When I saw dooyou didn't have a section for the Creative Vision W MP4, I had to request one. I received this MP4 as a gift Christmas 2007 and its still going strong, and by far by favourite peice of tekkie equiptment!
Well, as I got this over a year ago, im not certain of the exact details, but essentially it came in a relatively small box, with an image of a panda bear on the front (no idea why!) The box had a sleeve to keep to the contents protected. Inside, the vision W comes with a screen protector (vital to get staying power out of a screen this size) a USB to Mini-USB lead, a protective pouch, instructions, software CD, AV cable, a charger and some basic headphones.
Overall, the player comes well and securely packaged, and looks appealing. Under the cover the basic box is white, with 'creative' emblazoned across the front. Although, this may have changed by now as I know creative like to tinker with things like this!
The headphones supplied are basic but adequate, black in-ear headphones. Not as good as the creative buds, but better than any headphones ive had free with a player in the past. To get the full sound quality from the Vision W, i would recommend upgrading the headphones. I would suggest (as its what i use!) The skullcandy Hesh or GI's. I have reviewed these separately if you are thinking of an upgrade
Overall, the headphones are decent enough, but if you love your music clarity id suggest treating yourself to something a little more heavy duty.
I find the charger to be quite similar to the Mac G3/G4 era chargers. Made of white plastic, the chargers come in two parts. One, a thick and chunky rectangular shape which has a fairly long adaptor wire and a gap in the middle. The second part is the plug adaptor which slots into the gap. The handy thing with this is that if you go abroad regularly you can just get a second plug without needing to buy the whole unit. The plugs just clip into place.
Replacement chargers are available from the Creative Website for £15.
The vision W is around 2cm thick, and around 11cm long, so quite a large player and as such is quite heavy. The Creative Vision W is a widescreen MP4 player, and is as such, quite a large piece of equipment compared to many MP3's. The screen itself is 4.3 inch / 16:9 high-resolution LCD with colour support of over 262,000, and the bulk of the front is made up of screen.
The front is black, with a silver multi-directional button. The rest of the buttons are black with white logos; a back button, a menu button, and 'ok' button, a play/pause and a rewind and fast forward. In the left hand bottom corner there is a shiny metal 'creative' logo, and in the bottom right corner there is a speaker.
The back is a gunmetal colour, made from metal. The back is embossed with a 'ripple' in the centre, with 'vision W' written underneath. On the bottom, there is a USB 2.0, and an adaptor. On the left hand side is a compact flash drive. On the top is the on/off/lock switch and a volume control. On the right hand side is the headphone jack (standard sized) and a plastic cover, which underneath has the AV out and DC in (5v). There is a reset button for 'emergencies'.
Personally, I think its a lovely looking player. It is on the large side, but when you see the screen quality, you will see why.
The size of the vision W is 30GB. This roughly translates to 15,000 (4 minute, 64bps WMA files) or 120 hours of video (based on 500kbps in MPEG4-SP) or thousands of photos. Generally, it supports most types of media. I think in the two years I have had it i have only had two files which it wouldn't accept, but in that eventuality the creative softwear offers to convert it for you to make it suitable, so its not really a problem. On the specs, it claims to support MPEG1/2/4, DixV, Xvid and WMV video formats. Musically, it will accept MP3, WMA, and WMA with DRM (digital rights management). For pictures, it only accepts JPEG/JPG format. This may seem restrictive, but generally it seems to be fine with most things. I have also used FLAC audio and .ogg but its been fine with those too.
Continuing with capabilities, the vision W has a built in FM radio (you can only use this with headphones, as it requires them as an aerial), microphone and speaker. The speaker is decent, but not very loud or especially clear. To be honest, i just use my headphones 90% of the time. The player also has a compact flash drive if you want to boost the memories or copy photos directly from your camera. What is also very handy (i use it allll the time to save DVDs) is using the MP4 as an AV out and play films or music through the TV. If you have (beware of my techinal terminology here!!!) one of those ports with a white bit, yellow bit and a red bit you can connect it straight to the TV, or use it through a scart adaptor. The picture quality is good and it even works on the parents 50inch TV.
