Thursday, June 13, 2024

5 reasons why I’m using a Sony Walkman in 2024

Key Takeaways

  • Walkman simplicity is refreshing in smartphone overload
  • Downloading music requires intentionality and personal taste
  • Using Walkman provides nostalgic bliss, radio simplicity, and needed offline time

I’ve been using a Sony Walkman E394 for a few weeks now since getting it to review, and I’ve really enjoyed using it to listen to music regularly. I usually use Spotify on my phone to listen to music, so it’s been a very nice change of pace for me. There’s definitely been a renewed interest in retro tech, and for good reason — we’ve been inundated with screens and internet-connected devices for so long, we need a break already. MP3 players are still made for a reason, and I completely get it now.

So with that, here are the reasons I’m still using a Walkman in this age of smartphones and interconnectedness.



I tried a Sony Walkman E394 and it transported me to a simpler time

These days devices do everything, but the Walkman is dedicated to simplicity.

1 I like using technology dedicated to one thing

The Walkman does very little — and that’s exactly what’s so great about it

A Sony Walkman resting on a yellow sheet with the earbuds plugged in, showing the music menu.

Hot take: smartphones do too much. As convenient as they are, I get a bit overwhelmed by choice at times. So instead of using my phone camera, I like to use an actual camera. And following the same logic, I also like to use an MP3 player instead of listening to music on my phone.


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Retro tech is in, so I broke out my old iPod and I’m thinking it’s a more of a temporary moment rather than a full comeback.

When I use a Walkman to listen to music, I’m just using it to listen to music. There’s nothing else going on. There’s nothing to be distracted by, and I’m focused on doing one thing.

2 Downloading music requires me to be more intentional

There’s no algorithms to help me out, and only so much storage space

A Sony Walkman being held in a hand with a song playing.

There’s only so much storage space on a Walkman, especially compared to phones these days. The Walkman I’m using has 8GB of storage, which is a ton of storage for sure, that’s anywhere from 1500 to 2000 songs. But songs add up fast, and you have to be intentional about what you put on an MP3 player.

Plus, there’s no algorithm to help me find music — I have to rely on my own taste in music to know what to put on my Walkman, so I either have to know exactly what I want or discover music intentionally. As handy as things like Spotify Discover are, there’s really no replacement for the satisfaction of finding music yourself by digging, researching, and asking friends for recommendations.


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3 I can easily listen to the radio

Comparatively, it’s much more of a hassle on a smartphone

The menus on the Sony Walkman screen.

Okay, some people make fun of me for this, but I really like listening to the radio. I have fond memories of listening to the radio as a kid in the car, whether I was listening to top 40 with my mom or the hockey game with my dad. And lucky for people like me, the Sony Walkman has the ability to tune into the radio, so whenever I do want a change of pace from the music I have loaded on there, I can always switch to a radio station and hear something completely different.


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And sure, I can listen to the radio on my phone too, but it’s often a lot more convoluted. I have to be connected to the internet, search for the website for whichever radio station, and listen that way. It’s just not very easy and disincentivizes me from listening to the radio. Meanwhile, the Walkman makes it easy.

4 The Walkman allows me to stay offline when I need to

It’s important to me to stay a little more off the grid sometimes

A Sony Walkman wrapped with the earbuds the Walkman comes with.

Probably my favorite aspect of using a Walkman lately is the fact that it has no internet connection. There are no notifications to intrude upon my time, there’s no vibration or ringing, no apps to compulsively check. If I want to go on a walk and listen to music without my phone with me, I can absolutely do that with an MP3 player like a Walkman.

And in a time where we’re all so interconnected, that sort of thing is really needed. Unplugging from the internet and just existing on our own is important as humans, in my opinion. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy pleasures like portable music if you’re able to access it in an offline format. Sure, streaming services like Spotify are nice to have, but most of the time, I’d really rather just be alone, away from the rest of the world, away from the algorithms and AI, and just enjoy my tunes.


I bought an MP3 player in 2024, and for the first time in years, I really listened to music

Sony’s 2017 MP3 player has made for purposeful listening, and even though I’m a rookie audiophile, I think it’s a game changer.

5 It’s nostalgic

The Walkman is a relic from a very different time

A Sony Walkman on a wooden table with the earbuds plugged in.

The Sony Walkman like the one I’m using now has been around since 1999, so using one really brings me back to childhood. Granted, I was an iPod kid, but I knew people who had Walkmans and kind of wanted one myself. In my adult life, I find myself getting really warm, comforting feelings when I find some retro tech, whether it’s my family’s old Mac G3 in the closet or finding an old Nickelodeon rotary phone at a thrift store, and the feeling of using this Walkman is no different.


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We owe it to ourselves to experience throwbacks like this. Sure, current generation technology is convenient and innovative, but sometimes there’s nothing better than a trip down memory lane. And now that I’m using this Walkman regularly, I feel a lot more joy in my life as a result of that nostalgia. It reminds me of a better time in my life, and for that, I’m grateful.


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