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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  • Phiro - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    The message is clear; without Ogg support, no dollars from Phiro! Reply
  • plewis00 - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    The only reason they say don't use rechargeables is because they are a different voltage (1.2V vs. 1.5V) and this can produce some strange results. In the past I've always used rechargeable batteries in my MP3 players and found the *only* problem with them is that the power management can't accurately read the remaining battery life left (e.g. my Nokia HDR-1, cuts out when it's been on 3 out of 5 bars for about 2 hours, but it still lasts about 5 hours for solid music which is in line with alkalines, Creative Jukebox goes down to 1 out of 3 bars quickly but will power up in this mode for hours). I think you will be fine with decent Ni-MH cells. Reply
  • GraemeWright - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    Agreed - but most manufacturers say that they do not support rechangeable batteries. I would agree if they do then it is a better option.

  • Warder45 - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    iRiver > Creative

    1 - You can buy rechargible batteries anywhere for alittle more cost then normal batteries. With built in batteries once it's drained you have to stop listening and recharge, with external rechargible batteries you can quickly pop in another one while the first is rechargeing.
  • GraemeWright - Thursday, May 27, 2004 - link

    The only problem I have with most of these devices is that they do not use rechargeable power supplies. I am currently using a "No Name" player - an iBead 150 which has all the usual features of MP3 player, FM Radio, Voice and FM recording. However it has an in built battery which is charged of the USB port - you get about 14hrs of play out of a charge and weighs in at only 37g. Down side is that it is not USB2.

    Why don't other supplies add the support of at least rechargeable AAA?


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