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Creative ZEN X-Fi3 32GB Bluetooth MP3 Player
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Average Customer Review:
( 22 customer reviews )
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17 of 17 found the following review helpful:
Nothing to write home aboutApr 09, 2012
By Racer Xonclar
Having bought Creative MP3 players almost exclusively for years, I have to say I'm really disappointed with this one. Other reviewer's comments about the device being slow are dead on. With around 26,000 songs on it (almost full capacity), it takes up to 4 minutes just for it to boot to the menu then another 1-2 minutes to load the "Random Play All" playlist. It does zero file indexing from what I can tell and has to recache the list every single time, which is rather frustrating at times.
Battery life is acceptable; I can generally go around 7 hours solid at high volume and deleting songs along the way (which seems to use more battery power) without issue
The SD card slot /still/ does not integrate into the player's menu structure (even though I had heard it said this one did). Any songs, pictures, or videos on the SD card have to be accessed through the SD card menu...not Video, Music, or Pictures. Oh, and if the device boots with an SD card in it...it stops to cache it just like everything else.
The previous models' EQ settings are long gone, which is a major let down for me and the #1 reason I always bought Creative players. There are no custom EQ settings and as far as I can tell (with Polk Audio headphones) I can't hear the default Rock/Pop/Classical/Jazz EQs making any audible difference. It does have the X-Fi Crystalizer though...which is nice in small amounts when listening to MP3 libraries, but I view that as a luxury. The player does not even have a basic bass boost option, which is required in my opinion because of the bass difference between in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headphones.
A lot of people have complained about the responsiveness of the touch buttons, but I can say that I haven't had any complaints with that. Sure you can't mash the button as fast as you could a hardware button, but it does have the ability to press and hold to scroll. I feel the awkwardness in using it is the fault of the poorly designed, very list based menu structure than a fault of the buttons themselves. And the volume buttons being hardware buttons on the side is heaven. This allows you to drop the player into your pocket without locking it, not press any buttons, but be able to change volume through your pants.
In reference to the menu structure, previous Zen's were smart enough to give you a second list inside of every list. You would see the regular, alphabetic list, but to the side of the screen, you could scroll through the list by letter, jumping straight to G, L, I, etc. This is a great idea for very long lists (in the case of 26,000 songs), but this player is completely void of it...so you're left with just press-and-hold scrolling. Also, trying to play a specific song is painfully difficult. If you've started with the "Random Play All" playlist (which is what I generally use), you have to back out, go to Music, go to Artist, wait for the list to cache, go to the album you want, then select the song. If you want to go back to Random Play All, back out to main menu, go to DJ, select it, then wait for the full list to cache yet again. It is the only MP3 player I've actually cussed out because I accidentally pressed the wrong option and had to wait 3-4 minutes before the device will respond again as it's caching a list.
In short, I am not impressed with it and I really don't see a reason to buy this model over any generic MP3 player on the market. All of the things that "made it Creative" are void, in my honest opinion. The only reason I'm keeping it is because it /is/ filling the role I needed. My entire collection is in one place and it is a newer player so it can handle the iPhone/Android styled headset plug which is what my current headphones use. Any other option I could use for my MP3 listening either can't hold my entire collection or would require monthly data package costs (to own an Android phone to use as the player or to stream music to the phone from a online cloud storage such as Google Play or the Amazon Cloud Player)...both of which won't work for me.
So...disappointing, can't really brag about it in any way, but fulfilling the need.
12 of 13 found the following review helpful:
Worst Creative Player I've OwnedApr 22, 2012
By Paul E. Jones
I have owned two other Creative MP3 players. I loved both of them, but upgraded as I outgrew the storage space. I now need an MP3 player with at least 32GB of space, so I ordered another Creative MP3 player.
The first thing that frustrated me was the packaging. Others noted this, but let me repeat it, because it's absolutely worth understanding that you nearly need a stick of dynamite to get the player out of the packaging. Fortunately, I have a tool for opening packages, but even with that it was truly a challenge. One could not simply cut away the plastic that sealed in 3 sides. The only way to get into the package was from the bottom and one really needed a tool to cut away at it. I do not know how I would have opened if I didn't have that tool.
It came fully charged. That was nice.
The instructions are virtually non-existent. There is a tiny piece of paper with the most basic information. Perhaps that's not too unusual these days, but there isn't even a good on-line manual!
I connected it to my PC and began to copy the 2000+ songs I have to the player. I did that using Windows Media Player, as I had done with my other Creative Players. Much to my surprise, though, the play lists did not copy to the player. Of course, the "instructions" are useless.
So, I went to the Creative web site to see if there was something about this. There was. The solution involves saving your existing play lists manually in .m3u format. What a pain for most people! They do provide instructions on Creative's site (if you can find them), but they are not terribly friendly. Even so, I did what they said and it worked. However, it's not a good solution. Every time I get get new songs, I have to manually go update these special play lists before I sync.
For the tech savvy, you'll be happy to know this MP3 player does not need Media Player. You can just create your m3u files using whatever tool you like and copy music and play lists directly to the player. (So, I have this fully automated now.)
Next, it's time to give the player a try. The first time I started the player after loading it with music, it took what seemed like forever as it (I assume) indexed all of the music. I just left it alone to run for a while.
It finally finished, but each time I start the media player, it still takes 18 seconds to start. Others complained about this to Creative, I found, and Creative defended it saying the player has to go look for new music. Perhaps, but 18 seconds!?!? My other player did not take that long after I added new music.
