Product Type: Creative MP3 players
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Stone cold cool
Creative Zen Stone Plus 2 GB
Member Name: RussellsReviews
Creative Zen Stone Plus 2 GB
Advantages: Space efficient, looks great, sounds great, more features than Apple's similar player.
Disadvantages: Slightly slow synching, hard to navigate through songs quickly,
My eyes ignored the colourful iPod nanos and older generation iPod videos and rested on the Zen Stone Plus. Sleek, black and undeniably stone like in appearance I directed the man behind the till to the Zen and I was soon out of the store with a brown paper bag clasped in my hand. Those brown paper bags really are a nuisance aren't they? They always break and inexplicably have no handles (probably because they wouldn't only break more easily).
What first struck me was the incredible beauty of the Zen, its small, like a stone, rounded like a stone but deliciously black with a mirror-like gloss. It's a damn sight more attractive than the clunky, brick-like object that the Vision M was.
You don't need to know the details but the initial 2 hour charge was a hell of a wait. I synched up my tunes, a selected number I should add as the collection once happily filled a 60gb player was not so at home in the tiny little 2gb Stone, synching isn't as fast as my old player I'll tell you that. The controls are very simple, utterly perplexing if you're an iPod user though I must admit. What looks like an ipod wheel is actually four buttons which allows volume up, skipping songs, fast forwarding and rewinding. In the middle of the wheel is a button which is used to select and when playing music takes you to the menu. On top we have a simple play/pause and shortcut button, which I think is a great advantage over the iPod, as a shortcut button is bloody useful. These buttons did not take long to get used to, it probably helped as I was an experienced Zen owner and the controls were similar to the Vision M.
The screen is a simple what would be black and white but the background is black and the text is bright electric blue. Not particuarly advanced but attractive and simple none the less. I kept in mind the fact I paid £22 for a never used player. The layout of music is pretty much a bog standard shuffle but with a screen so you can see what you are listening to. It supposed to be ordered alphabetically but inexplicably mine seems to go A-Z then got A-Z again with a completely different set of songs... You can put it on shuffle though of course and then there's that problem eradicated. There is a handy feature in that under options you can choose to browse music which allows you to jump to albums, which is useful if you're after listening to something particular.
The features a few but again probably more than most competitors. The Zen has a microphone which would probably be greeted as an innovation for iPod users, a radio which is quite nice and again new to iPod users without an iTrip opr whatever it's called, an EQ adjustment option which allows a choice of presets and a personalisable option with 3 band EQ. But hey all these are a bunch all I was lookingg for was something cheap and reliable to play my music on.
The sound quality is surprisingly good. Different to Vision M but I'm not sure if for better or worse. Change is almost always well received nonetheless and through my own more expensive in earphones, which surprisingly cost almost as much as the mp3 player itself. Baffling.
One criticism I have read about the Stone Plus is the battery life, which is bewildering to me. On one charge this player seemed to run forever, well... 7 hours or so (its reputed 8 but it's never as much as it says) which was surprising as with a player of such size I was expecting to charge it pretty much every night!
The only problem I have had with is a couple of time during a song there has been a little skip, this is not exclusive to any one song and I'm not sure what the cause is. The songs all played fine on my old player and so I am unsure as to an explanation but untroubled as the skips are barely noticeable and occur very very rarely.
I have used this player whilst running, I have poured coffee on it and dropped it more than once and it runs happily. It looks great, sounds great and is not an iPod, a big advantage in my book. I have no qualms about how long the player will last as my old one lasted almost 3 years, have you ever heard of an iPod running as long?
Summary: A great little player. Set yourself apart from the iKids.
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