Updated: September 2, 2009 at 11:32 a.m. PDT.
For those Creative faithful who were a bit disappointed that the Zii Egg wasn't launched as a fully baked-and-branded media player for the masses, the company is about to make it up to you. This morning, Creative unveiled the Zen X-Fi2, a second-generation device that adds a touch screen and TV-out capability to the already solid X-Fi foundation. The new player features a 3-inch, touch-sensitive, TFT LCD capable of displaying up to 262,000 colors, and by the looks of it, this new Zen carries over the excellent icon-based menu found on other players in the line.
At 4 inches long by 2.2 inches wide by 0.4 inch deep, the Zen X-Fi2 is quite a bit longer than the previous-generation model and more inline with the size of the iPod Touch, though it's still smaller overall. It also appears to offer some sort of home button, but we're happy to see that Creative elected to orient this player in landscape mode, making it standout from the touch-screen masses. In addition to the updated navigational method, the Zen X-Fi2 features direct TV-out capability, though you will need to purchase a cable accessory to take advantage of it.
Other than that, the features largely carry over from the Zen X-Fi. Creative continues to offer support for multiple audio (MP3, secure WMA, Audible, AAC, and FLAC) and video (WMV9, MPEG4-SP, DivX4/5, and XviD) formats as well as JPEG and BMP photos. There's an external speaker for sharing the tunes, a built-in mic for making voice recordings, and an onboard FM radio with autoscan and 32 presets. The X-Fi2 also has basic PIM functionality for syncing calendar and contact information, and you can wake to your own music via the alarm clock feature. Naturally, the player still includes the fully adjustable X-Fi sound enhancement features, and there's now a microSD card expansion slot for adding more memory (though no word on whether the content will be integrated into your main library).
The Creative Zen X-Fi2 will also come preloaded with a variety of content, which is something that hasn't been a standard offering in the past. You will get nine eMusic tracks as well as an audiobook (James Patterson's "Maximum Ride") valued at $19.99. What is not mentioned is whether the device will offer any wireless features for updating content on the go or even accessing a basic Web browser. (And it's doubtful that this player would offer Bluetooth...or Mac-compatibility, for that matter.)
The good news is you won't have to wait long to take advantage of Creative's first touch-screen MP3 player. The Zen X-Fi2 is set to be released at the end of September in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB models for $129.99, $179.99, and $229.99 respectively.
Creative ZEN X-Fi2 optional accessories:
- Slim and stylish black leather case - $19.99
- Silicon skin protects the player from knocks and bumps, available in clear and pink - $14.99
- Customized screen protector - $9.99
- AV cable brings digital pictures and videos with audio to the television screen - $19.99
- ZEN USB power adapter charges the player via USB without the need to plug it into a PC - $29.99