Creative Zen NX Nomad Jukebox
Creative are a well established company who are known for their audio and digital entertainment products. They have been established for around 30 years now and are one of the leading manufacturers in their field. Creative are not one of the brands which people automatically think of when pushed to name one that makes MP3 players; most people might think of Apple, Sony, Samsung or Archos. Creative's new Zen is number 7 in the top 50 most popular MP3 players which was surprising to me. What is more surprising is that the new Zen has 4mb of memory space whereas my Zen has a whopping 30!
~~~The MP3 player~~~
My Nomad Zen is silver in colour both front and back with white trim running around the outside of the unit. It is approximately 1 inch deep and is about 6 inches high and 4 inches wide which makes it a fairly bulky player compared to the more modern ones. The front panel has the word Creative written in capitals along the bottom in a raised text. Towards the top is the name of the MP3 player. There is a massive 30mb of memory in this player which can hold around 20000 songs depending on size. The sound quality is excellent through both earphones and when connected to a speaker
Just beneath is the display which when you turn the unit on displays the power level and menu list. To access the menu you use the select wheel situated on the side to the right. The menu gives you access to a range of features including track selection where you can select from song title or artist; you can even make up individual people's track lists. (A great feature when you don't want to listen to your other half's rock) Next to this wheel is the play/pause button and the fast forward and rewind track buttons. The wheel takes a little getting used to as you need to scroll and select using one finger. On the other side of the unit (to the left of the display) is the power button and a handy back button which automatically takes you back to the menu when playing a song. There is also the volume +/- buttons on this side. All these buttons are large enough to access without looking and easy to depress. The bottom of the unit has a slide to open switch where you can access the battery pack. We have never changed the battery and it charges itself when connected to the mains. The battery life is pretty good and gives around 7 hours. The top and final section of the player houses the mains connector, the earphones connector and the USb connector. We transfer music from our PC to this player very easily using the connector.
We bought this MP3 player around 8 years ago. Really can't remember how much we paid but you can currently still buy them on Ebay for around £30. It gets used all the time and has been abroad with us several times. Although bulky (not one you would want to clip to your arm and run with!) it does a good job of playing all your tracks well and easily. The sound quality is very good and the menu is easy to navigate. The best thing about this MP3 player is the storage capacity, we currently have all our music on it and we haven't even filled up 25% of the available space yet. Overall it is a good sound MP3 player and although bulky it is still a favourite in our house.
My first ever MP3 player! I've just checked on Amazon and I bought this way back in March 2004 and it still works to this day! I've long since upgraded and gone through 3 or 4 MP3 players and ipods since but my Dad still swears by it. In fact he still uses it instead of the newer Creative Zen X-Fi2 16 GB model we bought him last year.
As would be expected of such an early model, the unit is quite big and heavy and the case is metal. The buttons are located on the exterior as this was long before touch screen became the norm. Usability is not as intuitive as say, the Ipod, because of this but it's pretty obvious how everything works. The volume is a simple up and down button and the vast majority of the navigation is done with a scroll wheel on the side and pressing the button in to confirm a selection. It probably runs the risk of repetitive strain injury but it does a job!
The sound is pretty good and easily as good as the iPod and the 32Gb capacity easily allows 6500 songs to be stored on it at a good quality and very little of the capacity is lost to operating systems as is the case with more modern MP3 players. Needless to say that the unit is restricted to music and storage only.
Connection is very easy and the unit can be used as a storage device if needs be. This is very simple to achieve as you just plug it in and drop files onto it.
Charging is done via a plug socket rather than USB and if memory serves then this was the only way to do it. Battery life was quite good for the time but still a bit awkward if it runs out on the way to work because you'd have no way of charging it while you're there. Of course, this is comparison to more modern competitors.
The only real problem with the MP3 player is that it does freeze every few days. The unit will stop playing music and although the display is on will not respond to any button presses. The only way to rectify this is to remove and re-insert the battery so that the unit restarts itself. The unit then seems to reset itself to the time at which you previously turned the unit on.
Aside from this I really couldn't complain. Obviously in the 7 years since this was purchased technology has moved on massively and the list of features and capabilities of newer models mean that this item is extremely dated but I've still got a soft spot for it!
This little beauty was my first ever MP3 player and boasts a rather impressive 30gb of storage. Connection to the computer is done through a standard mini USB cable which is rather nice as it avoids the proprietry formats used by brands such as Apple and their iPod range.
The device features a number of buttons and switches which sadly lack any intuitive control, you don't 'know' where your fingers belong like on an iPod, but ultimately it's not that important as they are all clearly labelled.
Menu scrolling is done through the use of a school wheel which is pushed in to confirm a selection, although rather clever it can actually be a little uncomfortable on your thumb if you use it a lot.
The sound quality isn't bad, this will depend on your headphones setup but I certainly have no complaints in this sense.