Anyway, I plugged in earphones and ... oh, the sounds was horrible! People said the X-Fi is wonderful. I found it to be quite the opposite. It distorts the sound of the original MP3 file and not in any good way. Fortunately, I could (and did) turn that X-Fi feature off.
When you play a play list, it gives you a "shuffle" option. You can also (painfully) scroll down the list of music. There is no search feature. It's not a good user interface. For those who like to pick a specific song to play, forget it if you have very many songs at all. My old Creative Player at least had some basic features (e.g., old player would allow me to go to the letter 'P') to help me find the song or artist.
Anyway, I selected "shuffle". The first song that played, to my amazement, was the first one: it was not a random one. I did that several times. It always plays the same song at the start. Subsequent songs are randomly selected, but not the first song. It's always the same. So, you have to select shuffle and then manually skip over the first song (unless you love hearing that same first song every time). Again, a pain. This looks like a software error.
So far, some pain, some good points, but the worst was the fact that I only have access to about half my music! Recall I mentioned I have over 2000 songs. Well, I pushed the arrow to go to the next song many times, but NEVER did the X-Fi 3 select a song that was higher than 1015. It never played song #1364 or #1875 or #2001. Every time it selected one at random, it was between 1 and 1015. So, I believe that is software error #2. And this is a serious one. I bought an MP3 with with 32GB of space so I could load it with a lot of music. This is a major failure. (Smaller play lists with, say, 400 songs works just fine, though. I tested that out, too.)
The next gripe is about the "touch" interface. I really do not need a touch interface on my MP3 player, but do not care if it's there. However, this one is bad. I have to touch it several times sometimes before it recognizes a touch. I'm wondering if this is really touch or push pretending to be touch. Whatever the case, I don't like it. Really bad interface. It's absolutely not "touch" like you get on an iPod or Android phone. It's more like "touch" with... oh, heck, the buttons on my refrigerator are more responsive.
There are other gripes that are less important, but nonetheless demonstrate software quality issues. For example, sometimes the screen does not redraw correctly. Call that bug #3, though it does rarely happen.
Overall, I'm not very impressed. I've contacted Creative about the fact I cannot play songs higher than 1015 in a play list. If they have a solution to that, I'll report back. Otherwise, this player is going back. I consider this a major "fail".
UPDATE: I did hear back from Creative after a few days. The fact the player always starts playing randomly from the same song was acknowledged behavior. No hint about why the player will only play half of the 2003 songs (due to never selecting a random number above 1015). In any case, given this issue and the others noted, I decided to return it. My previously Creative player was much better than this. There's simply no comparison here. I appreciate Creative finally replying, but it was too little too late for me.
5 of 5 found the following review helpful:
the worst Creative mp3 player I ever ownedApr 15, 2012
By Marius Liesdek
I have only used Creative players since 2004, and I was always very satisfied with their quality and user-friendliness. I needed a new player with at a least 30 gb, so I decided to purchase another Creative, despite the presence of some negative reviews.
Well... I can only say that you should pay attention to the complaints described in several reviews because based on my personal experience I can verify that most the cons mentioned in reviews are true. I shall summarize the pros and cons, for this player, though I only used this player for music:
-very good sound, just like other Creative players in the past.
-the device is light and small, which I liked.
-very long startup time especially after the device was connected to the computer: you will have to wait 2-20 min before you can use the device. This was unacceptable for me.
-the interface is really clunky. The responsiveness of the touch buttons is really unreliable: 50% will give a respons to your finger tips. I found myself pressing the touch buttons repeatedly without any response.
-really slow loading times: every time when you change to another tab like albums or playlists it will take at least 5 seconds or more. It is unacceptable for me, that it could potentially take minutes to find a specific song.
-for me it was really a hussle to make my own playlists. It was not possible through Windows Media Player for me. Compared to my original Creative Zen vision M where you could create new playlists in seconds through Wind Media Player or even Creative Central/MediaSource etc.
-an ugly interface with a font that is too big, especially when going through tracklist.
Overall, I was really disappointed with this player. I do not recommend this player to anyone despite the nice features it may possess because it is a device that is very difficult to use. I will return my player very soon and look for a new version of my previous player or something else.
3 of 3 found the following review helpful:
Horrible Product - What a disappointmentJun 11, 2012
By Zuma Montague
DO NOT BUY THIS PRODUCT! It is slow, freezes up and there is no search function...you have to scroll through if you want to find a song. I contacted customer service and here is their response:
Thank you for writing in to Creative.
With regards to your inquiry, I understand that you want an alphabetized way to search for songs. Unfortunately the device doesn't support that feature.
If you still require assistance, please reply to this email and include any previous correspondence to ensure a quick response.
Worldwide Customer Response
I am going to return this item...I wouldn't keep it, if it was free. I am so shocked that Creative would put out such a product...it's awful. If I could give less than 1 star, I would.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
The worst MP3 player I've hadAug 05, 2012
The sound quality is better than average but that's about it. I can only charge through my computer which means I have to keep my computer on all night. I have a charger but it won't work with this unit. The worst part is that it runs about of power very quickly. I have read creative zen's suggestions but the unit runs out of power - sometimes in an hour or two. I have playlists on the computer that I like to sync to my player. Does that work? No. I tried with Real and WMA and when I went to playists it was blank. I went to Winamp and that didn't go very well either. I can't even see all the clips on my player. It's also hard to find songs or albums. Often I have to reset it. It also takes forever when I turn it on for it to be ready to play anything. I've had other Zen players but this is absolutely the worst I've ever had. It is unacceptable.
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