I'm in La Jolla, about a mile from UCSD where I'm a grad student (for the time being, anyway).
No line out.
The touchpad has acceleration and coasting. If you move your finger faster, the cursor moves faster. Coasting is where if you scroll and keep your finger at the top or bottom of the touch pad on the edge/border you can physically feel, the cursor will continue to move in that direction, which is helpful for moving up/down long lists or scrolling thru a song. The touchpad also acts as a button. So you can scroll up and down, or tap it to select.
The new UI/interface is absolutely amazing compared to the NJB3. It's fast, efficient, and requires little thinking or button pressing. Yes, the Micro as OTF playlists. What's really nice is that it's embedded in the "now playing" itself rather than being a separate "on the go" playlists like the iPod.
So let's say you want to play an album or artist. Go to the album or artist and hit play. Then say after that album, you want to add another album or artist. You can add it directly onto the currently playing music, so there's no need to stop what you're playing and make a new/separate OTG playlists like on the iPod. Or like before you can just immediately play another album if you want, there's no need to actually "clear" the current playlist. You can also save playlists on the player. What's also nice is that unlike the NJB3, when selecting an album or artist with the touchpad, you don't have to press the button again to open the folder, since selecting it will open the folder by default. If you want to add it to the currently playing rather than open it, there's the menu button to bring that option up.
Since OTF playlist is embedded in the now playing, if you select "now playing" from the main screen, it shows you the currently playing song (like the iPod). If you then pres the touchpad, it brings you to the current playlist. This feature is really HOT! Because on the iPod, if you're playing an album or playlists and you go out to the main menu....you can go to now playing but that will only show you the song that's playing. If you want to see the actual list of songs that are being played, you have to go find that album or playlist (if you remember what you're playing exactly) by going thru the artist or playlist listing.
Since using it as a USB drive require selecting a partition size on the player itself, if you don't have enough free space, you can delete songs on the player itself to create free space. Nice to know.
You can scroll thru songs by either holding down FF or RW, or scroll thru a song using the touch pad, a la iPod.
The menu options are very handy because you don't have to scroll thru menus to select options. For example, while a song is playing, you can press the menu button to:
- change the play mode
- view track details (shows artist, title, album, track, year, genre, playcount, bitrate - something the iPod really needs)
- remove the track from the now playing
- set bookmark
- "lookup artist" which automaticaly brings you to the artist page that displays all albums by the artist (very cool)
The screen on the Micro is sooooooooooo much better than the iPod mini. The resolution isn't much different, but Creative uses a smaller font. So for the song that's playing, you can see title, album, AND ARTIST along with all the normal info. If any of those are too long to fit on the screen (and they'd have to be really long because the screen is wide) then each will scroll, unlike the iPod where only the title scrolls. When searching thru artist or album, if one is too long, highlight it with the cursor will make it scroll (a feature Apple copied for the iPod Photo).
If you turn off the Micro while a song is playing, when you turn it back on it'll continue playing at that point.
Start-up time is as fast as the iPod. Wake-up time from sleep is instant (well really like 0.25 seconds). But I think it may actually "turn off," like the iPod after 48 hours of no use, where it goes into a deeper sleep state (shuts off power going to RAM to save battery), but I don't know the time limit for it. Boot time from deep sleep is maybe 10 seconds, much faster than any iPod. Shut down time is about 10 seconds, which I think is too long, but I'll probably just let it go to sleep on it's own after 5 minutes idle (user changable seting).
Right now, my only complaint is that at the top where it shows the name of the menu you're at and where the battery meter is, it doesn't show a play/pause/stop icon so you can tell if music is playing or not. But it's not essential since you can tell that if you have headphones plugged in.
Overall, I'm 100% satisfied. The Micro works well. On top of that, it's full of features. It's well-designed - the unit is physically sturdy, and the OS/UI is more advanced than the iPod's. Of course it won't be as simple as the iPod, but having all these extras doesn't make it much more complex, hard to use, or hard to understand.
At this point, I think the iPod needs to play catch-up. The iPod is still nice, but it's getting too plain and simple and boring looking (except for the color interface of the Photo). I'd really like if they would add the easy/simple things things like track info, lookup artist/album/genre, and DELETE into the now playing, so when you press the center button you can come across a listing of those options. Also, they need to start using a smaller font on all their iPods, so more info can be displayed. Cell phones have smaller text and I doubt people are going blind. Scrolling for album and artist also needs to be done, especially since the font is so large they don't always fit. Custom EQ??? And if you know Apple, when they add those features they will NOT add them to older iPod versions.