IFA 2017 | A premium Walkman and a Google Assistant powered smart speaker from Sony
Many consumers were excited to see the reveal of the XZ1, XZ1 Compact and XA1 Plus smartphones, or the new Sony intelligent headphones. However, there were a couple of other interesting audio products that caught our eye.
Sony showcased their LF-S50G wireless smart speaker, their first wireless speaker with Google Assistant built-in. The LF-S50G is a circular speaker with 360 degree sound projection designed for music enjoyment in the home. Users can interact with the smart speaker using gesture control, allowing adjustments such as volume and track skipping via hand gestures without touching the speaker. The smart speaker is IPX3 splash-proof meaning it can stand up to wet hands in the kitchen, but you may have to be careful with powders such as flour. Sony will also update compatible BRAVIA smart TVs to include Google Assistant.
Sony is also bringing us a new Walkman, the NW-ZX300, a premium audio device featuring 64 GB of onboard storage and a microSD card. The new Walkman has Sony's S-Master HX digital amp inside, which can deliver native 32-bit 384 kHz PCM music files and will act as an external digital amp when connected via a USB cable to a smartphone or computer (USB DAC). The frame is milled aluminum to help reduce electrical noise being introduced to your sound. The DZEE HX sound enhancement engine is in use to improve audio quality by upscaling compressed audio. There is a 'balanced connection' jack in addition to a 3.5 mm analog jack, for use with high end headphones with dual ground wires.
Inside, Sony have chosen their own high polymer caps designed specifically for use in audio devices and lead free solder. There are physical control buttons on the side, and a battery life of between 26 and 30 hours depending on FLAC or MP3 playback. The new Walkman will play music via Bluetooth using Qualcomm aptX and Sony's LDAC codec.
The LF-S50G smart speaker will be available in October with an MSRP of US$200. The new Walkman will also be available in October but at a much higher MSRP of US$700.
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