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Creative MuVo T100


The Creative MuVo T100 bares more than a passing resemblance to Apple's first generation iPod Shuffle.  I discovered this product while searching for a small, inexpensive and simple MP3 player for a family member who doesn't wear her glasses.  The interface needed to be straightforward and needed to work without a display.  The iPod Shuffle was out, as iTunes wasn't an option for the person in question.  

We'd previously purchased a first-gen Shuffle for a different family member with similar needs precisely because of iTunes, the lack of display and the simplicity of operation, but not everyone needs or wants the overhead of iTunes, nor do they want to be locked-in to a vendor-specific piece of hardware.  

Unfortunately, most of the brand-name MP3 players these days are either iPods or require Media Transfer Protocol (MTP) for data transfer.  MTP is  a proprietary protocol designed by Microsoft that makes managing music more troublesome than traditional USB Mass Storage (UMS).  Fortunately, the Creative MoVo T100 gets everything right:  It's a stand-alone UMS-based MP3 player, meaning that it doubles as a flash drive, it's extremely simple to operate, it's small, fast, cheap and, if it's like other Creative MP3 players, it's tough.

The MuVo T100 is very small and light, feels solidly built, and works a treat in both Mac and Linux.  The 2GB version that I bought was a whopping $40.  This thing is a total bargain.  It's just a flash drive that happens to play MP3s.  The form and function is almost exactly like an iPod Shuffle.  It even shows up in iTunes on the Mac.  On other platforms (and on the Mac) it's just a flash drive, throw anything on it and play away.

The battery is rated for 10 hours, it charges over USB.  The buttons for volume and skip are actually beveled into the plastic, so you don't have to worry about paint or decals rubbing off.  Not that this would slow you down, mind you, the device could not be simpler to use.

In addition to a random mode, the MuVo T100 can play within specific folders.  To do this, you just slide the button on the side down to the bottom position.  However, the T100 isn't about storing and sorting thousands of songs, it's a small MP3 player that you can take everywhere with you and can use to share and copy MP3s easily between machines.  (Something that, by design, iPods and iTunes is pitifully poor at.  Apple.)

For this type of MP3 player, I think the MuVo T100 is perfect.  I liked the iPod Shuffle as soon as I used it.  The Creative MuVo T100 matches or tops it in every way.  It offers the simplicity of an iPod Shuffle without the frustrating arbirtrary limitations that the iPod range of players forces on people.  (Different formatting for Mac or PC, iTunes lock-in, designed difficulty in sharing and copying files, etc.)

If you're looking for a bare-bones MP3 player that doubles as a Flash drive, at $40 for 2GB, the MuVo T100 can't be beat.