Clunk. The Compact Disc player stops in its tracks for the umpteenth time as the annoyed punter hears the track loop into a frenzy as the scratched CD taunts him with the juddering sound. Whirr. The CD spins uselessly in the player. Smash. Shaking with rage, the owner throws the player on the floor and it breaks. Unwieldy. Jerky sound. Too many batteries. Damaged CD?s ruining quality. These are the words of the anti-CD brigade, fed up of using it to listen to music away from their stereo. This is where the Creative Nomad comes into play, bringing high quality listening and a hard drive which is enough for you to throw all your old CD?s away (after converting them to mp3 of course!). The Nomad retails now at around £135 of your hard earned and I was willing to part for more as a recommendation for a friend that I now am thankful for after a while of usage. The clear blue screen is lit well and the display is thankfully easy to read and understandable which helps a lot when you are running or in the gym with it attached to your body. Creative thoughtfully include a case and belt clip in the package and these have been extremely useful for me. Due to the small size it has been very practical at the gym especially and fine for weight lifting at the same time as it is compact enough to not be a hindrance. Specs ------- 1.5 GB Digital Storage USB.2 Data transfer Up to 800 songs in WMA format High Fidelity audio Creative ---------- I can?t write this review without first mentioning Creative. Perhaps not a house hold name, but extremely highly thought of in the audio industry, Creative have a high standard of production and are a brand to be trusted. Incident
ally they also produced my PC?s sound card (Audigy 2) that, apart from Dolby Digital has the best quality audio I have heard for a long time. Storage --------- Let?s be honest here, how many songs to be stored do you REALLY need? I remember having an old Rio mp3 player years ago and could fit 20 tunes happily on it, with me using a method of rotation every few days as songs became annoying or overplayed. Creative state that you can store 850 songs on the in-built hard drive, but this is only if they are in WMA 64 kbps format and have a length of 3.5 minutes per song. Slightly unrealistic by Creative to have this ideal since most people will be using it for the mp3 storage aspect, yet possible if you adhere to the strict ruling here. However, many others and I do use it just for mp3s and the upside is you can still stick on several hundreds tunes on it for your money. Plug and play ---------------- I have Windows XP and just put in the USB cable into the USB port on the back of the computer. Once you have installed MediaSource (the application which manages the tunes etc) then you can choose which songs you want to store. MediaSource has many features, such as converting the CD?s to MP3?s or WMA?s which is pretty handy on the fly. All in all it was really easy to set-up with no software problems that I have had with other mp3/MD players. The stereo sound quality is very good with the right headphones (the ones included are awful) and has around 10 hours rechargeable battery lifespan, which is pretty good. Alternatives --------------- There are many other mp3 players on the market now, with the well-publicised boom of mp3 popularity but the Nomad is a very go
od choice and a solid mp3 player that I would definitely recommend to others. If you want a larger in-built hard drive for example, you will have to pay far more and probably end up with something that looks more like a CD player than anything (e.g. Creative Jukebox) rather than something compact and easy to use which the Nomad really has in it?s favour. Final Word --------------- The main bad points of the player are the peripherals, such as the headphones which are really not great, however most people have extra headphones so it probably won?t be a problem for many. The Create Nomad MuVo2 is an unyielding mp3 player that lives up to the hype and lasts the distance with good durability. Judging from some of the other players on the market right now, you could go far worse.
