An Apple alternative
Creative’s been plugging their Zen line for some time now. With 4GB of flash memory, it’s a sleek little unit.
You can choose to either install Creative’s Zen Media Explorer software or use Media Player to copy music back and forth and arrange playlists and the like. The Zen uses a standard USB cable for connection.
Rather than taking the traditional screen-above-buttons arrangement, the Zen is laid out in landscape with the buttons to the right of the screen. The main control is a four-way controller for adjusting volume, stopping and returning to the start of the track. There are separate play/pause and track-skipping buttons as well as a multi-function button for managing playlists.
The Zen’s menu system was easy to navigate although it took several seconds for the device to be usable once switched on.
The supplied headphones delivered great sound — bass was nice and deep and distortion was minimal at high volumes. To our ears they delivered better output than our Sennheisers.
Video playback on the 2.5in display was clear with no noticeable blurring on fast moving objects. Format support includes WMV, XviD and DivX.
The Zen is available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB models.