I bought two Jukeboxes last Christmas from Amazon, for myself and my son. They were then £199 for the 30Gb model. It came with (rather smart) leather case, rechargeable battery which gives about 14 hours continuous play, USB cable and disc for the programme which you use to load the player with tunes - or data, if you wish.
The sound quality is astonishing - and I am assured it is rather better than the iPod. The function buttons and the menu scrolling is simplicity itself. Playlists can be created, there is a "shuffle" feature so that you can listen to any of the thousands of tracks randomly, and many other features.
A simple lead, bought at any electronic store for about £10, can be plugged into your hi-fi, if you wish to listen to it that way. A cassette adaptor can be bought also for about £10 so that you can listen through a car cassette player. To recharge the battery, just plug the machine into the mains with the lead provided. You can, of course, run it on the mains too.
We love our machines. Yes, they are less pretty than the iPod. However, since they look rather like an old-fashioned cassette player, they are much more discreet and less likely to attract a thief's attention. The leather case is a great plus.
Drawbacks? My son's crashed soon after purchase, but we sent it back to Creative and they immediately replaced it. Mine has a curious habit of turning itself on sometimes. Otherwise, it is a sheer joy, and I wouldn't trade it for an iPod, that's for sure.
I see they are now even cheaper, so they really are great value
This 40GB model connects to a computer with USB 2.0 which means that you can upload about a song a second. However if your computer only has USB 1.0 then you will get reduced upload speeds. Like i did, to remedy this it is possible to buy a PCI card with 2 or 4 USB 2.0 ports! And it is also Firewire compatable. 40GB is a huge space, considering most MP3's are only a few megabites large! If you can't fill all the space you can also transfer data files from your pc for safe keeping using it a bit like an external hard drive. The LCD display is a fair size, making it far easier to read than some of the cheeper MP3 players The software that is supplied with the jukebox is very impressive, i found it a pleasure to use. I am very impressed with the jukebox as a whole, however it is still not as nice looking as the Ipod. But the Ipod is far too expensive for me!
Before going out and buying this product I decided to do a lot of research on similar ones on the market. I wanted an MP3 player that could hold at least 20GB of data that was under £250, but there is a high price to pay for such facilities. There are 3 types of MP3 players on the market: 1) Ones that are similar to Personal CD players, although they could play MP3 data that was recorded to a CD-R. These players were the same size as a standard personal CD player. The only thing is, would you really want to write a CD every time you wanted to listen to your latest MP3s? 2) Ones that require flash memory that was merely 64MB,128MB, 256MB and 512MB. These players were very small indeed, which were designed more for putting in your pocket. However, we are talking Mega Bytes here and not Giga Bytes, this would hardly be enough for storing lots of MP3s. 3) Ones that have internal hard drives (Jukebox), just like a PC, that ranged from 10GB to 40GB or more. These players were bigger than that of the flash memory players, but slightly smaller than the personal CD players. Depending on the model you bought, some of these are quite small, but the bigger the hard drives, the bigger the player. This was the ideal MP3 player that I was looking for, as it had enough space for my MP3s and they weren't too big. Having looked at a lot of these MP3 players it seemed that Creative were one of the market leaders, and by looking more closely at their products, you could see why. I originally had my heart set on the Jukebox 2 or 3, as a mate of mine had one and they looked really good. However, the design of these Jukeboxes' were quite 'chunky' and looked like a thick CD player. After looking at reviews on the Creative Zen and what they had to offer, I was amazed. They were £290 to buy, but they did included the following: * English/United Kingdom Localisation * Stereo Sound Outp
ut Mode * EAX Sound Effects * Digital Graphic - 4-band Equaliser * Built-in LCD Display * WAV, WMA, MP3 Supported Digital Audio Standards * 20 GB Hard Disc Drive Digital Storage Media * Binaural Stereo Headphones * Hi-Speed USB PC Interface Supported * 1 x Rechargeable Lithium Ion Battery * 2 Years Manufacturer Warranty * Creative PlayCentre Software & Drivers * USB cable * Battery Charger/Mains Adaptor * Leather Protective/Carry Case Characteristics: ---------------- * Product Type - Digital player * Colour - Silver * Dimensions (WxDxH) - 7.6 cm x 2.5 cm x 11.3 cm * Weight - 268 g * Display Resolution - 132 x 64 So how many songs is 20GB's worth? Well, depending on the file format, you can store 8000 WMA files and 5000 MP3 files at 128kbps (128 is normally MP3 standard). This will probably be more than enough for most users and the need for an upgrade would be highly unlikely. The Lithium Ion battery has the advantage of 14 hours continuous play and it can be charged in two ways. Either it can be plugged into the USB port of your computer, or it can be plugged into the mains, using the supplied adaptor. Using the player ---------------- The firs thing I wanted to do when I got the player, was to upload some of my MP3s to it and test it out (we all like to rip open our new gadgets and give them a go don't we). After installing the driver and the PlayCentre software, I was supprised at how easy it was to upload MP3s. You simply connect the USB cable to your PC, plug in the player and up pops the PlayCentre software instantly. This software gives a menu system with your PC files situated on the left-hand side, and your MP3 player files on the menu on the right. It takes less than 2 minutes to upload
