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ZEN 32GB (Black)
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376 of 381 found the following review helpful:
Best flash player on the market, great even for large music collectionsDec 01, 2007
By Harvey Ramos
This is a great choice for those people who previously limited their flash players to workout duty, or only holding a small piece of their large music collection and having to change the music on it every so often. With a 16GB capacity most people can fit their entire collection on here without difficulty, and even have room for some videos.
First impressions of this player are very good. It is extremely appealing to the eye, everyone who sees it will ask about it. It is about the size of a credit card, just thicker (less than 1/2inch). The front is a very glossy black plastic that looks great until you touch it, instantly covering it with fingerprints :) The back is a rough, cheaper feeling black plastic. Overall it has a nice solid weight and feel to it, but not very heavy. This will easily fit in a pocket.
The 2.5" screen is absolutely gorgeous. Very bright with vivid colors. The viewing angle is very good, two people can easily look at the screen at the same time while watching a movie for example. The menus are all nicely animated and intuitive to navigate. The icons and text are big clear and easy to read.
One of the big perks to having so much capacity is plenty of room for videos. This was one of the first things I've tested as it was a big reason for my purchase. First of all it DOES play Amazon Unbox videos perfectly. Transferring files was very easy (just a few clicks) and very quick. The quality of the video was great as well. The max size of videos is apparently 320x240, I have not been able to get it to play anything larger than that. If the video is smaller (for example widescreen) you have the option of playing it at the correct aspect ratio, or fill the screen (stretched out). I've gotten it to play videos encoded in Xvid and WMV format. Xvid files were encoded with AutoGK, and the WMV files were encoded with Arcsoft MediaConverter. If you synchronize with Windows Media Player, you can put in *almost any* video file and it will automatically convert the file into WMV format and then transfer to the player. How long it takes to convert depends on the type of video you're encoding, how big the file is and of course the speed of your computer.
Music sounds very good on this player, but please... get rid of the stock headphones they are horrible. Using a decent pair of headphones makes a HUGE difference. The EQ options are OK, there are about a half dozen presets and a customizable EQ. The "Bass Boost" option just made it worse in my opinion, it just distorted the sound. Otherwise it is a very even and balanced sound, very similar to the Vision:M.
The FM radio has a whopping 32 presets and the reception is pretty good. Strong stations are in stereo, weaker ones come in mono. I haven't had a chance to test out the built-in mic.
I easily transferred music and playlists onto this player from Windows Media Player and MediaMonkey, as well as protected music (WMA) from Napster. Everything was very easy, usually just dragging and dropping. The speed of transfer is probably the fastest I've seen. I've used this player on XP Home and on Vista Premium 64-bit.
Regarding the SD cards. I think its only a slight inconvenience that the memory card media isn't directly integrated with the other content. Meaning if you have videos on the SD card you don't go to the "Video" menu where all the other videos are, you have to access them through the "Memory Card" menu. Once there, you browse through the file structure like normal. If you organize the content smartly on your cards you should have no problem. And really its a small price to pay for that feature. Currently SDHC cards are up to 16GB in capacity, meaning you could double the capacity and carry around 32GB worth of content in your pocket. Amazing. I tested a Kingston 512MB SD Card and a Kingston 2GB microSD card (with adapter of course) and they were recognized and played the content without difficulty.
A quick note about the firmware. Mine came with 1.10.05. When my player turns off, it really turns off. With newer firmwares when it turns off it goes into a sleep mode for a while before it finally turns all the way off. What that means is with the older firmware each time you turn it on it has to "boot" all over again, whereas with the newer firmware you get an "instant-on" at the expense of slightly reduced battery life (since it is asleep and not off). Something to consider before you decide to upgrade the firmware.
162 of 166 found the following review helpful:
SDHC compatibleOct 10, 2007
By Amazon Customer
MP3 players have turned into a commodity. They're not terribly expensive, they sound fine, they're very small, they're easy to use. There's really not much to say, and even Apple is tying them in to web browsers and cell phones and video players, to make them stand out.
The big advantage of this player against the Nano (the obvious competitor) is that SD/SDHC cards allows a measure of expandability. I got the 4 GB version of the player; it's the smallest version but it still lets me put my favorite 60 albums or so on the player. If I want to listen to other albums, I put them on a spare SD card and pop the card in the player, it's easy.
Of course this will be more and more of an advantage - right now, 8GB SD cards cost about half as much as this player, and I'm sure over the next year 16 and 32 GB SD cards will get released, at comparable prices. I have a very large music collection, I like the idea of being able to stick a very large collection on a very small player.
