The E90 is so incredibly small and so incredibly light (I think half the weight of the E75) that I still find myself staring in amazement. It is so light that I can almost forget it is in my pocket.
The strong eject feature is very nice, but every time I open it, I hope that they have life-cycle tested this thing, because I get the sense that it is something that could fail over the long haul. I trust Sony engineering, but it is so strikingly different than anything we have seen in the past, it does make me wonder. Also included is the newer backlit remote. It has a couple more characters than in the past and the lighting feature is great when listening in the dark room or a dark airplane when flying at night and everybody is trying to sleep. The light comes on as you would expect, whenever you touch any button on the remote. One nice feature is that the light stays on to display the whole title. If there is no title, it goes off in just a couple of seconds, but if you have a 50 character title, it stays on until the entire title is finished. I like the layout of the remote. The clear plastic gave me problems at first as the letters are difficult to read, but after one day, it becomes intuitive and I no longer have to read the remote.
I cannot speak about the earbuds as I use the new Etymotic ER-4P earphones which don't require an amp. The sound quality on the E90 is excellent as always and the 5mW headphone output with the 4P's is more than enough power.
|MZ-E90 and MZ-EP11 Side Buttons|
The buttons on the side are also really slim and tiny. I laughed when I saw the HOLD button on the bottom, because I can't imagine how I would ever accidentally push one of the side buttons. You have to really make a concerted effort to push these buttons as they are not raised up very high. The bottom switches are also very tiny also (volume limiting and bass). The battery door on the E30 is quite thick, but on the E90 it is so slim (about the thickness of the battery) that I open it and close it very carefully as the hinge does not look like it could survive a solid hit.
|MZ-E90 and MZ-EP11 Bottom Buttons|
Be aware that this unit is very tiny. Some people like that and others might not. Any previous Sony player looks like a house brick compared to this unit. We have always wished for something barely bigger than the MiniDisc itself. That time has come. Be careful what you wish for as you might not like it when it comes. I am very delighted to own it, but it is not for everybody.