Pros Lovely design - Display contrast is clear and readable.
Cons Works with Windows XP only (in US) + confusing organizer and no cradle or case.
Summary I've had the player for 1 week now. It looks great and feels great. It's a bit heavy - but feels substantial. It's got great sound and the Headphones really deliver that great sound.
It only works with Windows XP (in the US) according to customer service at Creative. At the time I bought it, the website said it worked with Windows 98se and up. I'm a Win 2000 professional user - luckily I have another computer (not my main one) running XP. Oh well. Also the included software is a bit confusing in it's organization, and it doesn't mirror all the available options in the player itself. So either I'm not using the software correctly, or it's not worth using. Configuring options on the player itself is a bit of a challenge as well. After about 20 minutes or so you should get the hang of it. Also my package didn't come with a cradle or carrying case. Guess that's why I got a Deal at BestBuy ($187). Anyway, I'm truly loving my gospel music. I'm very interested in uploading audiobooks to the player as well. Make sure to purchase an extended warranty, and get a case from Podsplus.com. Everything gets dropped - don't have this player looking as bad as your cell phone. Hope this review helps.
Pros Sleek as the name suggets,cheap for a nice 20 gb,good sound,voice recorder,fm radio,very durable,big screen,shorter and skinnier than ipod,good navigation for large lists,neat DJ feature, quick charge
Cons only for windows XP, poor battery life at 14 hrs, dust tends to get behind screen, skips periodicly,
Summary I really like this player a lot. The style is similar to the iPod, but people will take a second look at it. I got it for 250, rather cheap for this nice, feature packed player.
I dropped this player from about shoulder level onto hard tiles, and it remained great except a minor dent on the corner, which is to be expected.
The player only works on the Windows XP, so if you don't have that OP, you can't download music onto the player.
Dust tends to get behind the screen, obsuring visibility a bit. I use this for physical activity, and it skips about once every twenty mintues during the time I use it for activities.
Now, the micro is imfamous for the headphone jack, and this player has a similar headphone jack design. I have had this player for a good amount of time, and nothing has happened of that sort. I'm just crossing my fingers that it will never happen.Updated
On the Creative website, it says the sleek works for multiple systems. However, in the U.S. and on the U.S. creative site, it only works for XP.
Pros Lots of disk space (20GB), intuitive UI, voice recording capability, nice sturdy design
Cons Proprietary USB/DC two-cable system really bites, sensitive slide button, backlit screen a bit dim, non-removable battery, sync problems
Summary Had nothing but bad luck with media filenames getting corrupted on two (2) separate units that I ended up returning (more on that following). Absolutley could not stand the proprietary USB/DC combined two-cable system. Why didn't they just use the same standard USB cable interface found on the Zen Micro? It was a drag always having to lug the USB cable with me on-the-go (whereas I have the standard USB interface cables available everywhere). DC adapter only plugs into the USB connector (should have had a dedicated DC adapter input). The sensi-touch slider was extremely difficult to use for scrolling one-up/one-down, even at the lowest sensitivity setting (try that while driving in the car). Not sure about the audio quality since I mainly played it through the car aux input, which sounded great amplified and EQ'd. Although the voice recorder was a great feature to have, the recordings from the built-in mic would often pick up the motor-whining sound from the hard drive motor.
Not sure why, but the unit totally screwed up my main computer's USB interface ports. Within my first hour trying to sync MP3s using Windows Media Player the unit locked up after just completing a sync, and had hit the hard reset pin button to reboot it. Ever since that time, when connecting the USB cable the unit always locked up and gave an error "USB Device not Recognized. One of the USB devices attached to this computer has malfunctioned, and Windows does not recognize it." This appears permanently screwed for other Zen products too. When separately testing out a friend's new Zen Microphoto 8GB it gives the same USB error, and locks up the unit the same way. It also wiped out a fully working 10-in-1 USB card reader from being recognized. All these USB devices of course worked just fine when plugged in to other PC units in the house. Who knows.... this may have just been a fluke with my Sony VAIO desktop. Anyway, I ended up having to resort to my laptop as the main media sync unit.
Now for the media filename corruption issue.... This same problem happened on two separate units. Occasionally I prefer to copy miscellaneous media files using file drag & drop which preserves the folder structure in which I store my files, as opposed to always syncing with WMP which re-arranges files (e.g. \artist\album-name). At first when I do this everything appears to work fine. At the time I unplug the USB the unit takes a short moment to re-build the music library. But afterwards when I explore the unit's file system I noticed that many of the filenames got totally corrupted. There would be some files with no name at all (looks like a blank file name). Some would have their main file name, but with their .mp3 file extensions removed. Then there would be some files that got completely renamed to files belonging in totally different folders! (imagine seeing AC/DC songs within a Fleetwood Mac folder, or KISS songs within a Neil Diamond folder, etc.). But interestingly, because the original MP3 ID tags were still preserved in each file everything showed up correctly from the unit's main interface, and all the music files still played fine on the unit. However, the bottom line was that this was going to present a major file management nightmare for me.