an album of 17 tracks, which is reasonably fast. There is a clear indication of the available space left on the player, listed in MB, and how much data has been used up. During uploads, there is also a status meter to show the upload progress. The only tricky thing to understand about the player, is where the MP3s are situated once they are uploaded. This will be highly dependent on the way they are named with both the file name and the ID3 tag (this is the part of the file that contains additional information such as the album name, year, artist, track number etc.) It is important that you include an album name in the ID3 tag of each MP3, because this way, you can identify an MP3 by both the artist and album name. There are 7 main menu listings once you turn on the MP3 player when it has been disconnected from your PC. Music Library - browses to playlists, albums, artists, genres, all tracks and recordings. Now playing - shows details of the current MP3 that is playing idependently or as part of a playlist. Find Music - search facility to locate MP3s on the player by track, album, artist, genre and playlist. EAX Audio - various sound option settings. W.Remote Recording - records voice recordings once the player is connected to a PC (I've never tried this). Jukebox Settings - contains a whole host of your players settings, from personalisation to power and language settings. MP3 Player Buttons ------------------ The buttons on the MP3 are what makes it so simple to use. There is a volume up and down button, forward and backward track buttons, menu button to bring you back to the main menu, power button to turn the player on or off (believe it or not!), playlist button to jump to the current playlist and a scroll wheel to scroll up and down track listings and albums etc. Clicking the scroll button executes other menus when clicked on MP3's
, where there are options to play, add to playlsit, remove from playlist and edit info etc. By clicking the button twice on an MP3, it is instantly played. The menu system of the player take a bit of getting used to, but once you've had a play with it and used it a lot, it becomes rather easy. What a lot of people fail to realise is that you can also use the player as a form of removeable hard drive, because you can upload any file to its hard disk and transfer it to another PC or keep it for backup. This includes files such as .doc, .exe, .jpg etc, but naturally you wouldn't be able to play them (sounds dumb I know!) Although this player is rather expensive, you will certainly not be disappointed with the product and its accessories. However, at the time of this review there were newer models coming out for roughly the same price or less, so you should check them out first before you buy. The Creative website is listed below, although you may want to try the other online retailers that I have listed for cheaper prices. Creative website: http://uk.europe.creative.com Other licensed online retailers: http://www.dabs.com http://www.komplett.co.uk http://amazon.co.uk
Guess who's back... Back again... Missbrowneyedgirl's back... With her Jukebox Zen! Hello everyone! I haven't been too far away and I've still been reading here, I just haven't been inspired enough to tell you any tales. Until now that is.... Now, those of you who remember will, will know well how much I love music in most way shapes or forms and particularly on MP3. Now imagine my delight at the thought of a portable MP3 player with a 20Gb hard drive on it. I could nearly fit my entire CD collection on it. OK, I couldn't but it's not their fault I'm a CD addict! Hang on, I'll back track a bit. For those of you who need a basic explanation (I'm normally first in the queue for one of these) the Zen is kind of a walkman but instead of using a tape you load music into it's memory as .mp3 or .wma (Windows Media Audio) files. In Layman's term let's say an average mp3 track is 4Mb in size. That means that you can fit approximately 5000 tracks on a 20Gb hard drive! Can you see why I was getting excited now? That's over 400 albums in my pocket, at all times. I nearly wet myself thinking about it! So now you're wondering what am I going to do with it aren't you? Well as I said you can use it as a Walkman, just plug in the headphones that come with it and off you go. And there we hit the first problem. The headphones that come with it really aren't very good. They are the sort that cover your whole ear, with a bar that goes around the back of your head, hooking over the top of your ears for support. Personally I find it a bit uncomfortable and the bar isn't adjustable so where the headphone are too large stick off the back of my head (very uncomfortable if you try to lean against something), the barely fit on Mrblueeyedboyfriend's shall we say larger head. However, this is a minor problem as I rarely use the Zen as a walkman. More often than not it
