It was the product that really made Sony famous and now, 40 years later, the company is set to release a special anniversary edition of the original Walkman. Sony’s NW-A100TPS looks exactly like the first-ever cassette-playing Walkman, the TPS-L2, which was released back in 1979, but there’s one significant difference: the new 16GB version plays music through Wi-Fi and Android apps.
It might not play cassettes but the NW-A100TPS can do almost everything else. Remember the original Walkman’s small glass strip window panel on the front? Well Sony has re-designed it, turning it into a 3.6-inch touchscreen, perfect for users to control and navigate through music and, to keep that vintage feel, there’s an animated screensaver of a cassette tape in motion when music is playing, to give the same look as the original Walkman. But wait, there’s more.
Sony really wants users yearning to re-live the past to get that full vintage experience, so the device also includes a headphone jack. That doesn’t sound retro because many are still listening to music with old fashioned headphones, but given that airpods and wireless headphones now dominate the scene, headphone jacks are a thing of the past. It does come with over the ear headphones, which were made famous in the 1980s, though it remains unclear if the little pads will be on the ears. If wires are annoying while at the gym or traveling, don’t worry, the music player is also able to connect to Bluetooth.
As far as the sound goes, it’s perfect for any music nerd. It has an S-Master HX digital amplifier, which delivers high-resolution audio and reduces distortion, a DSEE HX processor to upscale compressed audio and a vinyl processor, in case users want to give digital tracks the character of vinyl. Add 26 hours of battery life from a single charge and it could be beneficial to use this rather than a cell phone for tunes, though most people just want one device these days. There’s just one little problem here: this new Walkman is expensive. Sony is selling it for $599 in Australia, which converts to about $410 U.S. – not too different than how Sony priced the original electronic device at $150 back in the late 1970s. No word yet on when it’ll be available for American consumers.