"Great player, controls could be better."4.5 starson by tuamega
Pros: Sound, price, physical size, drive size, works with all software I have tried
Cons: Controls are touchy and a little awkward, need big ears for the headphones
Summary: I researched MP3 players for a couple of months before settling on the ZEN Micro. I listened to the equivalent RIO, iRiver, iPOD and several others as well as the ZEN. I narrowed my search down to the iPOD and ZEN based on screen, functionality and controls.
When it comes to controls, the iPOD wins hands down. The ZEN Micro is a little touchy and takes a little getting used to. For me, this was a secondary consideration since I felt I could work the ZEN with a little practice.
My primary concerns were sound and battery life. No comparison at the time. Apple may have made some improvements to the iPOD since I bought my ZEN in February, but at that time, the ZEN was leagues above the iPOD in sound and ability to tweak the sound exactly the way I wanted it. Each has a 12 hour battery, but the ZEN’s is replaceable allowing me to carry multiple batteries for literally days of play time if I would like. The iPOD battery is not user replaceable, holding to the 12 hours between charges. Those two sold it for me.
Another plus for the ZEN was the 5gb drive for less money than the iPODs 4gb model. Hey, I’m all for more for less.
Overall I am extremely happy with my ZEN Micro. My unit did lock up once. I simply called Creative Labs and they sent me a brand new unit with no questions asked. I have had no problems since and I use my ZEN for everything from mountain biking, in the car, cutting wood, you name it, it’s been there.
I will say that you might want to have really big ears for the headphones that come with the ZEN or iPOD. The problem with replacing them is that I have yet to find a pair that sounds that good for under $90. Hmm, $90 for a pair of headphones to be dragged through everything AND it’s mother, I don’t think so!