's plugged straight into my car stereo via a dummy tape (around £15 from Dixon's along with a car charger) and this is where is really comes into it's own, that is unless you are. To use the Zen, you use the screen on the front of the player and a small scrolling wheel on the top right which also clicks in as a button. This lets you navigate through a set of menus which go a little something like this: Main Menu ~~~~~~~~ Music Library - your stored MP3s Now Playing - the current playlist Find Music - a poor search function EAX Audio - equaliser settings W. Remote Recording - you need additional hardware to use this Jukebox Settings - machine settings Button Lock - stops you from hitting stop whilst it's in your pocket Now to be honest with you I don't use any of these options except for Music Library and Now Playing. Predictably enough, selecting 'Now Playing' displays the list of tracks currently playing on the screen. You can toggle between a full list or the current track details by pushing a small button on the left side of the player. Now just imagine you're driving and switch it on with the button on the left. You have to hold it down but not for too long or else it will switch itself back off. Watch the road, don't stare at the screen! Now scroll down twice and click on 'Now Playing'. Oh no, the wheel slipped as you clicked, you're in 'Find Music' now. Do you get the picture? It's fiddly, annoying and almost impossible to work with one hand, and that's just to see what you're listening to, never mind choose something! To be fair though you shouldn't be using it like that whilst driving, and generally I don't. I have a playlist (I'm coming to that) and that starts up automatically when I switch it on (usually before I start the engine). You can set it up to automatically show the track playing within the Juke
box S ettings option. The other main function is the Music Library which is where your tracks are stored. Clicking this gives you the Music Library menu which allows you to browse music via: Music Library Menu ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Playlists Albums Artists Genres All Tracks Recordings Entering any of these options gives you an alphabetical list of everything within that section. To play it you scroll through, click on what you want then you are presented further options of Play Now, Add To Play (adds to the end of your current playlist), Open (e.g. to browse through the tracks on an album) or Delete. Now lets go back to that 5000 track figure. Can you imagine opening All Tracks then scrolling through a list of 5000 to choose a few you want to listen to? Time consuming could be an understatement! Luckily you don't have to. Zen comes with the Creative PlayCenter - software which allows you to add, remove, and organise your mp3s from your PC. And therein lies the next problem. The software is almost as clumsy as using the player and the jukebox can only be managed using the software. This roughly translates as you can't use it on a Mac, or even on other people's PCs unless you carry the install CD around with you! Why they couldn't make the Zen an external plug and play drive, I will never know. If Apple's iPod can be used on a PC.... And that's what it comes down to. The Zen is an expensive but poor version of iPod and at nearly £100 more than it's Apple equivalent, it isn't even half as good. If I had paid for it, I'd have been very disappointed. As it was, I won it so I'm not quite so miffed! Don't get me wrong, there are really good points to the player. It's about the size of a cassette box and weighs less than my cassette walkman! It also comes with a black plastic protective case which looks very cheap and tacky but has a usefu
l Velcro b it on the back which allows me to stick the player to my passenger seat (this is essential if you drive like me and want the player to last more than 5 minutes!). It comes with a mains charger (as expected) but also, cleverly, will charge up through the USB port on your PC. Again this is only after you've installed the software though. On the plus side it does have around 12 hours playback time but it doesn't give you any audible warning that the battery is low until it simply stops playing the tracks! Come on Creative, if our mobile phones can do it I'm sure it wouldn't take too much technology to sort the Zen out. For those of you who need the technical nitty gritty, the full specifications can be found on Firebox.com: www.firebox.com/index.html?dir=firebox&action=product&pid=497 There is also a user forum. offering support and additional software, at Www.nomadness.net Zen = enlightenment by meditation. God only knows where they got the idea of naming it Zen!
I was not sure wether to buy this or a cd writer along with a cd mp3 player. They both have their strong points but the main one in this beauty is that it holds 6GB of data which is alot more than the puny 650mb a cd can hold. Hundreds of hours can easily fit into this and many of your albums can all be squeezed down in size. The main worry I had before purchasing was that I wouldnt beable to find the song I wanted from the massive list but not to worry, you simply scroll through all the names indicated on the LCD infront of the unit. All this in a unit about the same size as a portable cd player.. Amazing. Oh, and it can record MP3s aswell as take them from the PC etc. This is one of my gadgets I can no longer do without..