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I bought one of these when they first came out and just before I went travelling for a year. It got dropped, stuffed in my backpack and used for hours on end and still carried on working. I'm still listening to it right now 5 years on while writing this review.
The advantages at the time are still worth noting now. The battery life is fantastic - lasting way longer than my girlfriend's Apple Ipod (and battery life is really important when you are on a greyhound bus travelling around America, believe me!). The sound quality is still more than acceptable, and the huge storage space is still loads more than you would get from any comparable device in the same price range.
Okay, so it's pretty chunky when compared to more modern day mp3 players, and the display is hardly sexy, but it does what it needs to do - it stores loads of tunes and plays them back without too many problems.
I should note that I've read about people having trouble with this freezing. I must admit, that has happened to me around 5 times. A few times I had to leave it until the battery ran down and on recharge it was okay. On the other occasions I was able to use the reset button to restart the Zen and it worked fine again..
I've thought about updating this lots of times to an Ipod, and maybe I will in the future (because it seems like Creative have given up on this area of the market - a shame in my opinion) but every time I think about changing, I am put off by the price of Ipods and by the fact that despite a few bumps and scrapes, my Zen is still performing brilliantly - accompanying me in the car, to work, when walking my dog.... it's become like an old friend, carrying years and years of music.
Okay, it's not an ipod and doesn't have access to all the add ons ipods do (eg. itunes), but if you aren't bothered what it looks like and what name is on the front, it's a really good buy.
The 40GB Creative Zen Touch has since been superceded by newer models, and subsequently it seems that Creative has stopped attempting to rival Apple for dominance over the mp3 player market. Nevertheless, the Zen Touch was and still is a high quality, reasonably priced mp3 player for someone who wishes to avoid the hype and commerciality of the iPod.
The design is sleek in chrome and white, with a blue backlight. It operates through a combination of silver buttons on the front, and a touch operated up and down tracker panel in the middle of the player. This can sometimes be over sensitive, but is otherwise very easy to use. The combination of buttons and touch panel means that even if you manage to break one or the other, the player is not necessairly impossible to use.
The sound quality of the player is decent, and the space is reasonable for the money. If you don't want to be yet another iPod convert, Creative is one of the main alternatives - although the subsequent newer models just can't really compare in terms of price, style and size. If anything, the Zen Touch was Creative's mp3 range at its peak. Definitely worth a look.
I've had mine a few years now without any major problems and its still going strong so top marks for reliability. The following are the strengths and weaknesses of this player:
1. Massive memory - should be more than enough to hold your music collection.
2. Competitive price - it has all the features you'd expect from a quality mp3 player and great value compared to similar units.
3. Sound quality is second to none, i have owned several players and this rates amongst the best.
4. If you use the Zen Touch Explorer software(available to download from their website) transferring files is easy and very fast.
5. Good build quality - I've dropped mine a few times with no significant damage to the outer case.
1. Navigating songs using the touch pad can be a little frustrating. Although a clever idea it can be a bit over sensitive and takes some time to get used to.
2. Size- it's a bit big compared to similar players.
In conclusion I would recommend this player, certainly worth picking up on ebay if you can get a good price.
I bought this second hand from a reputable dealer when they started being replaced in the shops by newer models.
The sound quality is brilliant, but could be better. It goes without saying that the capacity - 40GB - is great for a player of this price, or at least it was when I bought it. But after loading it with over 1280 tracks with little compression, some of which are half and hour long, and being left with 31GB still to be used, it begs the question is such a large capacity really necessary and is it worth the money? Surely even the most ardent of music listeners don't use half of that?
Capacity issues aside, the interface is self-explanatory and easy to use, and while the external design is large, heavy and bulky, it doesn't look bad - you need a rather large pocket to put it in!
However, after owning mine for over a year, I have noticed that its buttons have deteriorated somewhat, leading to them being less sensitive and sometimes perform the function of the adjacent button (e.g. pressing the 'next track' button will cause it to pause). Whether or not that is peculiar to mine, I don't know, but it can be a little frustrating at times. I know I have taken good care of the player and it worked almost perfectly when I purchased it.
