"Great player with few functional shortcomings."4.0 starson by DMBFan41
Pros: Great sound/video, great interface, easy-to-understand and use controls, great battery life
Cons: Touch pad controls take some getting used to , a few functional problems, easy to scratch
Summary: I've had this player for about 2 months now, and I'm thrilled with its performance. It met and exceeded my expectations in performance. I love the shortcut key (mine is set to Random All), and despite cnet's review, the touchpad acts as a dedicated volume button, which is really convenient. The software is pretty straight-forward, although I have no idea why Creative uses so many programs. I only ever use MediaSource for transferring. The video function works great and has beautiful resolution. There are a few things to watch out for:
The touchpad control takes some getting used to. It has three sensitivity settings, so try them all out. My main complaint is that you have to be very careful about where you touch it to select things. I became frustrated when creating an impromptu playlist, because instead of scrolling down to select "Add to selected", I would end up selecting "Play", thusly clearing my playlist and having to start over. Stopping in the vicinity of the item you want in a long list takes some finesse, but using the "Find Keyword" option remedies this. The learning curve really isn't any different from another player, just takes some practice. One thing I'm confused by is the rating system. You can rate songs 1-5 stars, but the you can't play by rating? This may have more to do with its sync function with WMP, I'm not sure, but I'd like to be able to play by rating. Also, creating an on-the-fly playlist can be a little frustrating at first, because when you select the first song to play, it adds all of the songs on that album to the playlist, so you have to remove all of the songs you don't want on the playlist. This may be user error, but I haven't found a way around this yet. Also, when skipping ahead tracks in Random All, on the 8th or so track, the player freezes up, and you have to reset it. I have almost 2500 tracks on it right now, so it may be an issue with just the number of songs, but it's a little annoying. My last complaint is how easy this thing is to scratch. I bought a third-party silicone skin, but the face still shows some scratch and rub marks. These are all personal preference things, though, and overall, this player is awesome. If you want a legitimate iPod killer, this is it.Updated
I hadn't downloaded the new firmware updates, but the 10.19 update apparently adds the "Highly Rated" and "Yet to be Rated" play options to the DJ (this update also removes the FM recording function, something I never used anyway). I haven't installed the update yet, but it looks like at least one of my issues is resolved. It's not enough to change my rating, but it's a nice added touch.
Updated on Apr 6, 2009As I get ready to move on to a larger capacity player (Zune 120), I thought I'd update my review. I've been using the ZVM for over two years now, and it's done everything I wanted it to. I had to replace the first unit I bought because I bumped it on my gear shift and caused the hard drive to crash. The second one, though, has been incredibly rugged. I've repeatedly dropped it on the thin carpet at work, and occasionally on pavement when getting out of the car, and it's still working fine. I'm really gonna miss the shortcut button (set to Shuffle All). My only lingering complaints about it are its buggy firmware (sometimes the artist list disappears and I have to go all the way back to the main menu) and the fact that skipping through tracks sometimes causes the player to lock up, requiring a reset (this only happens when in Shuffle All mode, and it's full with 6,000 tracks on there, so that could be causing it). Otherwise, this is a great player, and I still highly recommend it.