Creative - a well established name in the PC Audio market, which has managed to bring us high quality products for years. And with that said, the MuVo squared is no exception. The MuVo is one of a rapidly increasing number of mp3 players that are using reduced size hard drive technology (equal or smaller in physical size as those used in laptops), as opposed to removable or flash memory. This offers one distinct advantage: storage capacity. The MuVo offers a storage capacity of 1.5Gb. Creative quotes 850 as the number of songs that you can hold on this device, but it's a maximum, since this assumes that you're using 64kbs WMA files with an average length of 3.5 mins, which let's face it, probably isn't the case. Still, you're still going to be able to store several hundred tracks, which is plenty for my liking. Sure, I could spend a lot more money on a 40Gb jukebox, but as it stands, I don't currently see the point. It's also worth mentioning that you can store any file you want on this player, from word docs to films. You can't play them of course, but it makes an ideal solution if you need to transport data around. You'll find that 1.5Gb storage is more than enough for trips to work, etc. Onto the MuVo's design. It's a very minimalist player, in that it doesn't have fifty thousand buttons and a complex control panel. You've got a directional pad, LCD panel, and one button that's used for play, pause, and to turn the player off. The D-Pad is used in order to make track selections, and to control almost all the playback and sound controls. Tilt the pad up or down to alter the volume, while pressing it during playback will access the menu. The play/pause/power button does just that! The LCD is a two line p
anel, backlit with good ol' blue. It scrolls the artist and title of the currently playing track on the bottom line. It also displays battery life, play mode, sound mode, track time and track number. Considering the amount of empty space on the front of the player, a larger LCD panel would have been nice. It's rather small, but OK, a larger panel would have bumped up the price. So it does the job. There's three sockets along the top of the player: USB2.0, 5V DC in, and the headphone/remote. Unfortunately I've not seen a remote for this player. I hope one is announced, since it would make switching tracks on the move a lot easier. Having said that, the remotes released for the Creative Jukeboxes were rather expensive for what they were. The USB2.0 (backward compatible to 1.1) will accept a standard miniplug, which is good news if you're using more than one USB device at the moment, since your existing cable may well fit. The player's menu system is simple, and easy to use. You press the D-Pad once to get to the menu, which allows for basic control of the sound modes, as well as the play modes. The menu is also used to lock the player, and to access the in-built FM radio. A physical switch is preferable to lock the player with, but the menu system makes this quick and easy, so it really isn't a problem. Here's the menu layout: - Folder: Is used to access the root directory, where you can access files and navigate sub-folders. - Playlists: Edit playlists. - Playmode: Repeat (track), repeat (all), track once, shuffle (repeat), shuffle (once), and normal. - EQ(ualiser): Rock, pop, classical, jazz, normal, and custom (four band parametric is used here). - Delete - Settings: Contrast, ba
cklight, language, idle shutdown, and information. - Microphone Recording - FM Radio - Lock: Locks the player from accidental button presses. As you can see, they've got the basics covered pretty well. It's a little basic compared to some more expensive models, but it's more than enough for the casual listener (most of us, right?). If you're using Windows XP, the MuVo is recognised as a generic drive. This means that you don't need any drivers or additional software for its operation. All you need to do, is plug it in, and simply drag and drop your files onto the player. As mentioned above, you can do this with any files, not just sound files. The driverless operation makes it quite useful as a generic drive. Creative requires some of its portables to work in this manner, but (annoyingly) requires software for its jukeboxes. Since this is sort of a miniature jukebox I was worried about driver. Thankfully they took the smart path. This drag and drop interface means it's possible to select entire chunks of your music library, and transfer all the files in the selection, at once. For example, if you have a folder for all your Rock music on your hard drive, with say, ten albums in it, you can transfer them all, while keeping the directory structure intact. The MuVo uses ID3 tags (if they exist) to display information about your songs, but doesn't sort your songs according to them. This means that you can browse your music as you would any other data. Creative created the MuVo with easy access to the battery. The back panel is hinged, and opens to reveal a Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery. Being able to replace the internal battery is becoming an important issue for buyers, and rightly so. Some players out there *cough* Apple i&
#80;od *cough* are basically disposable. When the battery eventually dies and won't hold much charge, you're left high and dry, since, you can't change the battery without sending it off to apple to replace it. Fair enough, except they charge $100 to do so. Creative claim you'll get 10 hours playback on a full battery I got 9. Having said that, they probably tested on a lower volume, without the backlight, and not using any EQ settings. Nine hours is actually rather good, and since you don't have to spend money on a pack of AAA batteries every time your player runs out of juice, you're sorted. The MuVo ships with some headphones, but they're not up to much. I'd highly recommend going out and buying some better headphones, preferably Sony (Sony are good..). If sound quality is high up on your priority list, the MuVo will do you proud. If you are looking for something very portable, then the MuVo2 will fit the bill. At 2.6" x 2.6" x 0.8" and 3.2 ounces with the battery, it is extremely small. The flat sides also help it fit neatly into a pocket. Creative bundles a carrying case with belt clip, which is nice. In conclusion, if you're looking for a micro drive portable mp3 player, consider the MuVo. It combines most of the important elements you'd need, into one small package. It looks nice, sounds nice, and the price is right. At around £150, it won't break the bank, and you get a very decent 1.5Gb player for your money. Edit: Fixed caps.