I've been using this tiny (55.6x35.3x12.8mm and 21g) MP3 player for about 2 years now and I couldn't do without it!
The screen is small (64x64 pixels) but very clear and has an easy to navigate menu- unlike others of it's size which don't have a screen at all! 2GB might not be much by todays standards but you can still get at least 200 songs on there.
The sound is clear (I like to use the bass boost too) and it has loads of play modes such as shuffle repeat, repeat folder, shuffle folder and so on, so you can choose what you're in the mood to listen to rather than having to constantly 'shuffle' through. It's packed with features for such a small product- the speaker (just unplug the headphones to use) and radio is clear, the microphone works really well and the included silicone cover and clip are very handy, keeping it scratch free and easy to clip to your belt or lapel etc. It's really easy to hook up to your pc and couldn't be simpler to drag and drop new music onto or delete and charges while connected. You can open it on the pc as an external hardrive or download and install Zen's free software to manage your music.
Overall very user friendly, a bargain (around £30) considering what it includes and reliable. After 2 years of constant use it's still in fantastic condition and works perfectly.
The only thing I didn't like were the earphones, I personally prefer the noise isolating ones where the ones provided are the basic in-ear ones.
Manufacturer: Creative Hong Kong - known as Creative UK even though it is headed under the Europe labs - established in 1993.
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Networks include - America labs- Asia labs- Europe labs.
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During those far off days of light evenings and the sweet smell of Lynx working its hardest at keeping my hygiene levels at "reasonable;" Stone and I were at one. Now spring is upon us, I've attached the Stone Plus once again on my creaky belt; it gives me the idea of exercise regardless of how reluctant I am at doing any. The Stone Plus is the most sports orientated design MP3 Player offering that Creative has sent off onto the production line. Creative introduced the 'Plus' only one month after the 'Stone' made its debut in the marketplace; it was presumably, to dent the market domination of the iPod. It was a fight to gain centre stage on a lucrative digital global market. Creative threw the stone at Apple, while Apple gallantly 'shuffled' away unscathed.
'Stone Plus,' is a remarkably minor, rotund and agile MP3 Player. Size wise it covers around the same airspace as a pace-maker. It gets lost in my shovelled shaped hands. The 'Plus' is cleverly none conspicuous and doesn't impose itself for attention, unless you've opted for the garish acid colours that I find are an alarming eye-sore. But if you've opted for the traditional noir attire the 'Stone' seems to have a cuteness that the Apple Shuffle has currently missed the train and platform over; maybe it is the rounded edges that soften my critique eye; or perhaps it is the nostalgia in skimming pebble stones into lakes as a youth. Whatever it is; whether in its shape and quirkiness value it beats the shuffle hands down.
The 'Stone Plus' is the Shaun Wright-Phillips of the minor MP3 Player world. Incredibly robust, quick at the slither of an index finger co-ordinating navigation and interactively smooth visually; while viewing the Blue OLED screen. 'Stone Plus,' delivers simplistic answers to your audio requirements efficiently without going round the houses. This is the strong feature for Creative and audio does super-seed the 'Apple Shuffle;' I'm not aware of any extra audio boosters that are supposedly evident on the 'X-Fidelity' series, that has been reported by myself prior to this article. However, Creative Labs may lack on style and finesse, but certainly does lift the cup on audio quality. This MP3 Player maybe three years of age, and that is rather pre-historic when it comes to integrating with Mobile Technology and competing with major portable media players, but the 'Stone Plus' for a minor sure does pack a audio punch that in-turn keeps it's quality, beyond the 'Apple Shuffle' capabilities. The problem is; not many mainstream customers who buy MP3 players are aware of this 'supreme audio faculty' Creative does have the edge over, not including the elder statesman who've been singing Creative praises from the roof-tops, since the 'X-Fi' series embarked it's master-class in audio, which I'm still fathoming out.