A nice advantage is that you can simply plug into a computer and use as an external hard drive should you need to, little or no setup required here.
Also one of the few ranges of MP3 players to feature removable batteries, although boasting up to 14 hours playback on one charge having a spare never hurts, and this is easily done by popping the front panel off and simply switching out.
Downsides include the lack of USB charging, you need a seperate plug to charge from which is rather inconvenient if you're on the go a lot of the time.
Also with the device being an early version of the Hard Disk Drive style MP3 players it can be prone to jumping if knocked or bumped, hardly a huge issue, particularly if you're coming up from CD or minidisk players, but if you're used to solid state devices such as flash based players it can be jarring.
Creative Zen Xtra
Still standing up to the test of time, for a player launched in 2001 it has been a faithful companion.
The machine is a little bulky but is simply a laptop hardrive with a screen and buttons. The case wears well with brushed aluminium on the front and a blu backlit screen. Volume and track skip buttons on the side mean that you can easily adjust in your pocket without looking.
30Gb at that time was massive and has really only recently been rivalled by iPod for storage->cost
The software bundled is ok but if you upgrade the firmware to playsforsure will work with mediaplayer, mediamonkey and many others.
sound quality is excellent from the creative chip with extra dsp processing like eq, effects and volume levelling.
Access for repair is also good with the front simply popping off to replace the battery, if it does eventually break (as mine did after 6 years) you can take the hard disk out very easily and use it for something else!
This was the first mp3 player I ever owned, about 4 years ago, and it's still going strong. It's an extremely reliable player, although built like a housebrick, so not entirely ideal for using on your travels. However, as a back up device for your music collection it's ideal.
It's made of an attractive brushed metal, with a blue backlit screen. It is very simple to make your own playlists, and you can add as many as you like. It is also very simple to edit playlists, delete tracks off the player etc. The Creative mediasource software is also very simple to use.
This was supplied with a mains charger, USB cables, software and leather pouch as standard. It has a removable battery, and even after 4 years battery life is very good - easily 10 hours of constant use.
Sadly Creative have not provided any support to use this with a Vista machine, which was a real disappointment and has limited its long term use.
However, I would say that for its time it was a quality device, and its reliability is second to none.
The creative Juke Box Zen Xtra was a top i-pod rival when I purchased this nearly 4 years ago, and its still going strong today!!
This piece of kit is by no means the most portable mp3 player you'll ever come across with its dimensions greater than its apple rival in all areas. Still this player will fit into most trouser pockets, just!
Usability wise this is a very easy mp3 player to get along with. Navigation is done using an up down switch on the side of the player which can be pressed in to select each option. All other buttons such as play, volume, and skip are also located on the sides of the player, presumably designed to be used one handed providing that hand in question is big enough to do so.
The menu is simple enough to get along with, although by the standards of new models will seem a little tedious and slow. This is presented on a large enough screen with a neon blue back light, which makes for easy reading in the dark or low light situations.
Sound quality on this mp3 player is extremely good, and this is where it will beat its rivals. It can produce good sound, and no distortion of the music can be detected at full volume(if that's your thing), using a decent pair of head phones. The one provided are not great and extremely un-comfortable.
The battery life is also not brilliant, usually about 10 hours on full charge. This is only really good enough for one long round trip so is abit of a let down.
Overall this is a very good quality mp3 player. In terms of looks and styling it will loose out all day long to an ipod, but it hits back with its own ace through superior sound quality, which after all is surely a keep ingredient of a good mp3 player.
The Creative Media Source Jukebox Zen Xtra 30GB is a good little mp3 player - or not so little! I have to say, its not so small. However, mine worked perfectly for 2 and a half years before it started messing around. And even so, it still works okay, it just sometimes freaks out on me and i have to reset it. My headphones also lasted for 2 and a half years before packing in - the left earphone gets a bit more wear and tear as it is the one that goes around your head. My jukebox is now working fine with a set of 99p tesco headphones, no volume or quality problems at all.
Another thing I will say for Creative - their download/upload software is very easy to use and very quick - depending on your computer and how may songs you are trying to download at a time.
Very reliable mp3 player, very easy to use. Only disadvantage really is that its quite large.
The Creative Jukebox Zen Xtra, when it first came out, was a good machine. I bought it because of the cheaper price and higher storage capacity over the Ipod. However, since technology has moved on, the Zen has become clunky, conspicuous and slow. After you exceed about 2,000 songs (the limit is around 7000-10,000) it becomes difficult and I had to reset mine on a regular basis. That is until, after less than a year of ownership, it froze completely and I had to be sent a new one. Also, beware. It does NOT like any set of headphones not made by Creative. In it's 3 years, mine has gone through about 20 pairs (the left earphone always stops playing). Great buy at the time, but its now outdated.