on November 14th, 2013. PS4 in Malaysia is surprisingly expensive!

Tell me about PS4

Playstation 4 (PS4) is a video game console from Sony to compete with Nintendo Wii U and Microsoft’s Xbox One. It is the successor of PlayStation 3, which was first released in 2006 (8 years ago!).

PS4 is powered by  8-core AMD processor, 8GB GDDR5 RAM, 1.84 TFLOPS AMD Radeon GPU, and 500GB hard drive. It reads BlueRay/DVD discs, support WiFi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth.

For I/O, PS4 has USB 3.0 port x2, AUX port x1, LAN port,  as well as HDMI out port, digital out optical port for audio output. PS4 includes new game controller — DualShock 4 — with six-axis sensor and touch pad.

[box type=”note”]PS4 is not backward compatible. Meaning, it does not play your PS3 game collections.[/box]

How expensive is PS4 in Malaysia?

While Malaysia is not high personal income country, Sony Malaysia seems to be very confident on local gamers’ buying power and set an expensive PS4 price in Malaysia – RM1,799 (~USD561) for basic PS4 set (no camera).

Compare to USA & Japan, Malaysian are paying 40% more for the same game console. Malaysia PS4 is the Top 3 most expensive PS4 in the world! What is Sony Malaysia thinking?!

Here’s the chart based on the PS4 price comparison with other countries (data from LowYat.net):

Compare PS4 price with other countries
Compare PS4 price with other countries

First of all, the Brazil price is officially correct. It is THAT expensive! It is 432% more expensive than in United States and Japan! Poor Brazilian…

From the chart, you see that Malaysia PS4 is more expensive than in Europe and about same price (USD561) as in United Kingdom after currency conversion! Singapore, our high personal income neighbour, also enjoy USD$50 cheaper PS4.

Malaysians may like to bring in PS4 from Singapore, since the PS4 comes with regional warranty (Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam).

If you do not worry about warranty, you can even buy from Amazon US and shipped to Malaysia using online shopping services like HopShopGo. The shipping cost for PS4 from USA to Malaysia is less than USD50 — still cheaper than buy in Malaysia.

Release date & Pre-order

The official release date of PS4 in Malaysia is Friday, 20 December 2013.

You can now pre-order now till December 13rd at Sony online store, Sony Store at KLCC & The Curve, and Focus shops.

➤ Sony Malaysia

[box type=”info”]Update: GameAxis, Malaysia gaming publication, says that Gamer’s Hideout – a Sony focus store – will sell PS4 cheaper at RM1599, instead of RM1799 (~USD561). It would be a good news if Malaysia retailers are willing to sell PS4 at a cheaper price. *cross fingers*[/box]

Sony Xperia Z: High Specs Android Smartphone with Water & Dust Resistant

Sony Xperia Z water resistance
Sony Xperia Z
Sony Xperia Z

Sony Xperia Z is Sony’s brand new flagship Android smartphone in 2013. First announced at CES 2013 in January, it has since won 13 awards. Sony Xperia Z has a 5-inch Full HD display, powered by Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core processor, 13 MP camera and support 4G LTE.

Xperia Z specs

Let’s check out the Xperia Z specs sheet.

  • OS: Android 4.1 Jelly Bean (Android
  • 4.2 upgradable)
  • Processor: 1.5 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro Quad-core
  • Memory: 16GB, 2GB RAM. Support microSD up to 64GB
  • Display: 5-inch TFT Full HD (1080p), 1920×1080 pixels, 443 ppi. 10 fingers multitouch.
  • Camera: 13 MP Exmor RS camera with auto focus an flash; 2MP Exmor R front facing camera (1080p)
  • Connectivity: WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, WiFi Direct, DLNA, WiFi hotspot, Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, microUSB.
  • Network: 2G, 3G, 4G LTE; Micro-SIM
  • Durability: IPX5/7 (Water-resistant) & IP5X (Dust-proof). Water resistant up to 1 meter and 30 minutes
  • Battery: non-removable Li-ion 2330 mAh battery
  • Dimension: 139 x 71 x 7.9 mm
  • Weight: 146 gram

Sony Xperia Z retail price in Malaysia is RM2199 (Check Amazon price).

Read moreSony Xperia Z: High Specs Android Smartphone with Water & Dust Resistant