The Zen Stone Plus weighs 21g; interestingly it actually weighs 2g more than the original 'Stone.' Odd considering the density is slightly less compact, and is being marketed as the sport MP3 player since its launch; not that 2g is much weight to consider while jogging round the block. I suppose it could come down to cursing that extra 2g weight if you're an avid road runner in lycra and shaved your head for that extra bit of aero dynamics, same goes if you are cycling up hill for a great distance. Like the 'Stone' the number of add-on accessories available is yet another ploy to get your hands in your wallet; such as the customary key-ring, plastic exterior holder, these are the kind of materials deemed to be highly cheap yet not included in the pouch of goodies that accompanies the 'Stone Plus' on purchase.
The main difference with the younger version of the 'Stone' is where the navigational 'Play/Pause button' is situated; they're assigned to the player's summit. Reading the screen data is not icon friendly as the screen specification fits in 64x64 pixel squared, the old Spectrum ZX could just about manage the same utility, many moons ago. Obviously the smooth slider navigation highlighter brings the device up the specification standards we now expect from our digital device manufacturers. Though the whole 'Stone' concept is not about icon design it is about capturing the public's imagination and emphasizing the importance of healthy living though the world of audio technology energizing those parts the pizza has grabbed hold of. Supported interfaces - USB enabled, so the minor player has full access to your music files on the PC, 'Stone Plus,' plays the files via WMA (Windows Media Audio) or the mandatory MPEG 3 file format. Introducing this ageing 'Stone' to the rapidly induced 'app' culture, is like trying to get a northern social club pensioner to try garlic bread with cheese; it is not going to happen. This ample player has the capacity in storage power or graphic enhancement capabilities to get enrolled in the 'app' euphoria.
What do you get in the deal?
Creative ZEN STONE PLUS - Amazon £35.00 not including P&P
Wrist strap with lens cleaning cloth
Quick Start Leaflet
For storage, the 'Stone Plus' does rock; not in a good way. 2GB is not the kind of size many of your MP3 player owners is use to these days.
You'll have to be rather selective with your audio memory data. Having said that the player does allow around 500 audio tracks, plus that is being on the cautious side. The writeable speed when sending these tracks to your 'Stone Plus' is notable variable; if your have an extensive play-list to offload into it's library, the process can take up to twenty minutes; so do it if you have plenty of time and not rushing off anywhere too immediately. The strongest noted value is its dinky size; the stats measures 2.1x1.4x0.5 inches. The platforms it is compatible with are Windows XP, Vista, Windows Seven. An added bonus is that you can be cheeky and ask for a MP3 Player strap for free if you purchase directly via the supplier paying the RRP; as these models are fading out in productivity, compared to a year ago. It is worth checking out all the price comparison sites for a trade-off wholesale price, however, this does not qualify for several of the accessory items you may want in your purchase pouch.
Overall, I prefer the labs 'Stone Plus' version to the 'Apple Shuffle,' - It beats it on price and audio quality, the 'Stone Plus' also has that likeability factor, which sadly isn't the case with most Creative MP3 Player models. However, the stats show below they've not found the key to mega MP3 Player galactic stardom.
Sound and Graphics - 10.7
Storage - 9.1
Features - 13.0
Design and Navigation - 15.3
Originality - 16.2
OVERALL SCORE - 64.3 per cent
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Thank you for reading
I never had a great respect for Creative's audio quality, in a sense they are know to have at best 'above average' and normally 'average' audio quality. None of their audio products has ever reached, forget about over running, the standard set out by the best up there. This new Creative ZEN Stone Plus is no exception only that you get a speaker system, whose sound quality is not more than what you can expect from speaker so tiny, as a bonus and only that.
The Upgrade to Creative Zen Stone plus, keeping the same price tag with upgraded accessories without charges. Providing silicon skin and detachable clip for the skin plus the standard ear-bud, instructions and of course the USB cable. I thought it was an inch from the Shuffle and Clip. The skin is a quality one providing openings for USB cable and the speaker.
