"We Love It"on by ilyar
Pros Beatiful design, interface, software, auto volume control
Cons Can't play music while attached to computer, no support for OGG files, no video
Summary I bought the MicroPhoto as a pre-valentines present for my girlfriend. Within 10 minutes (after we realized that we needed to insert the battery to turn it on) both of us were completely in love with the MP3 player. Originally, I was going to buy an iPod nano, but I was recommended to stay away from it because it breaks and scratches easily (from what I heard, it will break if you keep it in your pocket). Also, the nano has less capacity, doesn't play WMAs, and as far as I know, doesn't have an fm radio and the ability to record with a microphone.
I was originally going to get a white MicroPhoto, which looked great on the creative site, but when I saw it in the store, it looked very plain and boring. Instead, I got a light blue one (which is my gf's favorite color). However, it wasn't on the display at the local store, so I was really hoping it would look nice, and she would like it.
When we finally opened it up, we were really impressed with how pretty, cute and small the Zen MicroPhoto really is. It even had glitter in the blue paint. However, it does not feel like a flimsy toy... the plastic feels very solid and well put together. From looking at it, my only concern was that the battery cover could get loose if you were swapping batteries very often (as happens a lot on TV remote controls). The scroll pad and user interface felt completely natural and didn't take any time to get used to. The interface is almost identical to an iPod (except you scroll up and down instead of in a circle), and way better than that of my IRiver H400. Also, the internal hard drive is completely silent (with my IRiver, I could always hear the whirling of the disk).
Along with the player, I bought an "Action Jacket" made my "Digital Lifestyle Outfitters", which is a great soft case which keeps the controls exposed. However, the case covers the very top of the screen, which shows the name of the folder and battery level. This might be because the case was made for the original Zen Micro, and perhaps the screen placement of the MicroPhoto is different.
Some other cute features of the player are that the power switch also acts as the hold button (when you push it to the right), and that all of the buttons, including the power switch, and the outside of the player glow blue when it's on. The other things I liked are the bass boost and graphic equalizer, and the auto volume control, which boosts the volume on quiet sections of songs (with my H400, I was always tweaking the volume, so it wasn't too loud or too low). The headphones look like iPod headphones, and the sound quality is excellent. The volume goes up pretty high, but not as high as on my H400 (of course, the earphones are different so I'm not sure this is a fair comparison). The only gripe is that the headphones are not the in-ear isolated kind, so they don't block out outside sound very well, and may disturb people around you (on a personal note, I hate it when people blast their poorly isolated usually iPod headphones on the subway... it is very inconsiderate and annoying)
The MicroPhoto doesn't come with a charger, and instead it charges through the USB cord. 1 hour for 80% charge, 4 hours for full charge, as I was told (no personal experience yet). You can also buy extra batteries, which are easy to swap (just like on a cell phone). The battery is not inserted in the player when you get it, so you have to remember to put it in. We were futsing about with it for 10 minutes before we realized the battery was not inside. My only gripe is that once you install the software, the player stops playing every time you plug it in to the computer, so you can't play music and charge through USB simultaneously. On my H400, I could disconnect the player and continue charging by holding down the stop button. I skimmed the instruction booklet and could not find any way to do this, but if a way exists, please enlighten me. This might be a good reason to get the standalone charger.
Besides that my biggest surprise was how great the included software is. It integrates seamlessly into explorer, allowing you to use the familiar drag and drop interface, and has a lot of nice functionality like play-list creation, CD ripping, synchronization, etc... My favorite thing about it is that you can copy MP3s and WMAs right onto the player, and the players Artist, Genre, etc.. database is updated automatically in the background. Also, if you have media player 10 installed, you can access the player without the creative software although the functionality is quite limited (for example, I couldn't create a new folder). I'm still quite new to the player so there may be things about the software that I'm omitting here.
The photo browser is very nice and fast, and the FM radio gets decent reception. I have not tried recording yet. There is also a clock, and an alarm, and a calendar, to do list, and contacts list that synchronizes with outlook. The MicroPhoto can also be used as a regular USB drive for transferring files. (Unfortunately, you need windows media player 10 or the creative software installed, for this to work).
Overall, I'd say it is a terrific little player (and a great gift) if you don't care about support for OGG files, or for movies. The need to install software is a minor annoyance, but it makes up for it in functionality. Happy listening!
Pros Size to memory ratio is very good. Interface is awsome. Even my sister a loyal ipod fan says it looks extreamly "cute". It can be used with a neckstrap.
Cons Screen should be brighter.
I dont know what the other review was thinking it gets more than 4 hours of battery life.
"the size, sound design was perfect for me except for one thing very poor battery life"on by rockero1157
Pros transfer speed of music was fast, sound quality excellent
Cons batter life very poor mine only lasted about 4 hours specs. say it should last 12 hours. The touch pad was a little hard to control but I didn't mind that.
Summary This was a perfect match for me as I need an mp3 that is small and could hold large quantity of music. The picture feature was a plus since I would have used it in the future. But I returned this product cause of the poor battery life. The radio was not the greatest as sound was distorted most of the time.
Pros Swappable batteries ; Easy to navigate menus ; FM radio ; Built-in mic; Sounds great!
Cons No OGG Vorbis support. No video capability. Accessory market caters to iPods, so it can be hard to find a case or charger in a store. I hate to say it... No iPod interface so you cannot drop it into your clock radio.
Summary Bottom line... I love my MicroPhoto. My wife and I got ours two years ago (she got pink, I got blue) and have not had any trouble. It is about time to replace the battery, so we are ordering a couple for each of us. That way we can swap batteries on the go and have even more play time... no soldering or shipping required.
Pros Great and Simple interface
Cons Battery life....very very low
Summary This is a great machine that fell apart all because the battery life stinks. I was so thrilled until I realized that a 4 hour hike drained this player, nothing to listen to on the way back.