The interface for this device is, like the iPod, pretty good but not great - sometimes you feel like you're working against the menu system. The worst fault is, music on the SD card is put in a separate list than the music on the device's internal memory - it's a little clunky, if not terrible. Also annoying is that the player takes about 10 seconds to boot up, whereas the iPod turns on instantly.
The screen quality is very, very good, the included videos look excellent - on the other hand, it's a small screen for watching a movie, and converting a normal .avi file to the required format requires a couple hours. So except in special circumstances I don't expect to be doing that often.
The battery lasts a very long time, and charges quickly off USB. The sound quality is pretty good, and I've heard it's better than the Nano, but I haven't done any direct comparisons so I can't really say.
Also, be sure to update the firmware off the Creative site, it only takes a few seconds. The firmware as shipped would constantly crash when I accessed the SD card. After the update I haven't had a problem once.
217 of 225 found the following review helpful:
Excellent PlayerOct 30, 2007
By Giancarlo Carini
This is an all around solid MP3 Player. I will describe some of the pros and cons about this player. I will say right now the pros strongly outweigh the cons. I have also tested this player adequately and have tested the SD card slot which I find very nice. Despite some complaints about the SD card, I find it adequate to suit my needs.
By the way if you are wondering why I am publishing this review... I received the player from Creative where it is in stock. Amazon is taking a little while longer.
1) Excellent Sound - This MP3 Player is a bit louder, and sounds better than my previous Vision:M. I think the sound quality is quite superb.
2) Bright, Brilliant Display - The display is just stunning, and the 16 million colors really show great improvement over the ZVM.
3) Easy Navigation - I love the navigation on this player, and I really love the different themes.
4) Videos - The videos look incredibly nice... I've only played a few
5) Transfer Speed - Extremely Fast! What can I say? This is what has surprised me the most. The speed is an extremely huge difference over hard-drive based players.
6) Good Button Placement - Though small for some, I do happen to like the buttons
7) Nice looks - I really like the looks of this (this is very subjective)
8) Small Size - This is a very light player, that is only a foot print of what the ZVM was. The most amazing part is that the screen is 2.5" inches.
1) Power Adapter - It should come with one, but it only comes with a USB power cable (which is acceptable)
2) Crappy Ear phones - Eh. Buy the Creative EP-630. You don't buy a nice player and use the provided ear phones. The EP-630 are an incredible set.
3) Buttons are a bit hard to push at first - This is something others have experienced... this is true for a while.
4) Can smudge - to prevent this get the plastic case!
How does this stack up against an ipod?
It crushes it in my mind. I really think Creative did a fine job here, and I'm sure firmware will be updated constantly knowing Creative's attention to the customer.
Edit: Added a few things.
88 of 89 found the following review helpful:
Absolutely stunning gadget!!Apr 14, 2008
I've owned this wonderful little player for about a month now, and I am totally enamored with it. The direct competitor to this player is the new ipod nano, and honestly, I can't imagine why anyone would go for that player over this one. I see that at the moment, an 8 GB nano costs $189, whereas with the Zen you get 32 GB for $285! Hello?? Do the math?? Plus, as always, a Creative player has much better sound quality (they are a manufacturer of sound cards, after all...) and a crisp, brilliant screen that is larger in size (Zen's 2.5" to new ipod's 2"). Music videos look nice on it, and, my Zen also doubles as a portable art portfolio; I can show people my artwork and photography on it and it looks great. Also, as compared with ipods, it is incredibly sturdy. I already dropped it a couple of times (yeah, clumsy...)and it's perfectly fine! Whereas I have friends who have irreparably damaged their ipods by dropping them once. It's a perfect size, slips comfortably into any pocket, and has a nice, sturdy feel to it. Compared with older Creative models, it's also VERY pretty! Pretty-ness is the sole advantage ipods really had going for them before, but this new Zen is definitely on-par in terms of looks.
Also, the fellow who complained that this player is expensive compared with the larger hard-drive based Creative players - well, he's wrong to discount the importance of this being a flash player. The fact that this is a quite large capacity flash player IS a big deal. Main advantages of flash over hard drive: sturdier, much longer battery life, less prone to crash, less prone to damage if dropped, runs and loads faster. No moving parts, so it's overall more reliable and less prone to breakage. It's just a much superior technology overall.
To those who complain about the earphones that come with it: no matter what player you use, if you care about sound quality, then you don't use the earphones that come with the player!! I think Creative is good to simply include some spares and NOT charge you for what they think are good 'phones. Why? Because it should be up to the individual what kind of headphones they prefer. I've been using my Zen with Bang & Olufsen Form 2 headphones, and this combination sounds fantastic. Also, I rip my CD's to ~192 VBR; I don't hear too much difference in sound between 192 and 320, but I DO hear LOTS of difference between 128 and 192, so for me this seems to be the ideal happy medium between file size and sound quality. I would encourage everyone else to experiment and find their ideal bit rate, because Creative sound quality and good headphones won't help you if you rip to 128 bps!
