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Sony Walkman WM-EX7
The tiny package—barely larger than a cassette—produces big sound. But the compact size has one disadvantage: buttons have been relocated to a cramped remote control. It's easy on batteries though; a single AA lasts 52 hours. $249.95

Aiwa XP-SP1200
Can't sit still?Take note: this model provides a 40-second delay (an innovative feature that all but eliminates CD skipping while in motion) and has a rugged, durable body. A pair of AA batteries keep the tunes coming for 12 hours. $175

Panasonic SL-S235
Though sleek and slender, this portable offers a slew of controls that maximize audio performance. These include three bass-boost settings, which give drums more oomph and strings a warmer sound. Rechargeable battereis provide six hours of play; two AAs, 20 hours. $99.95

For Minidiscs Only
Honey, I shrunk the CD player! The latest in micro-audio technology, the Sony MZ-R50 both records and plays. Not bad for a piece of hardware the size of a three-by-five index card. The controls are a bit crowded but can be manipulated with a little effort. It also features a "vertical jog dial" that you rotate to select songs. $449.95
Sharp's MD-S301 can only play back minidiscs (you'll need a separate component to record). The wired remote control features a backlit LCD display that shows playing times a battery levels. But the tiny buttons may pose a problem for most adult fingers. $229.95

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