The new Zen Stone plus is a look alike of the Zen Stone with Speakers. The one laudable addition is the attractive matte finish, except the front buttons, so less prone to finger prints and scratches only replacing the gloss of its predecessor gaining hardly anything in terms of professionalism that it lacked when it had the glint.
It's amazing how a company enjoying such high reputation can churn out products of mediocre quality on such regular basis. Is it they have problems with information technology at its crudest form (I mean user feed back, please)? Or is it they have serious R&D problems? May be they are not serious at all about this particular wing? It really makes me wonder!
This stuff, which, in spite of the ravishing matte finish, still looks dumb, is just useful while listening to podcast in the car, the speaker on the back of the Zen Stone Plus makes it worth.
The main controls are on the front of the player but now the play/pause button is right on top (unlike its sibling), logical deviation. The surprising deletion is the physical 'shuffle mode' and the play mode is painstakingly accessed ever so slowly using the sluggish menus of the system. There is no 'hold' button in spite of its obvious problem it's preferable.
Still there is a sexy looking 64x64 OLED screening smug up there on the left with a hackneyed blue-on-black display and does what a display of such size is capable of doing. A good implementation of graphic display into such a tiny stuff and the icons are large enough and useful too.
The new Stone Plus supports, as its sibling, MP3, AAC and WMA files, and claims to play Audible downloads and copy-protected content, though I am very sorry, couldn't get any of Audible's formats to work; neither audiobooks nor subscription downloads would play. Funny though there is no support subsciption support services such as Nepstar but the one bought-to-own from such store plays nice and cool! There is no way to select individual tracks but the library is reshufflable and can visually navigate the album, a big bonus no doubt. One very pleasing feature is the Voice recoder allowing upto 10 hours recording on one go and saved with file names as the recording terminates. These recorded files can dragged and dropped to the PC or browsed usng built-in navigation. The FM radio with 32 presets is another addition and ofcourse the celebrated little speakers are there taking the audio notches higher. But it is insane, these are bound to fall in the hands of early teenagers and imagine a situation in packed bus or any public transport for that matter, I promise those journeys will less ejoyable, although they are hardly enjoyble, will be difficult or even traumatic.
Nothing much there standard which you are supposed to get. Repeat track, Repeat folder and Repeat All. Then the usual shuffle options.
But there is annoying problem with shuffling for the simple reason the shuffle mode works by creating a shuffled play list and then playing it. What happens when a track is skipped ? Simple, end up with exactly same order of song and a brand new one for each track ! May be there are people who will love this but I will prefer any day the Sansa Clip randomizing.
While deleting there is a problem, you can not delete a whole folder, one track after another. So the option in the playback menu "delete the current play song". I don't have time deleting one at a time!
It works with, I mean it is supposed to, since the Stone Plus Speaker is MSC and mount as removable drive like the flash or pen drive So the usual method of simply copying and pasting wonderfully. Naturally it can work just as simple external storage device. But it will take a hell of a lot of time to fill the baby up full, rate is 1-2MB per second and most of times even more. I mean some times it gets on to my nerve.
Go to the folder named "Starter Pack" situated on the root. There is The Creative Media Lite which is totally unnecessary for normal use, the drag and drop does the job just as well. But it is not use less, the Creative Media Lite is required for functions like volume limiting, transferring contents of protected media and updating firmware. Moreover it rips music also but very unsophisticated, "crude" if I may use the word. CD ripping requires dedicated software.
It carries the legacy of Stone Plus in a sense that the lethargic, laggy and hard to use interface problem has hardly been taken care of. The menu is slow but not that slow but lag is not as much one second, not fast that much is sure. New inclusion in the interface is the speaker option. It is hardly intuitive.
