I’ve got the best of both worlds. I have the Walkman Z, which is an Android based personal media player from Sony. If you have the money, and want one of the best, I would strongly recommend it! It was released in Japan in December of 2011 and made it’s way over here to the US in March or April. I ordered it on the first day it became commercially available here. I had an iPod Classic and an iPhone at one point, besides hating Apple as a company, I absolutely cannot stand using their products. They’re all terrible! The Walkman Z’s claim to fame is its audio quality. The player is infused with Sony’s S-Master MX technology that they use in some of their other products. The sound quality of this thing is absolutely AMAZING! Check the reviews on Amazon and other sites, just about everyone is blown away by the audio quality. The stock media player comes with a fully customizable 5 band equalizer, with an added bass control, and another half a dozen settings to control loudness, dynamics, and such.
The stock ear buds are great, phenomenal actually considering they’re the stock ones, with great bass and it only gets better if you have better ear buds or headphones. The Walkman Z has a 1.0 GHz dual core processor, comes in 8, 16 or 32 GB sizes, has a 4.3” display but unfortunately this thing runs Android 2.3.4 Gingerbread and it’s doubtful if it will get updated to anything newer. The negatives are the older OS as I said, the screen while nice and big, is lower resolution at 800 x 480 and there is no camera like the iPod Touch, which I don’t give a hoot about. This thing was primarily designed to deliver some kickass high quality audio and that’s what it does. It’s not a trendy toy for 12 year olds like the iPod. And it absolutely blows away the audio quality of the Apple products that I’ve had the unfortunate experience of using.
The Walkman Z did not come cheap, it’s $330 to max it out at 32 GB, the one I have, making it one of the most expensive MP3 Players out there. But I love it! Like most Sony products, it is also DLNA compliant (You know, the standard for streaming digital media, that Apple doesn’t believe in), so I can easily stream my entire music collection from my Walkman to my TV, Blu Ray Player or A/V Receiver or any other DLNA device via wifi. I can also load up photos and video and stream them as well. I also have an Android phone. The HTC Evo 4G LTE on Sprint, which features Beats Audio. While the new Evo sounds great, and definitely better than Apple stuff, I have to say, in terms of audio quality, I’d still give a slight edge to the Walkman. I also have Sony’s brand new Xperia S Android tablet, that has a lot of the same audio features as well. I’ve only had the thing for a few weeks, so I have not done much serious listening.
Two months or so ago, Sony introduced another line of Android based Walkmans, the F Series. I believe they are slightly less expensive, while having the same audio features and running Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich but unfortunately the screen is only 3.5”.