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64PRO SCORE
GIVE IT AN OVERALL RATING
3.20627802690583 29 5 0
3.20627802690583
223 VOTES

The Zen is Creative's answer to the iPod Nano featuring a bigger display and larger maximum storage capacity.

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Pros

Thin and light

20 agree

Large and clear screen

20 agree

Great audio quality

18 agree

Expandable SD slot is very useful

14 agree

Good value

14 agree

Actually has buttons instead of a scroll wheel.

14 agree

Good battery life

12 agree

Supports SDHC rather than just SD cards

12 agree

Fantastic format support, especially for video

7 agree

First flash player available in 32GB

6 agree

Connects and charges with USB, no special adapters required.

6 agree
  • Only 3 words are allowed.
Cons

Plastic screen scratches very easily

13 agree

SD slot doesn't integrate well with player

11 agree

Only Plays video encoded at 320x240 resolution.

11 agree

Screen stays on forever unless the player is locked

11 agree

Weak amplifier output (40mW)

8 agree

White Screen Of Death (WSOD) on smaller capacity players (4GB & 8GB)

5 agree

Not able to read text files. No Lyrics support for Songs like iPod.

5 agree

No TV Out.

5 agree

Incompatible with OSX

3 agree

Slow interface

3 agree

Interface isn't as nice as the Nano's

3 agree

Certain M4A (AAC) files, for instance podcasts, do not play.

2 agree
  • Only 3 words are allowed.
Edit

 

The Zen is Creative's answer to the iPod Nano featuring a bigger display and larger maximum storage capacity. As of April, 2008, new versions were introduced ranging in capacity from 2GB to 32GB. One of the Zen's strongest features is its strong format support, providing compatibility with most popular audio and video formats removing the need for long conversion processes. The storage of all models can be further increased through the integrated expansion slot that supports the SDHC cards that can add up to 32GB more space.

Versions (Updated April, 2008)
  • 2GB - $79
  • 4GB - $99
  • 8GB - $129
  • 16GB - $199
  • 32GB - $299
Features
  • 2.5" display with 16.7 million colors and 320x240 resolution
  • SD card slot with support for SDHC
  • FM tuner
  • Integrated voice recorder
  • Audio formats: MP3, WMA (and WMA-DRM), AAC (unprotected iTunes Plus tracks) and Audible
  • Video formats: WMV, Divx, Xvid, MJPEG, and TIVO to Go
  • Battery Life: 25 hours of Audio, 5 hours for Video
  • Dimensions: 55 x 83 x 11.3mm (65g)

The Zen's screen is the same size and resolution as the iPod Classic's housed in a body that is similarly sized to the Nano, or a credit card as its marketed. Compared to Creative's previous offerings, the biggest change is the increase to 16.7 million colors which is substantially better than earlier screens.

Similar to other non-iPod players the Zen syncs with all the popular media software, and can be used as a mass storage device. The Zen also syncs with Microsoft Outlook and displays meetings and appointments on its included calendar application.

Post Review
Austin Welles
10/16/2009 04:06

I had this PMP (Portable Media Player) for over a year. It get phenomenal battery, a great screen, good sound quality and a great, clear, and easy-to-use interface. I have had about three other MP3 players before this one, and this one, by far has been the best.

The battery didn't get much worse over the period of time that I had it. I listened to it about 3-4 hours every day on the bus and I had to recharge it about once a week.

Videos on this PMP can't be beat. The screen is vibrant and colorful and has a screen larger than the iPod Nano. The screen does, however get scratched VERY easily, even when just placed in the same pocket as a cell phone. It also feels a little cheap in terms of material.

The music quality is overall clear and crisp. Although this isn't the X-Fi version, it delivers sound that isn't easily rivaled. The custom EQ doesn't change the music enough in my opinion and bass can come out wimpy in most cases, giving you that weak sound. It also depends mostly on the headphones, which with the headphones they include, it sounds very lame. The headphone also separated and frayed at the jack on me in less than a month.

The interface is very nice allowing you to customize exactly how you want things placed. Being able to set up the Main Menu can be very helpful and the shortcut button is very helpful, depending on what you use it for. This also is one of the few PMPs that let you change the background.