I find the issue of constantly scrolling through the menu annoying, oh my god Scroll "cancel" or press the music icon go to "now playing" get a pause on the music.. I don't know!! The persistence of scrolling to "cancel" to get out is absolutely boring far better is the "Home" button of Sansa Clip.
Another pointless illogical and annoying feature is the programmable short cut button. Do you switch modes that often? Does any one jump from Music/Radio/ Clock that often to have programmed short cut?
The equalizer is really a big problem. It sounds hollow flat and the lower frequencies are real bad, meaning the bass it poor. The equalization issue is based handled by Sony because the Sanasa Clip also has the same problem. It is bound vary with the headphones in use. The quality of sound is at most "above average" hardly having control over the audio spectrum. The sound lacks detail, depth and clarity.
It's a pleasant surprise. For its size its exceptionally loud, okay it's a little better than those some cell phones have.
It's one of the welcome feature. One full charge gives a cool 10-11 hours playback along with listening to the radio and speaker. Otherwise it gives a whooping 20 hours.
ROBLEMS I FACED
Extremely painful to navigate the manus.
Starts auto playing as soon as you select a folder
No preselection is possible making the screen useless
The software more often than not load
The loading process is painfully slow
Customizing the equalizer might lead you to 'x' number of problems.
This is what I feel about Creative Zen Plus for you. Already I have spent quite some time. Please read the review and I would really love you to prove me a pessimist.'
''Note: Oh yes for got to tell you the price. Its okay.''
(This review was first published at ciao.co.uk under the same user name)
My first impression from this Zen is the size. It is absolutely minute! I really don't know how all the feature fits into this Zen. I also like the circular buttons which somehow reminds me of the original series of ipod. The screen is also the same size as the circular buttons which brings the whole Zen exceptionally small.
In the box, you get the usual equipments from an expected mp3 player box so nothing really exciting here - manual, mp3 player, earphone, link cable.
When i took out the mp3 player from the box, i was stunned to see the shortest link cable in the world. i was so intrigued by the its length that i took out my ruler and checked to see how long it was and found out that it was roughly 5cm!!! It is quite unbelievable to see this link cable. Because i have a desktop, My creative zen stone plus was literally hanging from its link cable. This was the kind of face that i had when i saw this - =_=;;;;;. However, because the link cable was standard USB cable that i could get a longer one and i would suggest to everyone to.
One of the odd thing about this Zen is that it doesn't have a lock slide on the exterior of the Zen which i found really really strange until i have found that it's on the option menu which you need to turn on the system on. Although, i think Creative has done this sort of way because they wanted to keep the Zen smallest as possible without the bulkness of it. Because it doesn't have a lock slide, the time it takes to turn on the system is fairly long. I have counted the time and it takes 5 seconds to turn the system on. You would think that 5 seconds is short but you will realise how long it is by turning this Zen on.
Another important aspect of this mp3 player is the transfer of the music files. Once you are connected to the computer/laptop it recognizes as a storage device. This is really helpful because all you do is drag and drop the files on to the Zen.
The only way to charge this Zen is by through USB cable which is a downside since you need to turn on the computer/laptop on for it and it's not really energy efficient. To see the progress of charging, small blue led is lit on the side of the earphone socket. If the blue led blinks then it is fully charged.
The quality of the playback of mp3 is also great and you can also change the equalizer so that you can get a different taste of the music. The maximum volume is absolutely outbursting. It is so loud that i could hear my Zen playing in my room while i'm in a kitchen which is the next room beside it.
One of the aspect i found quite useful is the fact that if i put my music files into certain folder, i can make that certain folder to repeat over and over again without creating a playlist. Also, i can delete the file without the needs to link it to the computer.
There is another weird thing about this mp3 player. When you turn the system on it automatically plays the music and because i listen to maximum volume that i always jump when i turn it on even though i'm expecting that it's going to be loud. So, before you turn it off, it is best to either lower the volume down or pause the music and then turn it off.