Battery life is decent if looked after. I still get around 11 hours for music, and 5 hours for video. The battery is Li-ion and rechargeable, and can be removed if a replacement is needed. The software supplied with the player is Creative MediaSource, Creative Media Explorer, ZENCast Organizer, Audible Manager, Yahoo Music Engine, WMP10. Is it also compatible with Microsoft outlook.
Using the player
Another fantastic point about the vision W is how easy it is to use. You can use the super-dooper creative softwear, but to be honest I don't really bother. Just connect the W to your PC via the USB to USB 2.0, right click on the song/video/picture you want to send across and click 'send to creative vision w' and it will happily put itself across. If you prefer to use the software then go for it, but i found it a little complicated and unnecessary. The vision W is also 'drag and drop' compatible.
When you turn you MP4 on, it comes up with a short 'zen' screen. When this has finished you will be taken to the main menu which is split into;
-Compact flash card.
I think these sections speak for themselves, but the layout is easy to use and very clear. Also, you can customise the layout by adding your own picture to the background and choosing a theme. Its easy to find tracks and albums as the whole player can be split into different searches (eg. albums, artists, genres..ect) You are also able to make your own playlists and bookmarks. You can randomise or repeat tracks, and the volume goes up to a reasonable (though not massive) 25. You can limit the volume and other controls in the 'settings'
The only problem I really have had with the playing aspect is when selecting 'all tracks'. This worked fine for a while, but as the player because full of tracks it seemed to lock when on 'all tracks'. I have heard this complaint with creative before, especially with the M series. I don't know if my MP4 continues to do this as I haven't tried again since i locked it last time!
For films, i find the picture clear and detailed. The screen is just big enough to do it justice, though can be a little dark at times. Essentially, the quality is only as good as the film you put on it, but it does very well to resize and play. The play flows and doesn't skip even when the capacity is full or near full. The photo quality is also decent and it is nice to put a few on there for backgrounds or just to show friends and colleagues without lugging a camera around. You can also use it as a super expensive memory stick to send the photos to other peoples computers!
Where to buy?
Most electrical retailers sell creative products, include Hughes, Dixons and Currys. You can also buy online directly from creative at http://uk.europe.creative.com. Prices vary from store to store, but is seems to have held its price at around £250.
* Microsoft® Windows® XP (SP1or Higher) or Microsoft® Windows® XP Pro x64
* Intel® Pentium® III 1GHz or AMD Duron® 1GHz
* 256MB RAM
* USB 1.1 port (USB 2.0 recommended for faster transfer)
* 170MB free hard drive space
Well, i realised i am now starting to ramble (!), so I thought i better conclude myself! Looks wise, i love the creative W. It has all the style of the ipod, yet it has the musical and entertainment substance which i believe all the ipods lack. The W is very customisable to suit your needs and the video quality is fantastic. Its also pretty bounceproof! I have dropped it so many times, even spilt paint on it and it still goes!
The only downsides are the weight and the size might not suit everyone, plus it doesn't seem to cope as well as it could with the tracks its able to hold. Other than that I have no criticisms, i have had this player over a year and it seems just as current and relevant as it was the day i got it. Give it some TLC, and this player will serve you very well. You really get the full 9 yards with this one, its like an entertainment system in your pocket. Trumps any ipod, anyday.
Just one quick tip - use the screen cover! It saves so many scratches and scrapes! I also brought a leather look case. This has kept it looking as good as new and well protected.
(please note, all technical information is found from the Creative website to ensure accuracy)
- this review is also posted on ciao under the name famous.last.words -
Creative's Zen Vision W is the widescreen multimedia MP3 player for movies, music and photos. Its high-gloss, scratch-resistant 16:9 display with adjustment makes all content fit the entire screen, and its large hard disk stores up to 120 hours* of movies, 15000 songs** or many thousands of photos. The player has a Compact Flash slot for the transfer of stills from digital cameras, and it supports popular movie and audio formats as well as Album Art and customised wallpapers. Additional features include a built-in FM radio, a microphone for live recording, and connectivity to external TVs and speakers.