My ventures into an Apple-free world have led me to some great products, and some unfortunately dud ones. With that in mind, this MP3 player was only the second one I'd ever used. It was bought for me in 2006 when I was 13 years old. After being replaced by an upgraded MP3 player some time later, I rediscovered it only a short time ago and I was surprised at its versatility for such a seemingly outdated product. Considering the product's age, it is now discontinued and unavailable to buy from Creative, but like many things online it continues to float around long after it should have disappeared.
The product I am talking about is called the Creative Muvo TX, apart of the NOMAD range of electronic devices. The item listed here is of the 250 MB size; as I tried to suggest the 1GB version that I own to Dooyoo's catalogue, I was redirected here. The only difference is, indeed, the amount of data the two versions can hold.
Moving on, the The Muvo TX consists of two distinct parts: a battery module and a USB drive. The two parts slot together to create an MP3 player about 36.7 mm (L) x 74.0 mm (H) x 16.0 mm (W), with curved edges. This amounts to a weight of 31.5 g (sans battery) or 41 g (with battery). Mine is in a shiny black, but there are other colours in the series, such as navy blue and white.
The earphone jack is at the top of the player, as well as a silver hook for attaching to a key-chain (presumably) or indeed a mobile phone charm for those that way inclined. At the side of the device is the usual volume-adjusting buttons (up and down) and a scroller for navigating content. At the front of the player are a play/pause button, a microphone (never used) and an LCD screen displaying track details, including name, artist and length.
The play/pause button also functions as on/off when pressed and held for several seconds. Likewise, the volume adjusters are sensitive to pressure and will increase or decrease the volume faster when held down. The scroller can also be used to restart or rewind a track, and to navigate the menu. The LCD screen glows blue when the Muvo is active, but the light may go off during a track - simply press the play button to reactivate it without interrupting the song.
On the back is a slot for a battery. The Muvo takes 1 AAA size (!).
To use this MP3 player, the manual would like to tell you that it is not as simple as slipping off the USB part and inserting it into a port (though that part is very easy); an installation CD is ostensibly necessary. However, I used this on my laptop without the long-lost installation CD and it worked absolutely perfectly. The device is compatible with all operating systems, even Windows 8, which the Muvo TX precedes by 7 years.
To transfer files to the device, the manual suggests using a Windows Media Player integration method to synchronise files across. This is, again, unnecessary. Open the player, navigate to the main folder, and drop audio files (ripped or downloaded) there. The player can read MP3 files and .wma files; no MP4 or .flac here I am afraid.
The Muvo automatically plays music tracks, but if you have voice files (from using the in-built microphone), you can access them using the menu feature using the scroller. The Muvo automatically starts playing your last track from its final position.
The following Play Modes are available:
* Repeat Track
* Repeat All
* Repeat Folder
* Track Once
* Shuffle Repeat
* Shuffle Once
* Shuffle Folder
To access these, use the relevant icons on the navigation menu (infinity-shaped arrows for repeat, piano to shuffle, X1 to repeat once - etc. Pretty straightforward, I think). Likewise, to record audio, navigate to the microphone icon. When recording, note that the available recording time is determined by the available space in your player and the battery power remaining in your player. Once recording, a stop-watch appears on the LCD screen.
You can also change the orientation of the LCD screen (up or down), listen to certain genres by tag (if you imported from WMP), change the time before the player automatically shuts off when idle, and change language settings from the navigation menu.
To lock the Muvo, activate the scroller until a padlock icon is shown, and click it. To unlock, press any button and choose 'unlock' with the scroller button. Very useful for classes!
As mentioned, the player comes in sizes of 128 MB (!), 256 MB, or 1GB.
At 128 MB, with CD quality bitrate of MP3 (~128 kb/s) the player can hold 40 songs.
At 256 MB, with CD quality of MP3 (~128 kb/s) the player can hold between 60 - 120 songs.
At 1 GB with CD quality of MP3 (~128 kb/s) the player can hold up to 500 songs.
This all depends on the length of the song and the bit-rate (quality). You will fit more lower quality, shorter songs and less long, high quality songs into the same space.
On a freshly-charged AAA battery this can work out to 14 hours of songs, but this playback time can be reduced by:
* skipping, fast forward or reverse during playback
* using passive speakers or high-power headphones
* long back light timeout setting (more than 10 secs)
* playback of .WMA files with a high bitrate and/or heavy bass
Technical output details:
Signal to Noise Ratio: Up to 90 dB
Channel Separation: Up to 63 dB
Frequency Response: 20 Hz~20000 Hz
Harmonic Distortion: <0.05%
Operating System/Firmware: Upgradeable via Internet
Headphone Out: 1/8" stereo minijack, 5~7 mW
Some people will question why I continue to use such an outdated product. Indeed, the past few months after I have rediscovered it, I have been surprised at how much I enjoy using it. Due to the size, it is an easily portable piece of equipment; is it still both aesthetically and technically pleasing after 7 years; and at the size I have (1GB) it holds enough songs and has enough playback time to satisfy my needs without all the bells, whistles and GPS of newer MP3 players.
I think this would be a great product for either an older or younger person as a first MP3 player, as it has all the playback options and technical specifications needed to play songs quickly and easily. No, it will not play videos or store pictures - it will also not take photographs - neither will it download apps, and it will *not* satisfy either musical afecianados nor technical ones. For some reason, it does have a voice record function, for those interested in that - and I suppose it could double as a Dictaphone. At ebay at time of writing it is selling for between £20 - £30 (not including P&P), so it will not break the bank either.
Finally, instead of talking about any more technical specifications or playback options, I'd like to mention what I found in this player after I rediscovered it at the bottom of a drawer. Though this will be tangential at best I hope that it gives better insight into my usage of the product. First of all, the main folder, where the audio files are stored, was prophetically titled "liberal democrats suck". Secondly - and most shocking - the files were organised in alphabetical files (anyone who has seen my desktop will understand just why this is so shocking. I feel a monkey delousing me, as the Germans say). I was cringing preemptively at the thought of what my 13 year old self would have listened to (I used to be a goth...). However, I was pleasantly surprised at the variation I found within the songs - Beck, Boney M., Billy Idol, The Beatles - and that was just the B folder. I did find some peculiarities, though... including the "I Love You Egg" song (look it up) and the Eurovision entry for 2006 "Flying the Flag" by Scooch (don't look it up). Generally, though, much like the player itself, the songs within it were a blast from the past but still very much enjoyable and usable today.
The Creative MuVo TX 256MB combines good looks and great portability with ultra-fast USB 2.0 downloads. It stores up to 4 hours (60 tracks) of music in MP3 or 8 hours (120 tracks) in WMA and gives up to 15 hours of continuous playback from a single AAA battery. Downloading data or audio is simple: users just plug it into a USB port and drag and drop files straight to it, while Creative MediaSource software makes file conversion on the PC fast and easy. The built-in microphone supports up to 8/16 hours of voice recording, and the blue backlit display with icon-based interface ensures effortless operation. The battery module, in silver, contrasts elegantly with the white player component.