A quick rundown of some pro's and con's in general:
1. As mentioned - great sound and beautiful clear screen. I don't find that I really need a case (I usually keep it in my pocket so there's nothing in there to scratch it), however, a screen protector is a MUST! I bought one with the player and put it on before doing anything else.
2. It's damn cute. Just looking at it makes me smile. :)
3. The software is fine, and I also like being able to simply transfer files just using folders.
4. The SD card slot is a GREAT idea. It would be nice if they integrate it better in the future, but even un-integrated it's very handy. I keep my videos on it and my music and pics on the player.
5. Really not expensive at all for a 32GB flash player!
6. Sturdy!!! I have dropped it without crying afterwards... :)
7. It seems to be very stable. So far I have had to reset it twice while it was docked, but this was due to my own error - both times I had tried to delete an album off the player that was set as "now playing" - so I think I confused it! But as long as I don't do anything silly like that, I haven't had to reset it.
8. Very long battery life. I've spent practically all day walking around listening to the Zen, and still have half a charge left at the end of the day. My ears get tired before it does!
9. This may not be important for all users, but is very important for me: displays foreign characters correctly. I have music on here that uses Scandinavian languages (with some funny characters) and also some music in Russian - I have had problems with other players displaying Cyrillic letters incorrectly, but not this one.
Not many con's, just a couple:
1. The cable is indeed short, but it doesn't seem problematic to me. The player is light enough to just hang off the usb port on the short cable with no problems.
2. The one major con for me - that it doesn't have a usb host function as its hard-drive based cousin seems to have. That would have been a nice feature, I hope they integrate it into the next model!
3. Indeed the screen is very hard to see in direct sunlight. But, this is another one of those not-very-important cons that I have learned to work around. If I am in direct sunlight I simply work the player while shading it with my hand or jacket, or I step into the shade. Mild annoyance, but really not that big a deal.
Anyway, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED, obviously. I can't think of any other player on the market right now that even comes close to the quality of this one. And no, for all you cynics out there, I don't work for Creative, I'm just in love with my new toy ;)
130 of 136 found the following review helpful:
EXCELLENT PLAYER!Sep 19, 2007
Surprisingly noticeably clearer screen (I had the zen vision m before)
Looks nicer than promotional pics
Thinner than I thought
small usb cable (I like it, but some may not)
Easily recognized by computer and even easier to sync
Sd card slot is a little sunken in so it is hard to accidentally pop it out
Fast sync with window media player
New interface shows album covers kind of like the new ipod nanos
If you have external speakers you can use it as an alarm clock (settings also allow you to have a reoccurring alarm, so you don't have to re-set it every time)
small usb cable
Cant rotate the screen
Software for video conversion (very easy to use)
Cant bookmark sd content
Doesn't resume playback on sd content
Might have to use an external card reader
SD card slot
-a neat feature is that I can take pics with my digital camera (canon sd 750) take out the card and view them in the player
-there is no lag time in loading audio tracks
-there is no lag time in loading video (video was 25 seconds long)
-there was about a 1sec lag time in loading pics (maybe because the pics were in multiple folders)
-in order to use the sd card as a removable drive you have to be in "removable disk" mode
-if you are in removable disk mode your player will not be seen in Windows media player, the memory card will and you can sync like that if you wish
-when I transferred files with the sd slot in my computer the player did recognize the files and had no trouble playing them
-when dragging and dropping WMV files the player would start to play it then freeze...if you use the software to convert the WMV files it plays it perfectly
-you CANNOT bookmark audio content on the sd card (bad if you want to store audiobooks in it)
-it does not resume playback of sd content if it is turned off then turned back on again
-when you "random play all" it does not include the audio in the sd content (good thing if you want to store audiobooks in it)
I had a zen vision M but I always wanted something smaller. when I heard about this I sold the M and bought this one, so far it's basically the same product with the SD card slot, refresed graphics on the user interface and a suprisingly clearer screen. It was either this, the new nano, or the samsung yp-t10...
I'm glad I chose this. In my opinion for this price range nothing can really compare
(I uploaded some pics from the player)
**************************UPDATE sept. 20, 07*****************************
-if anyone has this player please respond...
if the hold switch is on for at least 30 sec. and then released does your screen turn a blank white but the player still functions? If I turn it off then on again it works fine, but I want to know if its a glitch in the firmware. have you already installed the new firmware? please respond, I need to know if I should send it back.
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