"Superb sound merits good 'phones, poor navigation, battery power and storage half of advertised amt."3.5 starson by biggbrother
Pros: Glorious sound.
Cons: Poor interface, battery power and storage half of advertised amt.
Summary: I have owned the 20 GB Creative Zen Touch for two months now and have used it daily for very long periods since then.
Some thoughts on the Zen Touch, concerning: the sound quality of the player (which begs for high-quality headphones), ease of use (problematic vis a vis Ipod), battery power (significantly less than advertised if you’re listening to higher bitrate files on large headphones), and storage capacity (less than half—half!! of the capacity commonly assumed—please read this last point as it applies to all mp3 players).
SUPERB SOUND MERITING QUALITY ‘PHONES: Sound is my number one priority; it was the deciding factor in the Creative purchase. If that is your concern as well, please, for the love of Peter, buy some good headphones to go with this player. I'm not sure of the relative contribution of player/headphones to overall sound, but I've heard it said that headphones are the most important factor. I bought an awkward and clunky pair of Grado SR80 headphones to go with the player and have to say the sound is phenomenal. The combo is sufficient to reveal details on the Beatles' first record that I've never heard before (like just how incredibly hoarse John had screamed himself by the time they got around to cutting “Twist & Shout”) and that's an un-remastered, relatively poor recording, compressed to 128 kbps in WMA.
THE INTERFACE: If the Cnet reviewers are correct that the Creative’s Touch Pad interface is polarizing, then I’m one of the haters. I thought my frustration was my own personal failing until I borrowed a friend’s Ipod mini and realized the beauty of going in *circular* motions to select songs. Ease of navigation is an absolutely critical issue for any player over 20GB--you're scrolling through thousands of songs, which can get tedious. The Ipod’s scrolling motion and selection--in fact the entire interface--is absolutely intuitive. I 'got it' in the first minute, literally. By contrast, it's been two months and I'm still uncomfortable navigating the Creative's controls. The difference between sliding a thumb in a linear as opposed to circular motion seems ridiculously trite, but it is unbelievably important if you regularly select material rather than using the shuffle function. Also, Cnet is right to rail against the “thumb acrobatics” required by the too-widely-spaced-buttons; the “OK” selector button is also quite disruptively placed.
STORAGE CAPACITY: If you own a moderately sizable (300+ CDs) CD collection that you’d like to try to squeeze onto 20 gigs, you can’t do it with this or any 20GB player. As you know, you'll need to encode songs at at least 128 kbps in WMA for near-CD quality sound. The 10,000 song capacity claimed by Creative and nearly all merchants is horribly deceptive. For those with relatively large music collections, don't fall into this trap--look for a 40 GB+ player.
BATTERY POWER: The advertised battery life is premised on 64 kbps in WMA! Higher bitrates (and decent over-the-ear 'phones like the Grados) apparently suck out significantly more power. My battery life is about half of the advertised capacity.