The reason I didn't write this for a year, is because I only write a product review after it is completely dead and unusable. In this case, it was my fault. I had a power cord that went to a fiber optic lamp that was very similar to the look and feel of a headphone jack. When attempting to plug the PMP into my stereo, I found that, indeed, it was the incorrect cord. The screen immediately went blank, I turned on the light, and I discovered a puff of visible smoke. I then proceeded to smell the burnt circuit. Granted, I did not have the cord plugged in long, but the battery began to get hotter during a very short amount of time. Rather than risk the battery exploding and dealing with battery acid leaking into the carpet, I threw it directly in the dumpster, realizing the death of one of the best PMP I've owned yet.

Long story short, I would recommend this player to just about anyone who is on a tight budget. I now look forward to receiving a Cowon S9 for Christmas, which I will be reviewing in the months to come.

Jaapverheggen
07/16/2009 06:32

I have the 16GB and my wife the 4GB version. I think they are great simple mp3 players that you can use occasionally for watching a show. I like the fact that it charges with use of a simple USB cable, no need to take special connectors with you when you go traveling. They are thin and light, have great battery life, there are lots of extra's you can get such as cases and screen protectors and are simple to operate.

I do not agree with complaints about the screen being easy to scratch in general for all mp3 players. When you have something portable and not having scratches on your screen is so important, you just need to protect is with something replaceable. Even glass will scratch if you put your mp3 player in your pocket with your car keys. So unless the screen is diamond, you need to apply extra protection such as 'screen-protectors'.

A real disadvantage (for me) is the fact that certain unprotected DRM-free m4A podcasts do not play.

If you want a solid and easy to use mp3 player for a low price, than you can't go wrong with this one

Timmmm
08/19/2008 05:21

Just to reiterate two of the main flaws:

* The screen really does scratch very easily! It is as soft or probably softer than CD jewel cases. Far from the iPod Touch's glass screen.

* The SD card integration is very disappointing. You can only browse by directory structure, not artist/album. When playing music if you leave the 'Now Playing' screen the music will stop.

Timmmm
08/12/2008 01:27

Having said that, the screen is big and clear. The interface is not amazing but not bad either. The sound quality is very good (iPod touch gave me headaches for some reason) and it is cheap! And an SDHC card slot is definitely no bad thing. If only it acted like an add-on to internal memory.

Timmmm
08/12/2008 01:26

You can use it with linux. E.g. Amarok supports MTP devices.

Other points not really mentioned here:

* The files on your memory card do not become part of your library. The only way to play them is to browse the disk structure. Also while playing the files from the SD card you can't do anything else (you can with files in internal memory).
* You can only import everything or nothing from the memory card to internal memory. Not critical but an annoying limitation.
* The screen stays on (i.e. you can't get it to automatically turn off after a certain amount of time) unless you lock the player. This is pretty annoying, for example if you have the player on your desk where there is no chance of accidentally pressing keys you have to lock it otherwise the backlight quickly (well quicker...ly anyway) uses up your battery life.

Btmash
05/20/2008 03:50

First, the not so good:

However, you are out of luck if you're using a non-windows machine (OS X support is kinda there though not really) - An apple product is your best bet for multi-OS usage.

The button format for navigating through the structure is also a bit cumbersome (especially when you want to go to certain parts of a video file) - the buttons seem fairly loud. Making the button clicks a little quieter would go a long way.

With that out of the way, it is quite amazing..
1) The FM radio is quite good - it has improved by a lot since first trying it on the zen micro
2) The microphone has also improved - the recording is crystal clear and you no longer need to have the person with the mic right underneath their mouth to get a decent recording.
3) Sound quality is still fantastic.
4) The design is sleek and the screen is fairly decent size - watching tv shows while on the go doesn't feel like a chore.
5) Battery life is excellent and startup time is also very good (a fully turned off ipod took a fairly long time to start back up - this one takes about 5 seconds in total).

The positives far outweigh the negatives (because I have a windows machine) and I'm very happy with it.

Amanie
05/01/2008 11:01

The 2 & 4GB versions are an amazing price for the feature set, especially considering you can use an SD card to get the capacity up.

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