Pros Small size, nice/smooth design, nice screen, great sound
Cons Very slow startup, freezes randomly, short battery life
Summary It's a good mp3 player, nice looking, good sounding, not that expensive, and generally overall. So when your friends get one, it's pretty nice to play around with it for an hour. But it's different when you actually own one, you get to know it well, know its flaws just as well.
1) the buttons collect a lot of dirt and residue, and it is HARD to clean it out
2) the bass-boost function is not as good as it sounds, nothing compared to my Sony MP3.
3) there is no low-battery indication, it just shuts off and you're just wandering "the hell just happened, and why won't it turn back on"
4) the most important flaw - it just freezes. I was watching a video, and all of a sudden, it just freezes. It took over three minutes to unfreeze.
"Hidden problems."on by Larry77777
Pros Small with nice display.
Cons Interface, buttons, user can't replace battery.
Summary This was delivered to me on a Friday and the following Friday night my neighbor and professional "geek" got it working. Upon opening it, I connected it to my computer, a laptop with xP and WMP 11, and immediately Windows Explore saw it as one of the drives and I used Windows Explore to drag and drop some music files. I was listening to it and reading the instructions that said to first install their software. I installed the software. That's when everything went south. No longer would it show up as a drive on my computer. I couldn't use Explore anymore and Creative's ZEN Media Explorer did not have the ability to move files or folders around within the player like you would expect with any USB mass storage device like a USB flash drive. I uninstalled their software. I could use WMP 11. It still wouldn't work with Explore. I took it to work and another computer with xP and WMP 11 accepted it, found the drivers, and worked with Explore. Another computer with xP and WMP 10 found the drivers. The ZEN showed up as a drive in Explore but the files could not be manipulated. Another computer did something else. A string of e-mails with Creative did not avail any solution. Customer service at Creative was, howerever, very responsive. If I wrote a help request before bed, an answer was waiting in the morning. The last advice was going to get me to mess with my computer's registry. Enter my neighbor. He goes into the control panel and finds the Zen under Portable Devices. He right clicks and uninstalls it. He unplugs the Zen and replugs it. This time the computer says that it found new hardware and then it went to find and install a driver. Success! It again works with Explore. I reinstalled the Zen software and it the computer said to connect the player to finalize installation. Now I'm back to the last Friday. The software messed it up but it contains the video converter. It seemed necessary. So I went back into the control panel and uninstalled the player and unplugged it and replugged it and Explore worked even with the Zen software. I experimented with the Zen software again and it made the player disappear as a drive in Explore. I repeated the uninstall / install process again and nothing has broken for four days. This sucker could be a lot more flexible. It requires Windows xP or Vista with WMP 10 or 11.
The radio works pretty well. It is sensitive enough to get most stations in stereo. The display is 320 by 240. It's very pretty. The Zen software runs all the time and so if you right click a picture (or other media), you have a choice to send it to the Zen. It automatically reduces the picture to 640 x 480 with some additional compression. Why not 320 x 240? But if i use Canon's Zoom Browser to reduce the photo to 320 x 240 resolution, and then try to send it to the Zen from Zoom Browser, it can't find the Zen as a drive. I need to send the photo to a folder and then send it to the Zen from the folder. It should show up like a USB flash drive. The sound is good, but it could use more drive for less efficient headphones. It is probably typical. You can't browse the music in a "folder mode". That is, you can find music by playlists, artist, album, or genre but not by the way you organized the folders inside the player. The battery is not user replaceable like a Sansa E200 series player. If you are lucky, it will go dead inside the warrantee or last until you break the player anyway. The four way navigation button does not work well on my player. If I press around the center of the > button which should change the track or radio station, it activates the ^ button which changes the volume. I need to press the > button in the lower right corner to keep it from doing this. Don't want to charge it from a computer and think the Creative charger is to many $$ and should have come supplied with the Zen? You can find those 5 volt USB chargers all over the place. If you have a cell phone that charges through the mini USB port then you can use that. If you don't really need the 2.5" display and you don't mind the proprietary connector, the Sansa E200 with user replaceable battery and a metal back is probably a better, more friendly bet. Whatever you buy, even a $25 player, a good set of headphones will improve any player.