So in the end both units were returned. The first returned unit was further complicated by not being able to add/delete files to the unit anymore once the file system corruption occured (couldn't even manually delete them from unit directly). The second returned unit didn't have that problem, but was so already screwed I couldn't risk keeping it, especially without buying any extended performance warranty. So Best Buy graciously accepted the returns... twice.... after showing them the problem each time.
So that was enough of an experience with the Zen Sleek that I'm still a little reluctant to buy another Creative Zen based product for the time being.
Pros Value, size, compatibility, features
Cons cable and adapter design just plain stupid!
Summary I just purchased two of these for my teens. But its back to the drawing board. And back they go until I find a more intelligent solution.
It was already a struggle to decide between the trendy iPod the less proprietary Creative. The high price and proprietary iTunes swayed me over to the Creative Sleek. And it is smaller and nicer looking than the Creative Touch. It appeared to be just the thing and I got a good deal from the store with a $50 gift card on each unit.
I already own a Creative Zen Nano Plus. I purchased this for its portability to wear during bike rides and also to learn the technology. I love the fact that it takes just one cable and works without fuss with Windows Media Player 10. The only thing was the limited capacity. ALthough it uses only one AAA battery, these do not last. Also, it is difficult to operate due to tiny buttons. So I figured my teens would want something with much greater capacity and easier to navigate. Hence, the Sleek.
I think there are many comments already about the positive aspects of the much of the Creative lines. So here I'll just focus on the negatives (sorry cheerleaders) that have really got me upset...quite upset :0
Here's the problems. I tried one out prior to wrapping it for the Christmas tree. It works as expected. But there is one major flaw: the absolutely dumb proprietary connector and separate charger. Not only is this bulky and a pain to have to carry around the A/C charger for trips, the fact that I can not just buy a replacement USB cable is a show stopper.
Why not just use standard USB connectors inside the unit? Is this the trade-off for size? Or some product marketing genius' strategic design for add-on revenue? The whole idea of portability goes out the window when you have to keep up with not just one, but two other pieces of equipment. If you lose the cable or it goes bad, your hosed.
The other lesser gripes are the battery, which is non-replaceable and the headphones. Expensive technology like this should be "maintainable." Also, the headphones sound okay but are very uncomfortable. The little foam surrounds get lost, too.
I hope the next big differentiator between the MP3 player vendors will be to one-up each other with more standardized connectivity, better included ear buds, and user-replaceable batteries. Why charge me over $250 for a player and force the burden of these on your customers?
With many new designs coming on-line now and next year, I think its time for the engineers of these products to become more considerate of users day-to-day usage of their products. Nobody wants to hear negatives about stuff they buy for fun, but I hope more consumers will demand better design. I think the engineers who design this stuff are smarter; tell the product managers who control the final product release to wise up.
Pros Compact design, 20gb, 18hrs battery life, 97db SNR, FM Radio, excellent touchpad controls, and looks great.
Cons Slightly expensive at $249.99 (retail), not enough accessories at time of release, velvet-like carrying puch.
Summary After much research I finally decided to purchase the Zen Sleek 20gb Mp3 Player and I'm quite happy with this unit. I also considered the Dell DJ, Zen Touch, and Zen Micro. I also thought about the iPod for a few seconds - but it doesn't take long to realize that beyond a pretty case, the Zen and DJ line just offer so much more, for less $$$!
As is the case with many folks shopping for a good mp3 player; I needed an Mp3 player that was compact, had above average battery life, at least 20gb of storage, and a few extra features to keep it interesting. But most important of all, it MUST have good audio quality (97db SNR)! Well, this Zen Sleek met all of my goals and more!
Here is what I found while doing some research this weekend both on-line and in the local stores. The Dell DJ, while cheap, simply didn't offer any of the features or battery life the Zen Sleek offered. The iPod had "average" battery life, no nifty features, too expensive, and isn't fully compatible with other music formats. The Zen Touch does have the best battery life ever - but it's way too bulky and the LCD isn't very bright. And with a max storage of 6gb, the Zen Micro just didn't have enough space for my needs. Otherwise, it would have been my 1st choice.
So, basically I can't find anything wrong with the unit itself. For this reason, I'll give it a 10 rating and consider this unit highly recommended.