Aside from price, the main differences among the cards in Creative's Audigy 2 ZS line are their bundled software and components and how those components affect installation. The actual sound card itself is identical. (For a full review of the audio technology behind the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer LE and the other Audigy 2 ZS cards, please see our review of the Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro.)
The Creative Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer LE is the simplest card to install out of the Audigy 2 ZS line because its hardware consists of only a PCI card and an optional joystick port-expansion panel that connects to the sound card via a small ribbon cable and resides in a card expansion opening. Hardware installation should take only a few minutes.
Once the hardware is ready to go, you're faced with a potentially daunting decision: which of the five bundled games to play first. The action-heavy bundle is an excellent assortment of shooters. You'll find Halo: Combat Evolved, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six 3: Raven Shield, Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell, and Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness. Of these, Halo is considered one of the greatest first-person shooters to grace any platform, and Splinter Cell presents a polished, challenging third-person espionage experience. Also of note, Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy is one of the few games on the market with support (via a downloadable game patch) for Creative's new EAX 4.0 Advanced HD software and its advanced environmental-processing effects.
One of the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Gamer LE's few downsides is that although the card itself features the same 7.1-channel output, 24-bit/96KHz audio resolution, and gold-plated contacts as the other Audigy 2 ZS cards, its input and output options are comparatively limited. Inputs for 7.1 speakers, a coaxial digital out, a line in, and a microphone in are the only options. With no additional port component, those with larger audio ambitions will find this particular package lacking.