Pros Excellent sound quality, clear and bright screen, great ergonomics and features.
Cons Don't believe the 25-30 hr battery rating.
Summary Creative is hitting on all cylinders with the latest version of Zen players! I have owned the Zen Vision m as well as countless other multi-media players in the past (I can count at least 10 others). None stack up to all the pros of this newest Zen player.
For the record, this review is going to be all over the map, as there are so many things I like about this player. Beware; gushing ahead.
There's so much to love for a power user that it's hard to know where to begin. First of all I hate proprietary anything. The Zen is anything but proprietary. It plays subscription music by just dragging and dropping. Without installing the included software the Zen shows up as another storage/drive device. Some players require you to use their included "clunky" software to load copy protected songs from subscription services, but not this Zen. Again, just drag and drop.
Even the connectors are not proprietary. My phone charger also charges my Zen. It uses a standard usb to mini usb cable. The mini cable that it comes with is so short its actually funny but usb cables are so common and inexpensive that this is not a negative to me.
The sound and image quality are superb! There are also other nice features like a sleep timer, equalizer, bass enhancement, and "smart volume" which plays all songs old and new at the same volume levels! This is the first player I've owned that did all of this. Go to sleep with music playing in your ears... wake up the next morning without a drained battery and without blood pouring from your ears! Again, great features!
The layout of the buttons and the layout within the user interface are also great. The buttons are all logically placed and the connections (usb, headphone jack, sd expansion slot) feel like they are located where they should be. The interface is relatively fast and always beautiful as well as logical. It isn't ipod fast when accessing music but its close. In every other way its ipod-superior in my book.
The video playback for a 2 inch screen is actually awesome. Yes it is small but nearly the entire face is used by the screen and my movie files look and sound fantastic. The only player I've even thought came close was the Archos 404 which had a larger screen but the battery life was atrocious and the player was considerably heavier.
The only cons to this unit are minimal. The screen does smudge easily and unfortunately, it also scratches easily. So a pda-type screen protector is a necessity. Also, the battery life doesn't appear to be up to the 25-30 hrs claimed in the specs. While I haven't really tested this it appears it will be more like 12-15 hrs. Still very respectable. A carrying case in a $100 plus player would also be nice. These are why this weighs in for me as a 9 out of 10. Small and insignificant things I'd like but ultimately not that important.
Considering the credit card size of this player and its very worthy multi-media player billing, I have yet to use a player that I like so much. My only regret was not going for the 8gb unit. I'm going to fork out the money and get the larger unit even though the memory on this 4gb Zen is expandable. I like having my music and books files on the flash drive to be handled by the players very powerful interface. The expansion slot is for movie files where a 4gb card can handle about 20-30 movies files.
Thanks Creative for a very thoughtful design and feature-rich small player!
Pros Beautiful display, amazing sound, easy to use
Cons NONE at all
Summary ok well this thing is amazing, has not locked up on me once, i would assume the firmware update that it downloaded immediatly took care of this problem, The display is amazing looks like a mini-lcd TV ha, very easy to use and find songs, you can change the background to any picture you want. Wonderful player amazing screen and the GF got it for me for x-mas.
I would reccomend this to anyone
"TOP OF THE LIST"on by trapmike
Pros feature rich
Cons no dedicated volume control
Summary Beautiful design. Easy to use. Video looks fantastic. Creative software will convert to proper format. Pictures display just as good. You can sync your outlook/outlook express contact list and all it's info. The Zen has all kinds of features including alarm clock/fm radio, etc, etc. To compensate for the lack of a dedicated volume control you can program the short cut button on the front of the unit to be the volume button. I find it very easy to navigate, very light in weight and a joy to use. I feel you get a lot for your money especially comparing it to the Ipod. I highly recommend this mp3-video player.