Creative's latest update to its Muvo range of players should provide a fitting riposte to the fuss Apple has made about its iPod Shuffle (April 05, page 52). Like the Shuffle, the Muvo V200 is light, white and perfectly formed, but there's a little bit more to it than that.
For one thing, Creative has held on to the display - a small but important design detail that gives you access to the Muvo's various facilities.
These include a variety of play settings - a clear advantage to anyone who wants to choose what they listen to rather than leave themselves at the mercy of their entire music collection, as is the case with the iPod Shuffle.
The V200 also uses standard AAA batteries, so finding a replacement no matter where you are in the world shouldn't prove a problem.
However, it's worth noting that Creative's software doesn't seem to allow you to import playlists to the Muvo - you have to resort to dragging and dropping files in Explorer.
We reviewed the 512MB version, but there's a range of sizes and prices, from 128MB to 1GB. You get about four hours' worth of storage for each 128MB, and value for money increases as you go up the range.
The V200 includes a voice recorder and FM radio - both natural additions for an ultra-portable audio device. We found the radio's autoscan function a bit hit-and-miss, though - on successive scans it found 10, 11 then 24 stations, and Radio 4 only turned up in the last attempt. It is easier to tune it by hand, but on the plus side you can record from the radio.
This last task was easy enough, as it used the Muvo's simple and intuitive slide-and-push jogdial, which also accesses the device's menu system. It doesn't take long to set up, which is lucky as all you get to help you is a 'quick start' guide. Should you need more direction, the Creative website has in-depth guides.