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This Christmas, after several months of umm-ing an ahh-ing, I decided to take the plunge and purchase an MP3 player. Looking at all the various models available, and taking my university course into account, I decided to purchase one which I could not only listen to music with, but record my lectures if need be as well. With these factors in mind, my needs led me straight to this player, the Creative MuVo NX 256MB model.
At the time of purchase, the player cost me around £150 from PC World. This was a considerable amount lower than other popular players such as the iPod, and was also a lot smaller in size.
The set contained not only the USB module (which contains the player's main body) but also 2 separate cradles for it ,which contain the 1 AAA battery during operation (1 battery included), a wrist strap for wearing it during exercise, an outer cradle complete with clip for attaching to the wrist strap or to your belt, Creative branded earphones, and also a CD containing Creative MediaSource and the Media Initializer for the MuVo NX, which is what use to change up your playlist and/or clear the tracks from it.
Dimensions : Height x Width x Depth : 7cm x 3cm x 1cm
The MuVo NX's size is quite deceptive. It's an incredibly small player, much smaller than the iPod (I placed the MuVo side by side with my Motorola T191 phone and it was even smaller than that!), but it has 256MB of storage space, which can not only store MP3's but can also be used as a USB Flash Drive, similar to the ones you see mounted in pens and on watches these days. It can store MP3s within one level of subfolders, and, at 192k bit rate, I was able to store approximately 2 and a half albums of relatively large size (Metallica's St Anger,Nickelback's Silver Side Up and half of Nickelback's The Long Road at time of testing).
The player comes with 4 default Equalization preset modes : Rock, Pop, Classical and Jazz, and also comes with a Custom EQ option allowing you to set the Equalization as you see fit. There are also several play settings as well, consisting of A-B, Shuffle Once, Shuffle Folder (allowing you to play all the tracks in one subfolder),Shuffle Repeat, Repeat Track, Repeat Folder, Repeat All, and Track Once.
Other options include backlight activation time, contrast setting, the ability to lock the player (to prevent it changing tracks in your bag), Microphone mode (to enable recording), and also the ability to switch between playing your MP3 and WMA music files, or your WAV voice recording files.
Also, when you first turn on the player, you'll find one track on there previously installed. This is Creative Labs' standard "Africa" demo track. To remove it, you'll need to use the Media Initializer program on the CD.
There are 3 buttons and a wheel on the MuVo's USB unit, these are how you perform the various functions. the 1st button, located next to the LED display and microphone, is the power/pause button. Holding the button will cause the player to power up/power down, while a quick tap pauses the track when playing.
The wheel is how you access the option menus and also navigate through tracks. Pressing the wheel in will access the options menu, which you can navigate by flicking left or right with the wheel. Using a quick flick left or right when playing a track and not in Options, will move you back one track or forward one track. Flicking and holding the wheel either left or right will rewind or fast-forward a track.
The final two buttons are the volume buttons, these will move the volume up or down, depending on the button you press. Holding the buttons down will cause it to move down until you take your finger the button.
The Microphone function
WARNING : DO NOT USE THE WINDOWS "FORMAT" COMMAND WHEN YOU ARE TRYING TO REMOVE TRACKS FROM THE PLAYER. IT WILL ALSO REMOVE THE PLAYER SOFTWARE AND LEAVE YOU WITH A VERY EXPENSIVE LUMP OF PLASTIC.
The recording function is quite easy to enable, merely by accessing from the options, and pressing the play button to record. The files also need very little space to store. I found that even with only 10MB free on the player, I was able to record over 2 and a half hours of voice if I needed to.
The combination of the earphones and the various settings mean that you will get a very clean and rich sound from the player. Depending on the bitrate of your MP3s and the location you are listening in you may find that you will need to adjust the volume to suit the music. I find I need to turn it up a little during my bus journeys if the bus I'm on is a particularly old and rickety one, for example.
However, the microphone is quite weak, and it will struggle to pick anything up unless it is quite close to the person talking into it. In the few times I have recorded lectures I have had to ask the lecturer to carry it around with them, or place on their table when they are talking.
In all, this MP3 player has become an invaluable distraction during my long bus journeys in and out of Swansea, and has also helped me record lectures for my studies. There are several players out now that give most of the same functions as the MuVo NX, and provide bigger storage, however I have found in my experience that although these do provide bigger storage, they are also much bigger players, and some of them do not offer microphone functionality at all. So, if you are looking for a nice, compact MP3 player you can carry around, a dictaphone to help you with your studies, and you're not bothered with only having 256MB of storage to play with, this is for you.
After all, who's going to be able to listen to 10,000 mp3s at once anyway? :)