Looking more like the remote control for an air conditioning unit than a portable music device, the 6GB E10 is nevertheless appealing to the eye, if a little blocky. Measuring 96 x 45 x 14mm, it's a bit taller than , but spurns the neon accents and spinning scroll wheels in favour of basic black or white.
If we have one complaint about the design of the E10, it's that there seems to be a lot of wasted space. With the relatively small (1.5-inch, 128 by 128 pixel) display squished up the top, and the four circular navigation buttons occupying little real estate, the player has a sparse look, and seems bulkier than necessary. Being hard-drive rather than flash-based, it's understandable that the unit can't get much smaller, but the screen still feels undersized. Still, if you're into minimalism and think the iPod Nano's wafer-thinness is more wussy than wonderful, you'll be happy with the E10.
As for the few remaining buttons dotting the E10's smooth surfaces, one side has dedicated volume controls (always appreciated by us at CNET.com.au), and the other accommodates a hold switch that doubles as a TV remote control activator -- more on that unusual feature later.
The menu structure of the E10 is like that of the lovely: list-based, intuitive and with no manual-reading required. Pressing the right nav button delves into the menu layers, and the left key lifts you up a level in the hierarchy. No scroll wheels, no rockers and no touch-sensitive patches you have to stroke with your finger -- sometimes it's refreshing to get back to basics.