Mikey's review: Creative MuVo N200

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Even for a self-confessed iPod fanatic, it’s hard not to like the cheeky little £100 one gig Muvo N200: It’s an eager-to-please little bic lighter of fun offering MP3 playback, FM Radio, Line and mîcrophone recording and for all I know a habitat for endangered bushbabies. It’s DRM compliant, comes with a little rubber sleeve and one of those sporty armband thingies that makes you feel like you’re having your blood pressure taken, and most impressively for a white 1gb flash player in this price range, has an LCD display.

The smaller-capacity models in this range are offered in a veritable panoply of colours, but the manufacturer’s site only lists the 1gb option in black or red. We got a white one, that may mean that Creative are varying the colour choices for the UK market, or just that we’re very very special. The box is a basic, functional design – no fancy Jonathan Ives showing off here – with volume increment & decrement buttons, a small play switch that doubles as an on/off switch, and a jog wheel which pushes in to confirm your selection. All the controls work well enough but they’re pretty small, inviting operation with the nail rather than the finger: nailbiters among you might well have trouble controlling this one.

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The LCD is perforce pretty basic, but simplifies skipping between tracks and tuning the FM radio. The radio supports presets, which I always like, and suffers only a little from the lack of an external aerial. You can even record MP3s direct from the tuner, which is handy too. The downside of the LCD is a small amount of audio interference detectable between tracks when the backlight is active, which perhaps explains why Apple decided against one. It doesn’t really represent much of a problem in day to day use, especially as most people buying a small light player like this nowadays will be filling it full of pumping rock or techno and running around with it strapped to their bicep.

The software bundle on CD includes Creative’s by now standard Media Source, Windows Media Player and a seemingly interminable cavalcade of drivers and other odds and end that you don’t seem to really need, because the MuVo supports drag and drop loading not only from XP but also from OSX and Linux too. It’s a nice little thing, costs around the same price as a Shuffle and has a few more features.

Creative’s sound quality is always excellent and this is no exception. If you’re the kind of troubled soul that spends their evenings pounding the pavement in search of better cardiovascular health this could well be an essential purchase.

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