Creative Digital MP3 Player 2

While most people prefer the capacity and versatility afforded by CD-based portable MP3 players, there is no doubt that solid state players are still the best choice for anyone who wants a small, convenient and guaranteed shock-resistant portable music player. Creative's new DMP2 (Digital MP3 Player 2) is one such unit, housing 64MB on-board memory that is expandable via one available MMC (MultiMediaCard) slot. It's not restricted to playing just MP3s, as it is able to play back WMA files, and can also be used to record up to four hours of voice through its built-in microphone.

The player has well displayed controls on its front face, as well as a jog dial plus switches for playing mode, treble and bass on the sides. A diamond-shaped backlit LCD relays track information such as the encoding rate and elapsed time, and battery and volume indicators are also displayed.

Digital Audio Manager is the program used to interface with the MP3 player, and it employs a very simple Windows Explorer-style design, although it doesn't accommodate drag-and-drop operations. The player is USB equipped and takes just under three minutes to completely load with music files. It doesn't need to have the batteries installed for files to be transferred to and from it, for the USB connection provides the power required. Battery life during regular use (and depending on the type of use) is touted as being as much as 10 hours. Continuous play at the maximum volume level gave over nine hours of playing time in my longevity test.

In brief: Creative Digital MP3 Player 2.

It may seem like a lot of money for a music player that's not as versatile as a CD-based unit, but this upgradeable, solid state device is great for anyone who wants an unassuming, good quality listening device while enjoying an active lifestyle.

Price: $299.

Phone: (02) 9666 6100.

URL: http://australia.creative.com.

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