I Don't Know

iPod mini, Creative Zen Micro, MuVo or iPod Shuffle?

Seeing that most of my birthday gifts were money, I've decided I can afford the luxury of having an Mp3 player. And since I decided not to do anything else than to focus on my finals.... I've been doing a lot of research on mp3 players , so, seeing that I've spent waay too fucking much time on this, I've decided to share what I've discovered with the world, in kind of a review.

The 15-40 gig models are really too expensive for me, and who needs that kind of space anyway? Unless you've made your entire music collection in to apple lossless, the 6 gigs of the mini will probably be more than sufficient (if not, it's time to go through your collection and delete the stuff you don't like)

So out of the three major kinds of mp3players that are out these days, it seems I'm after the two smallest: the flash stick and the small harddisk player.

After looking around, it seems the best players in these areas are from apple and creative labs. The main players in this market. So let's get started. Here are the contestants:

From the left: ìpod shuffle, MuVo v200, Zen Micro and the ìPod mini


- The smallest player is the shuffle, no question of it - it's smaller than a pack of gum. Closely followed by the MuVo that's bigger due to it's battery compartment. The Zen and the Pod are pretty similar in size, but the pod is taller and slimmer than the zen. Like so:

Size really isn't an issue with these things, though, seeing that they're all are small enough to fit in most of those little pockets that are inside the pocket on the righthand side of most jeans. Called the "coin pocket" in Norwegian.


The ìPod is the obvious winner in this category. The design on the zen has too many crummy details to be goodlooking on this scale. The mini is constructed out of one seamless aluminium shell with a white circle and a rounded rectangle on it. The zen is all plastic with disturbing (but necessary) creases. The "mezmerizing blue glow" of the zen also helps enhance this "designed by a 14 year old wannabe-hacker" feel of it.

The zen's hypnotizing glow

That said, both the mini and the micro have accessories avaliable to hide the player in all kinds of neat ways.

So does the shuffle and the MuVo. But in this case, I'd say that creative have actually (accidentally?) come up with the better looking design.

The MuVo has a kind of "old fashioned car" feel to it. If the case was made of metal, it'd be no contest, but it's plastic. The shuffle, on the other hand, looks like a boring piece of white plastic. The battery compartments of the MuVo (the red bit) are exchangeable.


The Zen wins on sound, according to a test I read. The testers used all kinds of fancy instruments and even a listening room, so I trust them, but I won't write up all the numbers here.

These are differences that are only hearable in listening rooms, though. On the street or in the gym you won't hear any difference. Bying a new set of earphones to get max quality sound out of your player is reccomendable in all cases.


Both the shuffle and the MuVo work like memory sticks, so there's no real problem here. You do have to use iTunes to transfer music to the shuffle, though there's a plugin for winamp available to go around this.

The shuffle has two play modes: straight forward and random, the MuVo has this plus more, it also has a screen, and the shuffle doesn't, so it really is no contest.

The opposite is the case between the mini and the micro, though. The mini's clickwheel beats the zen's... area thing by far. You navigate the menus of the mini by dragging your thumb in circles around the wheel and clicking in the middle. With the zen, you tap and drag your thumb downwards or upwards above or below the middle depending on what way you want to go in the menus. Then tap in the middle. These are small players, and the mini's design clearly gives more space for movement. With the ìPod you can also clearly feel a *click* when you press a button on the clickwheel or in the middle. With the Zen, you'll frequently find yourself clicking while you meant to be dragging.

I think this is a matter of practise, though, and I'm sure the micro is usable , but not without training. The menu system of the iPod is also a bit better.

You have to use iTunes to transfer songs to the mini, but you don't because you can get the winamp plugin It also works easily to transfer non-music files.

The same goes for the micro, except the program you have to use is not as good as iTunes, at least in looks. There's a winamp plugin on the way. You can also use windows media player 10 or windows explorer.

To use the zen for other stuff than music, you have to partition it (only up to 2gb) and play with some settings. Slightly annoying, but hardly a fatal flaw.

The micro and mini both use harddrives, these are more easily damaged than the flash drives of the MuVo and Shuffle. So if you plan a lot of jumping around, get one of those.


The functions of the shuffle and MuVo have already been mentioned. They play music and store files. The shuffle can store 512mb or one gigabyte depending on the model you buy. The MuVo does 256 or 512 and probably one gigabyte in the near future.

The micro and mini are both available in 4gb and 6gb. The micro is also (and most commonly) avaliable in 5gb. The 5gb micro is the same price as the 4gb mini and the 4gb and 6gb micros are also cheaper than their ìPod counterparts.

The micro beats the mini in functions. It has an FM radio and a buildt-in microphone. IMO the radio thing is no big deal, but the microphone is important, especially since apple has made the mini so it won't be compatible with the microphone adapter that's avaliable for the other ipods. (This may be fixable by a hack, but there's no such hack out at the moment.) The ìPod has some small games, like solitaire and "guess what music is playing".

I'm not going to post all the functions, but here are the propaganda pages for the Zen micro and the iPod mini . (while you're there, check out the TV ads for the iPod!)

The ìPod seems to beat the Zen in avaliable accessories, it is a fashion item after all.

The zen can be used with a host of different download services that the ìPod can't, because it supports wma. The ìPod can only (as far as I know) be used with iTunes. This is all fixable by getting extra programs to convert and crack files, of course. They both play mp3's (duh) so if you use.... less legal download services, you'll have no problems.

"Functions that aren't in the box"(yes, hacks)
There are a lot of geeks around who're toying with the ìPod. Linux has been installed, fonts and graphics have been changed and games installed. These things aren't done the mini... yet. But I think they will be.

Seems "creative" didn't want anyone hacking their product, so no hacks are available for the micro... yet. According to my prejudisms, hackers are people that put function over form, so there will be hacks . There just aren't any yet.

I doubt there are hacks for the shuffle or MuVo


Without considering price I'd say mini>micro>MuVo>shuffle

The mini beats the micro because it's easier to use and better looking. It's a close race, though, because of the micro's superior sound and it's microphone and radio. So if these price is a major factor, and you plan to use other download services than iTunes - you might want to go with the micro.

The MuVo crushes the shuffle. It looks better, I think it has better sound and it's got better functionality. There is no 1gb version of the MuVo as of now, but there will be. The MuVo and Shuffle are both a bit more than half the price of the mini and micro.

So there you are. I'm off to get a mini, anyone know of any good earphones?


Post a Comment

<< Home


This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License
(unless otherwise specified)


Get Firefox!