The capacity is not that bad either. You can get a 2GB or 4GB which is the standard size of the capacity. The earphone you get with the Zen Stone Plus is also very comfortable as well. The earphone end bit is also in a 'L' shape so that it keeps the size of the Zen small and not have any bulkiness to the Zen.It also has features like, sound recorder, stopwatch, and FM radio which effectively makes the Zen more impressed because of its size.
The price of this Zen is fairly cheap as well. It's 50 pounds in Firebox however, in amazon, you can get it for 40 pounds.
The sound quality is amazing and with a lot of features on a small Zen. Because Creative tries to make it the smallest mp3 player that there are some downside to it, such as, lock slide, the time it takes to load, and etc
++2 Weeks Later - Updated Review++
I have had this creative zen stone plus now for a couple of weeks and i am still loving this piece of gadget. No doubt, this is the smallest mp3 player you can have in the world. However, i still do jump when i turn my stone plus on because i listen to my music to my maximum volume (it's the way it should be, lol). Now, i have also bought the speaker for this stone plus which i found extremely useful. It boosts the quality of music by a lot. The speaker takes 2 AA batteries and it has a switch for on/off however it can still play the music without the turning the speaker on but without the equalizer. Also, the accessories you get with this stone plus is really useful. Because i go to gym quite a lot that i have bought myself a wristband for the stone plus and it is incredibly comfortable and it effectively absorbs the sweat runs down along your arm. Not only i use this as a mp3 player but i also use this as a back-up file storage because you don't need to install any programs to run on Windows and the Windows recognizes the device as a storage device. I'm glad that i have bought this Stone Plus.
I like my zen. It is a change from those other apple gadgets everone has. This does the same job and more but is LOTS cheaper. Mine is black, and I have a little rubbery cover so that I can clip it on to my clothes when out for a walk or whatever. The speakers are handy. Don't want to take the radio, music player into the bathroom? Have a nice relaxing bath with your zen stone playing your favourite downloaded music in the background. You get headphones with it, but any ones will fit nicely. Easy to check what you have downloaded and add new stuff by plugging in to your computer. Quickly charges this way too. Disadvantages - you can only clip on to clothing when the rubber cover is on, but the zen looks nicer without it. Speaker sound is not amazing quality but what do you expect for the price. I love it and glad to be different from the apple crowd.
I bought this mp3 player about a year ago and it pretty much does what it sais on the box! The Zen Stone is easy to understand, it's easy to charge BUT....the battery life seems to be quite low on this one. It does promise around 14 hours of playing time but even when fully charged, the most I've gotten out of it is about 3 hours. Which is a bit disappointing when you want to use it on a long train ride. I had another Creative mp3 player before this one that took AAA batteries and that's one feature I do miss in the Zen Stone. Apart from the short battery life, I find this mp3 player is easy to use, has loads of space for the money and the headphones that come with it aren't too bad either! Overall, I'll give it 4 stars, but be aware that it's mostly suitable for short trips if you don't have access to a computer or anything else with a USB on it. So in conclusion; if you want a good, handy, pretty little mp3 player for that short commute to work; this is the one for you!
I bought this when everyone had bought into the whole Ipod craze after having a play with a friends Creative Zen. Was really simple and quick to setup, music was loaded on and playing in no time atall. It had a few drops and knocks in the time I had it but held strong, would definatley recommend a sillicon case though just for extra protection. Really easy to use this aswell, controls are very basic but very simple, screen is a little small but that doesn't matter when your at the gym or whatever (this was it's primary use) lack of features may put some people off but personally didn't make a difference. Sound quality was brilliant to, really clear sound clarity. 2 gig may not be enough for some people so you may wanna opt for the 4 gig model. Would definatley recommend this if your after a simple, compact but robust mp3 player for home, work or sports. I even had mine hooked up to the car for a while via usb and was brilliant managed to get direct connect via the car stereo.
