Iomega's in the Mixx
Geared toward sports and fitness fanatics, the flash-based Iomega Mixx MP3 player includes FM radio, voice recording, and an equalizer--features the similarly priced Apple iPod Shuffle lacks. Available in 256MB ($59), 512MB ($89), and 1GB ($129) versions, this sporty little player has flaws of its own, however, such as slow USB 1.1 transfer speeds and short battery life. It's a decent companion for a run or a trip to the gym, but it doesn't stand out from the budget-class pack.
The silver, gray, and red Iomega Mixx weighs 1.8 ounces with its single AAA battery--a full ounce heavier than the iPod Shuffle--and measures 3 by 1.5 by 0.75 inches. Neverthless, it's pocketable, though it's intended to be worn around the neck using the well-designed neck-strap earbuds that come with it.
At the center of the unit's face is an easy-to-read, blue-backlit, three-line LCD. The display provides at-a-glance information such as volume level, equalizer mode, song title, ID3 tags, elapsed time, battery power, and play mode (Normal, Repeat One, Repeat All, or Shuffle And Repeat). To the right of the screen is a button that starts and pauses playback, as well as turns the player on and off.
Above the screen on the outside edge of the player sits a multifunction A-B/record button that lets you toggle through play modes, set up to 30 FM presets, or start recording voice or radio. To the left of the A-B control are three others: a Menu button, for accessing and selecting the player's settings, and reverse and forward buttons, for navigating through menus or changing tracks and radio stations. The mini USB 1.1 port, the volume buttons, and the mic reside below the LCD.
The Iomega Mixx's generally solid design has one oddity: a short cord winds through four holes on the outside of the body, crosses the battery compartment on the back, and extends past the top end where the headphone jack is located. The cord doesn't seem to have any function except to make the player look sportier and possibly to help keep the battery compartment more secure.