The Creative MuVo was the first device we'd seen to combine a USB memory key with an MP3 player, a design that has since been emulated by the , the , and Creative's own . The company has made some improvements in a recent addition to the MuVo line, but the TX won't appeal to some. The player has a larger storage capacity (512MB) and a faster file-transfer speed (thanks to its USB 2.0 interface) than previous models, but it still has the tiniest of LCD screens and no FM tuner (available in its sibling, the TX FM). The hardest pill to swallow, however, is the $249.99 price tag--the same as Apple's coveted 4GB . Save for its compatibility with store-bought WMA songs, we think few users will have reason to choose the MuVo over the Mini.
The MuVo TX, which is the same size and weight as the 1.5-by-2.9-by-0.6-inch NX, resembles a Zippo lighter with an LCD screen and buttons. Missing from the TX package is the snazzy red spare battery module that was included with the NX. Also unfortunate is the absence of a USB extender cable, which would be handy for those with overcrowded or inconveniently located USB ports. However, Creative now provides a cleverly designed holster that can clip to your belt or an included armband--an ideal accessory for working out, jogging, or even just walking around. There's also an eye hook if you prefer to use a lanyard.
Despite the player's diminutive size, the TX's 96x32-pixel backlit LCD is crisp and easy to read. It shows basic ID3-tag info, elapsed time, playback settings (such as shuffle and repeat), and a battery gauge. Like the MuVo NX, the TX is a snap to operate, thanks to its minimalist controls: volume buttons, a play/pause/power button, and a track-skip/menu-navigation jog dial.
The TX isn't feature packed, but it can record up to 32 hours of low-quality mono voice memos on the 512MB model--that is, if you don't store anything else on it. The standard MuVo five-band equalizer is present as well, offering Rock, Pop, Jazz, and Classical presets, plus a user-defined mode. Regrettably, the device lacks an FM tuner or a recorder.
To copy files to the TX, you separate the "key" from its charcoal-gray battery pack and plug it into a USB port. You can either drag and drop files in Windows Explorer or use Creative's surprisingly good MediaSource application to create playlists, rip CDs, and copy files. As with other MuVos we've tested, the TX's 90dB signal-to-noise ratio resulted in clean, full audio playback. But you'll probably want to ditch Creative's flat-sounding, foam-padded earbuds.
The TX fared well in our transfer tests; thanks to a USB 2.0 connection, tunes traveled at a speedy 1.6MB per second. Battery drain tests also provided positive results, with the player lasting more than 18 hours.
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