I choose this player as a free gift for extending my broadband package with British Telecom, about a year ago.
I was initially sceptical of its size and couldn't believe that such a compact device was so feature packed (I still remember being amazed at the portability of my 1980s Walkman cassette player).
Charging the player is straightforward using the supplied USB lead. The necessary software was quickily installed from the Creative CD and it took me only a few minutes to access my music library. I use Windows Media Player and the Stone Plus appears, when USB connected, as a device with sub-categories Artist, Albums, Songs, Genre, Year and Rating. It's a simple click and drag action to move music from the Windows player to the Stone Plus and then you confirm your choices using 'Start Sync' and soon you can disconnect (an on-screen prompt gives the all clear to do this).
The sound from the Stone Plus is impressive, even when using the supplied headphones. The pulsing vibrance of Muse's Black Holes and Revelations sounds superb as does the gentler warbling of Al Stewart on Last Days of The Century and the magnificent stage rock of Pink Floyd's live offering Pulse.
The battery charges fully in about a hour and this provides about 10 to 15 hours playing time. One niggle is that the battery seems to run down very quickly when the Stone is left unplayed (I've often picked up the player, having not used it for several days or more, to find that a previously well charged battery had lost its power and has little or no playtime).
I've used the FM radio once and found it OK. The stopwatch, speaker and microphone are of no interest to me and I've not used any of these features.
All in all this is a great little MP3 player that looks great, sounds fantastic and, even though I didn't pay for mine, is good value.
I bought this mp3 player around 2 months ago as I was after something smaller and lighter that I could take to work, as my current 20gb iriver mp3 player was just to bulky and heavy to have in my pocket all day.
I chose this mp3 player over others as it was very small, looked nice and with 2gb would also be plenty of space to keep enough music to keep me entertained for a month or 2 before changing it. Also the final deciding factor was the price, it cost just £24.98 from curry's which strangely enough was 1 penny cheaper than the normal Zen stone which has less features such as the lack of LCD display and I believe has no radio.
My first impressions on opening the box were very good, the mp3 player looked very sleak in all black and although made of plastic the construction felt very sturdy and it did not feel cheap at all. One of the most surprising features is the weight, it is so light it feels no heavier than the average memory stick. It also comes with a nice rubber case to keep it protected which does spoil the looks but who cares when its going to be in your pocket most of the time! There are also a pair of cheap earphones in the box which I have never used as I have a high quality pair but I can imagine they are no better than the average cheap couple of pound headphones. This is the only let down on the product but is not really an issue when the mp3 player itself is cheaper than a decent pair of headphones!
Putting music on the mp3 player is simple just plug the USB cable into the mp3 player and it will show up on your computer as any memory stick or external hard drive would and you can just drag and drop files into the music folder, there is also a recordings folder where any recordings you have made with the inbuilt microphone are saved. Plugging it into the computer is also how you charge the mp3 player as it does not come with any other charger (although you can buy wall chargers for it as the connection is a standard mini b)
The quality of play back from the mp3 player is just fine and sounds good with decent head phones, there is also a bass boost which I personally don't use but you can tell the difference when its turned on. The battery is built into the player and has excellent length, it lasts around 15 hours on a charge that takes around half an hour. There is also a built in speaker that is of average quality but for a speaker so small its never going to be great, its of about the same quality and volume of a phone speaker.
The navigation of the menus etc. on the player is very simple and controlled by the buttons on the front, you can scroll though the options on the player such as the radio, stopwatch, recorder and change a number of settings such as randomising the music and repeat and also changing the function of the hot key on the top which can be set to do a different function.
One of the only problems I have with this player is the on/off command, to turn on the player you have to hold down the power button for a good 3-5 seconds which is just annoying. Also to turn it off you have to hold down the button for a few seconds which is more understandable as you don't want it turning off in your pocket all the time.
Overall its a must buy and is worth way more than the price tag considering how feature packed it is!