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I bought a MZ R70B through Letsbuyit.com almost a year ago for £140. This was one of the best things I have ever bought. It was small, stylish and never left my side at university. He recordable function was easy to use, the editing and track writing was much easier than doing it on a MD stereo and the sound quality was excellent. It began my obsession with MD, I now have over 100 of every type of music, copied from almost everyone I know, all correctly labelled both on their case and within the Mds themselves. (No I'm not sad) But, tragedy of tragedies it stopped working in June. I've no idea why, was it overuse, too much love, a dislike of certain music? But rather than try and fix it I decided to send it back to letsbuyit, expecting their crack team of customer service reps to send me a cheque promptly. 3 months later and I'm still waiting. (I will write about my views on letsbuyit in a later op) but a few weeks ago I decided to bite the bullet and plump for a new one. Having bought a MD stereo earlier in the year I decided to go with the non-recordable option. The EZ E500 cost me £120 from the Sony shop. So how does it compare? Battery Some mindisc players have a rechargeable battery unit that is inserted. The MZ R70B had a battery contained within the unit, I simply plugged it in when I got home, allowing myself the option of listening to it through the mains or charging it, without fiddling with batteries. The MZ-E500 allows you the choice of a rechargeable battery or a regular AA attachable unit. The way these things eat batteries you HAVE to have a rechargeable unit, so the AA unit seems pretty useless. The rechargeable battery is a little annoying, as you have to remove it and attach it to its own plug-in unit rather than simply plugging the player in. The specs and advertising make ludicrous claims for the maximum playing life. (The MZ E500 claims 75 hours!) But in truth if you use it for 3 or 4 hours you will need to charge i t. As with phones or laptops the battery life tends to decrease the longer you have it, but there are ways around this (to find out how read my 8210 op). Functions Obviously, I was aware that if I chose a non-recordable unit then the functions would be considerably fewer. But the buttons were better positioned on the MZ R70B. On my new unit they are on the back and are set into the unit, making them difficult to find. This would be acceptable because of accidental pushing whilst you were carrying it, but it has a large hold button which renders the size of the other buttons useless, as you can set them to hold. The MZ R70B also had an onscreen display. The MZ E500 has a display on the stick remote. But it is very small, and not back lit, making it useless in the dark. The stick is also quite fiddly to use, compared with the sleek unit on the MZ R70B. Size and Portability Both units are a similar standard size for a MD player. Some of the more expensive Aiwas are thinner, but providing the player doesn't have a battery attachment they are all small enough for you to barely notice you are carrying it. Both my units have a jog-protection memory, meaning they never skip. This is pretty essential for anyone wanting to listen on the move. Although Mds are not as bad as their CD cousins they do occasionally skip, which can be annoying. Both come with a small bag to keep the unit in. At first I thought this was a bit weird until my player started getting scratched and I realised what they were for. Not only good for preserving the unit, they also make the unit look very cool! Overall. The bottom line has to be is it worth spending £20-50 on a recordable unit? I would have to say yes. You don't just pay extra for recordability, the units have better functions, they are better laid out and the accessories are superior. Both players have a similar sound quality, but given the choice I would get another recordable. H aving said that I am still more than happy with my new player. MDs are still my favourite thing, the perfect combination of CD and tape. Sony is not the only major player in the market but I can say from my experience that they make excellent units, both more stylish and more functional than their rivals. I'm beginning to warm to my MZ E500, it may yet find a similar place in my affections as the MZ R70B!