The WM-FX290 is a stereo radio cassette player Walkman manufactured by the Sony Corporation in 2004. There were two versions of this and this particular one has the AM / FM radio tuner; however another version, WM-FX290W, came with a radio tuner that could receive TV and Weather bands. It usually had logo markings in red when it was able to receive those bands.
This Walkman does not have auto-reverse, and is for the budget end of the market. It has a plastic case and the unit weighs 130 g. They were mass-produced at one time, and in February of 2004, they revised this version for the Canadian market.
It came with the MDR-023 headphones, which provided a good dynamic frequency response; however, the sound quality was average, compared to the WM-EX610 and the higher end Walkmans.
The power consumption was very good and you could expect up to 35 hours of use from a single AA battery.
This is an interesting Walkman design, as it has some new and unique features and therefore ideal for the Walkman collector or anyone who just wishes to buy it as a curiosity. On eBay, you could expect to pay around £5 for the Walkman alone. If it is still with its packaging then I have seen prices of around £20 and more as they are starting to become rare.
It has a good push-button assembly, and the tape transport mechanism consists of metal components, which should last.
The radio can store 40 stations consisting of seven stations for TV, four for the Weather Band (WB), 24 FM stations, and 5 AM stations. If the version was without TV or WB, then the 40 station pre-sets divide amongst FM and AM bands. The LCD provided a flashing symbol when the digital auto pre-set scanning was in progress.
- FM: 87.5 MHz to 108 MHz
- AM: 530 kHz to 1710 kHz
The exterior design has a futuristic look to it, with an interesting LCD bezel shape and rubber membrane buttons. The LCD is clear and has alphanumeric display capability, including symbols for indicating the battery level, which is very useful.
The buttons are slightly recessed, and there is a lot of attention to detail in the design of this Walkman.
On the WM-FX290W the FM button was used for selecting the Weather bands, however when you look at the inside of this Walkman and the PCB markings, it is apparent that they used the same PCB for both versions of the Walkman, with the main difference being in the firmware.
This is a lovely bit of engineering and a piece of history.
On the side, you have these basic functions, which are useful.
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Sony WM-FX290 Inside
Sony WM-FX290 Tape Transport
Sony WM-FX290 Mechanism
Sony WM-FX290 / WM-FX290W PCB
Sony WM-FX290 Cassette Lid
Sony WM-FX290 Battery
Sony WM-FX290 Case