The touch pad is useful, if a tad oversensitive. Although the iPod's circular pad may seem easier to use than the linear one of the Zen, the Zen's can be used by holding by sliding a finger up or down it and then holding it there while it scrolls until the finger is removed.
The Zen has a good range of features, including several play modes and EQ settings. Playlists can also be created on the player itself, although this can be awkward and time consuming. Alternatively, Creative's accompanying software can help you do this job.
The software is not the most efficient to use for tasks such as labelling a bunch of files in one go, but it's adequate. It's a shame the one on my computer has ceased to work for some unknown reason and even the free updates from Creative's website do nothing, meaning I can no longer add tracks to the player.
At the time the player might have been fairly good value for money, but the selling price at the time of writing this seems a bit high. If you have the money and room in your pockets for this, it is worth it.
I've owned Creative mp3 players for about 3 years, starting with the Zen Jukebox (still working well) and now the 40Gb version of the Zen Touch. Now, controversial though it may be, I'm going to state that the Creative way of doing things is better than the iPod way of doing things. Sure, iPod has the 'name' and the cool looks, but you have to use iTunes software with an iPod and, if you want to use WMAs (Windows Media audio files), iTunes won't allow it. Also, if you just want to copy some tracks from an iPod to another mp3 player, iTunes makes it very difficult. It's all down to Apple's use of the AAC format, which encodes audio in a totally different way to the mp3 format and makes it hard to convert for use in other applications, other that iTunes.
No such problems with the Zen. The accompanying software (Creative MediaSource) allows you to rip a CD in either WMA or mp3 format and write it to either your hard drive, the Zen, or both. The files are clearly stored for later use, and you're free to transfer them where you will. Much better!
As for as the player itself:
The sound quality is excellent and, for those of you with a technical understanding, the signal-to-noise ratio is probably the best on any mp3 player to date (meaning there's very little audio noise caused by the player itself - you're getting almost 100% pure track coming through the headphones.) Furthermore, the headroom is between 90 and 100db, meaning that there's no distortion being added when you turn it to the maximum volume (imagine 'headroom' as the speed available in a fast car - a Ferrari driven at 70mph will be performing more than comfortably with loads of headroom before it starts complaining. wheras a clapped-out old banger can still do 70mph but would be rattling away and not performing smoothly.) The volume can be increased to 'painfully loud' without cracking up, although you'd be wise to invest in some high-quality headphones if you intend to listen at very loud levels all the time, as the Creative headphones are merely 'OK'.
Operation and Navigation
Rather than using a touch-wheel, as in the iPod, the Zen uses a 1-inch long vertical touchpad in the centre of the player. If you want to scroll through a list, you just stroke the pad up or down (for short scrolls) or keep your finger at the top or bottom of the pad to 'fast forward' or 'rewind' through the list. Then you just need to hit the OK button, or if you want to you can douple-tap the touchpad instead (I use the OK button, as it's faster in practice.) All the other functions (on/off, play, volume up/down) have their own dedicated buttons which are logically laid out and very intuitive to use.
The case provided is very tough-looking, and certainly when I spilled a Diet Coke over the case, none of it got into the actual player (phew!) However, it's hard to operate the player from inside the case, so bear this in mind if you want to use it in the gym or for going jogging (instead, just create a playlist and leave it running - simple enough!)
The Zen uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which, they claim, will run for 24 hours. Just before writing this review I actually tried it out by fully cahrging and letting it run. 26 hours later, it's still going strong. Admittedly, I haven't left the backlight on for all that time and I haven't been constantly pressing play or scrolling through the menus (which can all drain the battery more than just by playing), but I have no reason to doubt that it will last a day under normal playing conditions.
Each to their own, but I like the styling. It's quite chunky and fairly heavy, but that smacks of quality to me. I even like the fact that it's NOT an iPod, as people often come up to me and ask what model it is, and inevitably end up listening to it. When they hear the difference in quality between my Zen and their iPod, they often skulk away in shame. Hooray for my side!
If your 15-year-old nephew simply MUST have an iPod for Christmas, then don't buy this. But if you want to listen to your mp3s with superior quality, get your credit card out.