Walkmans were “cool” when they were new, but according to todays standards they just suck piles. Here is a compiled list of the suckiest features.
1. The batteries
Most walkmen used to use 2xAA batteries like these below. These batteries were expensive and didn’t last long. Because of limited battery life you had to be careful how loud you turned it, and how many times you used the fast forward button.
2. The headphones
Almost all walkmen at the time came with an old style headphone, these were god damn aweful, and the sound was inferior. Hisssssssssssssssssss.
3. Cassette tapes
The outer part of a cassette tape was made out of strong plastic, but the music was stored on a magnetic reel. The tape often got streched or just broke. The walkman may have been designed for outside use, but it needed to be protected against the elements. Direct sunlight could cause the cassette tape to melt. You could easily forget a tape in the car, and all it took was 30 minutes to fry it. Tapes could be copied, but the overall quality got worse with each copy.
4. No rewind
Most Walkman only had 3 buttons. Play, Stop and Fast Forward. They didn’t magically stop at the next track either. Fast forwarding on one side was essentially the same as rewinding the other. All this took time and battery power.
5. The heads got dirty
The read heads got dirty, and that meant you needed to clean them. The best way was to use cotton buds and an alcohol solvent. The heads also misalligned, meaning you needed a tiny screw driver and some luck to get them back in place.
As crappy as what they were, they do represent a more carefree day, in the time before cell phones.