My Ultimate MP3 Player

Posted 7 December 2006 under , , , , ,

I’ve been looking for a new MP3 player for a while now, with little success. I’m not really interested in picking up the latest iPod offering, only to have Steve Jobs release a new one that’s ten times cooler in six months. Additionally, I have a fairly specific set of requirements which most players on the market can’t meet.

Drag-and-Drop Loading

One of the first players to catch my eye was the NW-E003 from Sony, pictured here:

However, after reading a few reviews, I came across this gem from cnet.com:

Unfortunately, Sony rather takes the shine off it by requiring that you use SonicStage to transfer tunes to the device. This software is simply awful—I found myself hating it all over again in the few minutes it took get some tunes on the NW-E003.

Not cool, Sony. I want my player to offer simple, drag-and-drop song loading — no proprietary software necessary. Unfortunately, this also rules out anything by Apple; as much of an iTunes addict as I am, I hate that iPods can’t function without it. I don’t want to have to jump through flaming hoops to use the player with my PC running Ubuntu at home.

Replaceable Battery

Ever get the feeling that today’s gadgets weren’t built to last? Cell phones, digital cameras, even $5000 plasma-screen televisions, it seems like manufacturers design these things to last a finite amount of time and then crap out, to be replaced by newer models. This is my single biggest gripe with Apple’s players: once the battery stops holding a charge, you’re left with a clickwheel-brandishing paperweight. I want my player to offer replaceable batteries, preferably of a standard variety.

Built-in USB Plug

This player will see a lot of use as a portable drive for non-music data. As such, it’s important to me that the player has a built-in USB plug, so that I don’t have to carry something else around to connect it to a computer. No docks, no cords, no nothin’. The original Shuffle was ideal in this regard, but alas, the plug on its replacement fell victim to Apple’s relentless pursuit of tininess.

What I Don’t Need

Movies: I don’t really understand the draw of watching movies on an MP3 player. I gotta figure some of the cinematic experience is lost on a 2.5-inch screen.

FM tuner: If I’m carrying 200 of my favorite songs, I hope I can find something better than Nickelback (or whatever they’re playing these days).

Huge capacity: Being able to carry your entire collection with you is nice, but honestly, there are only 20 songs I want to hear at any given period of my life. Additionally, flash-based players seem more reliable than those with hard disks.

Success?

Just this morning, I think I may have found a winner: the Creative MuVo V100.

It’s got the built-in USB plug, works without any special software on Windows, OSX, and Linux, and it takes a single AAA battery. I’m not crazy about the two-part design, and I can’t see myself using the voice recorder very often. On the other hand, how many movie villains have been foiled by a well-placed voice recorder? At least eight.

Comments
  1. Great Blog!
    Can you confirm that the Muvo V100 works under Linux? I emailed Creative, but they were less than interested in discussing anything other than Windows :(

    — Glenn · May 5, 04:56 AM · #
  2. Works like a dream :)

    David · May 6, 09:36 AM · #
  3. I too am considering the MuVo V100. It has the criteria that I seek. I am some what leery since it looks suspiciously like my Zen Nano that just quit working after a year of low usage and good care.

    — Jacque · Jun 3, 05:41 AM · #
  4. Jacque: I picked one up in late December, and no complaints thus far. The price is certainly right ($65 on Amazon), and FWIW, I suspect the likely points of failure are with the battery or audio hardware, so even if it dies, you’ve still got a nice 2GB flash drive.

    David · Jun 4, 03:21 AM · #
  5. Hi there, David. I know that this is a fairly old post, but I just wanted to comment on this one because I, too, have the same player and I am also running it under Linux. It was not being recognized by Rhythmbox or Amarok as a player, though. After some research, I found that simply adding a blank file to the root directory of the player called (without quotes, of course) “.is_audio_player” is enough for at least Rhythmbox to “see” it. I seem to be able to drag songs and podcasts over to the device and they actually write. The only caveat at the moment is that the song gets its own folder in the base directory. And, the player displays the media without the directory structure that I made on the drive. Oh well. More research, I guess.

    And, what’s with that loose battery door? That’s my only real peeve with this player. 18-20 hours on a battery? Can any other players beat that or the same price? :)

    MrCorey · Nov 29, 12:13 AM · #
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pic of david David Eisinger is a Web Programmer in lovely Durham, North Carolina, specializing in Ruby on Rails and Javascript. Take a look at (most of) his online activities, or feel free to contact him.

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