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Well, me and my Creative Zen Photo have had what I like to call a "love-hate" relationship.
I've owned it now for around 5 years after buying it, I think, in 2005/06 for the princely sum of about £100 on special offer from Argos. At the time, this was significantly undercutting the iPod. Looks-wise, its quite nice to the touch as its made of nice plastic and brushed aluminium. By todays standards however its quite heavy and is a bit of a brick.
The 20GB storage space had proved to be more than enough to meet my needs. I enjoy my music, but I would not say I am a music "buff". I probably download about 5 albums per month. I still to this day have 8GB free on the player. Aside from music, the player can also store photos and other files as it can be switched to "external hard drive" mode - this is quite useful. However, as the screen is quite low resolution compared to recent players, photos are hard to see and appear pixelated. A good way to carry your collection around but not to show it off.
Reliability, well, this is a mixed bag. Although the player is still working, we have had our share of run ins. Sometimes it will enter "standby" mode, and wont return, so although I can hear the hard drive whirring inside, it refuses to turn the screen on. Sometimes when using it plugged into my CD Player in the car, it will refuse to work, and the controls will freeze up. So although working, its not 100% reliable.
Battery life is not great, it lasts probably 4-5 hours on a full charge, but this could be down to its age.
The software packaged with it is clunky and slow. I tend to synch with windows media player instead.
Overall, a decent player when it came out but getting on a bit now. However I won't be upgrading until this one dies - it has certainly outlived 2 of my sisters iPods!
This was my second mp3 player and it served me well for over 5 years. A fantatic mp3 player at the time, not so up-to-date now but still well worth a purchase if you aren't too worried about all the new features that new mp3 players come with.
A 20Gb hard drive serves most people pretty well and I only really began to fill mine before I upgraded. I did have some trouble with it though, when the memory is nearly full your player will begin to freeze up, it seems that Creative failed to make the performance a bit better as they never expected it to be filled.
On a positive note, the Sleek Photo comes with a built-in FM radio which is pretty good considering the Ipod never had this feature and you always had to buy add-ons to get it. It also allows you to view your pictures on the go however the small screen can make this difficult and with more modern mp3 players and phones having bigger screens make this quite irrelevant.
The software that comes with the mp3 player is very simple and easy to use. Basically you can just drag and drop what music and photos you want on your mp3 player can go from there.
One of the main features of the Zen Sleek Photo is the "touch" pad in the middle. Basically it allows you to scroll by sliding your finger up and down the middle piece. Pretty cool at the time but it proved to be quite awkward and made me wish there was just a button to scroll instead.
A fantastic player at the time, but many buyers will be turned off by the lack of features and the quite heavy and boring look of the player.
I've had my sleek photo now for a few years and overall it has served me fairly well. It is a fairly big player compared to its more modern counterparts and is not particullay light either. Having said that the 20GB of storage is massive and I still haven't been able to fill it. My whole music collection fits on this thing. Usefull too is that it also doubles up a 1GB flash memory stick which requires no installation. The player came with a set of headphones and the creative software which contained a music player. The headphones, as with a lot of mp3 player standard headphones, where really rather poor, no bass what so ever, no a dig at creative but more at all manufactures! I did install the music player along with the drivers but never really got in to it, i just use windows media player to download my music. The player also came with a mains adapter, which a lot of mp3 players don't so it can be charged by mains or via the usb cable.
I have like some other peolpe had trouble with the player crashing. I have always just reset it and that seems to do the trick. The selection strip in the middle is also far too sensitive even with the sensitivity down to the minimum. A bit anoying but good for the price.
I bought one of these and was really happy with the sound quality and the storage space. The headphones let the player down a little, but they are of course replaceable. It's not the most stylish player, but the sound quality and storage space made up for that for me. After a few uses my player froze and could not be rebooted. I contacted creative and returned it (cost me recorded delivery to ireland). They sent a replacement which I took on holiday with me and I used it a few times and the same thing happened. I wondered if it was something to do with how I'd loaded the songs on or something, but creative offer no support in that sense. You try what they suggest on their website and if it doesn't work you return it. So I paid again to return it. I'm not even sure now if that didn't happen three times, but definitely twice. Bottom line was I lost all faith that the player was going to work and it was a lot of money for something that worked a few times, not to mention a lot of time putting the music on there and managing the playlists (its' very time consuming the way it's set up). So I flogged the replacement on ebay and cut my losses. An expensive lesson. I did read up on web reviews since that this problem with them crashing irretrievably isn't isolated. Its' a known problem. I didn't find creative very helpful at all and they weren't interested in trying to help me sort the problem. I don't think these are for sale now, other than clearance or refurb's, but my advice is definitely don't buy.