What Hi-Fi (UK)

PORTABLE MUSIC PLAYERS

TREAT YOUR TUNES TO A DEDICATED MUSIC PLAYER

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Sony NW-A55L £160

Best portable music player under £250, Awards 2020 ★★★★★

Sony hasn’t carried out an update for the sake of it; the refresh is justified by squeezing more performanc­e into a budget price than ever before.

Hi-res 32-bit/384khz, DSD Weight 99g Storage 16GB (plus microsd)

Cowon Plenue D2 £259

Best portable music player £250-£500, Awards 2020 ★★★★★

The PD2 manages to justify the premium over its predecesso­r. We haven’t heard a better-sounding budget portable music player. Hi-res 24-bit/192khz, DSD 128 Storage 64GB

Astell & Kern A&norma SR25 £649

Best portable music player £500-£1000, Awards 2020 ★★★★★

More expressive and eloquent than any other portable music player we’ve encountere­d at this price – far beyond anything smartphone­s are capable of. Hi-res 32-bit/384khz, DSD256 Weight 279g Storage 832GB

Astell & Kern Kann Alpha £1099

April 2021 ★★★★★

A powerful and talented machine, we cannot fault its sonic chops. The stylish, rock-solid build is (just) small enough to take with you on your travels Hi-res 32-bit/384khz, DSD256 Weight 316g Storage 64GB

Astell & Kern A&futura SE100 £1499

Best portable music player over £1000, Awards 2019 ★★★★★

For those with grand portable ambitions, decent high-end headphones and, crucially, the budget, this sonic-savvy source is both a luxury and logical buy. Hi-res 32-bit/184khz, DSD 11.2MHZ Weight 240g Storage 128GB

Astell & Kern A&futura SE200 £1799

Best portable music player over £1000, Awards 2020 ★★★★★ Astell & Kern has managed to set a new performanc­e benchmark for the price with the A&futura SE200.

Hi-res 32-bit/348khz, DSD 256, MQA Weight 274g Storage 256GB

 ??  ?? “The SE200 delivers the music faultlessl­y. It captures fine details and dynamic fluctuatio­ns and conveys it on a crystal clear canvas”
“The SE200 delivers the music faultlessl­y. It captures fine details and dynamic fluctuatio­ns and conveys it on a crystal clear canvas”
 ??  ?? “The soundstage has been prized wide open too, allowing the track’s scale to soar and detail to unfold”
“The soundstage has been prized wide open too, allowing the track’s scale to soar and detail to unfold”
 ??  ?? “Listening to downloaded hi-res music on the Kann Alpha is truly a joy”
“Listening to downloaded hi-res music on the Kann Alpha is truly a joy”
 ??  ?? “Playing a range of music genres and file resolution­s, the SE100 comes out on top at every turn”
“Playing a range of music genres and file resolution­s, the SE100 comes out on top at every turn”
 ??  ?? “Cowon justifies the price hike with a performanc­e that takes transparen­cy and entertainm­ent to the next level”
“Cowon justifies the price hike with a performanc­e that takes transparen­cy and entertainm­ent to the next level”
 ??  ?? “If you’re looking for a sonic upgrade over your phone, the Sony will offer it across the board”
“If you’re looking for a sonic upgrade over your phone, the Sony will offer it across the board”

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