The MZ-E90 is the smallest playback-only unit in the world, and weighs only 100g with an Ni-MH battery. It also holds the record for the longest playing time - 56 hours with an additional alkaline AA battery. Playback time with the Ni-MH battery is still excellent at 21 hours. Some 40 seconds of shock-resistant memory makes skips a thing of the past.
The MZ-E90 will fit into practically any pocket. Being this small, it doesn't have an AC power jack. Instead, the battery has to be charged in a separate unit. Heads should turn whenever you change discs, particularly if you choose the gorgeous red version. Silver and white models are also available.
Build quality is fantastic. The casing is made from high-stiffness magnesium, and a new press-forging manufacturing process gives increased strength. The MZ-E90 has a newly developed optical pickup that drastically reduces the number of components, and a low power consuming laser pickup has increased playback time.
There is no display on the main unit, but a backlit remote control shows disc name, track names and time elapsed. On the red and white models these labels are hard to read. Also, the bass function could not be controlled by the remote, and it does not display the remaining time.
We liked the one-touch eject mechanism, which made changing discs easier than before. The MZ-E90 produced excellent all-round sound quality. Digital recordings were crystal clear, although we felt that the quality of the supplied earphones could have been better.