Flash-based (aka USB pen drives, thumb drives) MP3 players are really a dime a dozen these days. In fact, many of them are no name brands, and likely, a majority of them share the same manufacturer, be it the casing, the actual hardware, or both. These devices are becoming insanely cheap to produce, particularly if ease of use is a second thought in the design. With that being said, it is that much harder to find a good quality flash-based MP3 player.

With the hard drive based MP3 player market dominated by Apple, the sub 512MB MP3 player market is peppered with plenty of companies from which to choose, and it seems like it will stay like this for a while. After all, Apple's current market strategy is to leave this market alone.

The only other "big" company in the MP3 player market is Creative Labs, who is not choosing to shy away from producing these micro MP3 players. With so many ultraportable MP3 players available, Creative hopes that their name alone puts them above the rest; if not, at least, make you take a second look. Our experience is that even with these little gadgets, you get what you pay for. Most of the no name brand (flash-based) MP3 players with which we have tinkered are generally of poor quality or at least not as good as the name brand products.

Creative made a good attempt at a flash-based MP3 player with their original Muvo and they are in their third generation, dubbed Muvo TX, which adds USB 2.0 support and hikes the maximum capacity to 512MB.

Creative's Nomad Muvo TX – A Different Kind of MP3 Player
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  • RJB2005 - Friday, April 15, 2005 - link

    I regretted buying the creative nomad tx after only one day of use. I'm a low end user in all respects, but despite this I can by no means escape being SO MUCH annoyed by the poor sound quality of the player. It just seems unable to "cover" all the instruments in a track, and is really unable to NOT get oversteered when I play my language course tapes on it. Even with good earbuds (ipod). I bought an ipod mini to overcome my trauma.... of which the sound quality is impressive. Stick to my advice: JUST DON'T BUY IT ! Reply
  • XRaider - Saturday, May 29, 2004 - link

    Yea, it would be nice if they had an iRiver to test. Also, get a whole bunch of diff MP3 flash players and test them all at once... and put battery life results in the tests too. Reply
  • WizzBall - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    What can I say... I just hope that this is not your sound expert here at Anandtech o.O Reply
  • dilmonen - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    man, this thing was great, but suddenly came up with a "disk partition error" and i had to go to creative to get a firmware upgrade to 'resolve' the issue by reformatting the whole thing.

    i even did all the 'eject hardware' first like it states. my wife has the nx 256mb and we've not had any problems with it at all. the tx got the file glitch and apparently creative knows about it.
    Reply
  • Lurks - Friday, May 28, 2004 - link

    Claiming that it's the best on the market assumes that you've seen all the products on the market. I find from reading this peice that it's pretty clear the author hasn't seen a fraction of the amazing flash-based MP3-player products that have come out of Korea recently.

    As for the claim that the Muvo is geared towards people who need a flash drive as much as an mp3 player. That is, with all due respect, complete nonsense.

    Further more it's seriously annoying seeing nonsense subjective sound comparisons such as 'crisp but not as crisp as the ipod'.

    If you actually measure distortion out of an ipod, you'll find it's near the bottom end of sound quality of current generation mp3 players. But hey, it's chrome and looks sexy, it must sound good right?


    Reply
  • AndrewKu - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    #9 - That was a great product, I have to admit. But it is in a totally different market. That was more for the MP3 market. The Muvo is geared toward the crossover between flash drives and MP3 market, for people who need one as much as the other. Reply
  • RDaneel - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    I don't see how anyone can get excited about this Muvo player when the Panasonic SV-SD75/80 was doing everything but the USB interface years ago - and is much smaller!

    The SV-SD80 is smaller than even the Muvo, and even if you want to use the hard carry case (which adds a AAA battery as well) it is tiny. It has over 50 hours of playback in that form, and uses SD cards, which are less convenient than the built in memory, but are at least updradeable.

    The Muvo is neat, but the Panny was doing it better in 2002!
    Reply
  • AndrewKu - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    #6 The Muvo TX holds the USB drive very snuggly into the battery module. As you can tell from the pictures, there is a grove on the drive that gives it additional security. We field tested it, it did very well. Reply
  • gherald - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    I have a 256mb Muvo NX and it's awesome. I now regret not waiting for the "hi-speed USB 2.0" TX model, but such is life.

    Anyway, it's an awesome player for the size and the controls are great.

    I got 4 AAA rechageable batteries from RadioShack that recharge in 15(!!) minutes, which is just incredible. So 15 minutes of charge time for about 7-8 hours of music per battery... wow.
    Reply
  • Warder45 - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    4- Interesting, I never knew about the voltage differences. I wonder why there is a change?

    5- agreed, the brand new iRivers have ogg support. I'm crossing my fingers a firmware upgrade will allow my older model to gain ogg support. I wish anandtech would review one of those, as they are making some pretty high battery life claims.

    Another reason I don't like the Muvo's is that I've been told repeatedly that the clip holding the USB part to the rest of the unit wears out rather quick. And I don't want to be jogging and have the unit come apart on me.
    Reply

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