So this was my first MP3 player (we're going back around seven years here) and at the time these Creative Zen V's were very much considered a quality solution to all your mobile music needs. They came in a variety of stylish colours, with the lighting always tastefully matched to the colour of the player. The one I had (and still have, although it has now been superseded by my Sansa Clip) was all white with a funky orange glow and theme on screen, which still looks pretty cool by today's standards. I also felt (perhaps optimistically!) that the all white finish would give it the air of the much more expensive Apple Ipods that were just out of my price range! I was familiar with Creative labs from their earlier days making the very good (for its time) 'Soundblaster' range of PC audio cards. So from the get-go I figured that a Creative product would carry a certain level of quality, and the Creative Zen V doesn't disappoint.
This version of the Zen V was the first, and smallest in capacity, in a long and successful range that ran up to the more than respectable 8 Gb range (but obviously not anywhere near competing with the Ipods in terms of raw storage). I think with the Zen, Creative were trying to create a cool and funky image; certainly it appears they were onto something with the bright contrasting colours (think Black meets Green) and the design of this player is certainly more memorable than many of its dreary successors. There is also something ergonomically satisfying about the shape of the Zen; it's not too slight to be easily lost in your pocket, and the smooth edges make it sort of like holding a funky small bar of soap (that could just be me mind!). The screen on the Zen V is more than generous and the menus are clearly laid out, which you incidentally navigate by means of a tiny little orange joystick in the middle of the player. This joystick, whilst not too difficult to navigate with, is a little fiddly as it's so small; you can't help but think this was added just to be different from the other players on the market rather than for genuine ease of use. You get with the player the obligatory cheap and not so cheerful earbud headphones (some factory must be churning these out as they come with everything!); your best bet is to ditch these and treat yourself to something better. You also get the usual USB cable for connection to your PC, a neck strap (which seems a bit redundant), a pouch for the player (if you are worried about the player there are a number of rubber cases available) and an audio cable to hook it to a stereo if you desire. Incidentally, at the time I used my Zen V we were still in a car that only had a tape player and you could buy an ingenious audio cassette tape adapter that would plug in to the Zen and play your songs through your car speakers, very cutting edge!
As far as functionality is concerned, the Zen V has all the usual suspects you'd expect for a player of this age. It can handle MP3, WMA and Audible Audio, you can use it as a Dictaphone and also store video and photos on it (although these last two are more of a novelty than any real practical use). None the less it is a capable MP3 player, and the approximately 500 song capacity will suit most casual users of it. The menus are clearly laid out and a breeze to navigate through, although I'd imagine the shuffle feature will be the most heavily used feature for many. You can sync this up to your PC either through Creative Zen's own provided software or I'd recommend just using the 'sync' option within Windows Media Player if you are on a Windows platform (as this software is installed as a default setting anyway). I can say at least when using Windows Media Player sync is a doddle, and it only takes a minute or so to add an entire album to your player. The other thing to mention is that on full battery this player seems to last an age, you can easily go days without having it anywhere near a computer (and that's with a lot of use too!).
Overall, I still have fond memories of using this as my main MP3 player. Perhaps this is simply because it was the first one I'd owned, but I just think style wise, Creative nailed it with this one. They still hold up as a funky looking player even in 2012, and although the spec (at least of the 1 Gb version) is now looking a little dated compared to current players, they are still fun and cool to use, and are just the right density to feel satisfying when using. Although I've since strayed away from the Creative brand of players, I would not rule out picking up one of the larger capacity models of a Zen V in the future for the right price as, put simply, I enjoyed using this player a lot more than some of the other brands I've come across. I definitely found my Zen when using this handy little player, only the lack of song storage in the end forced me to reluctantly upgrade.
I remember getting this some time back when I wanted an mp3 player but not an iPod, probably because back then I didn't want to get all involved in all this Apple business, so I got myself one of these.
The Zen V series of mp3s were pretty cool, small mp3 players which, unlike a lot of other non iPod players at the time, actually had a colour screen and the ability to scroll through your songs and artists and choose what you wanted to listen to. A lot of others at the time used the old iPod Shuffle technique of putting everything onto one playlist.
The Zen V is small, tiny in fact, with a total size of 2.7 x 1.7 inches, and a resolution of about 128x128. However, to me, and to a lot of people, it provided us with a good quality player that could do some of the cool things that only iPods could do, including storing pictures, playlists and being able to scroll through artists, songs or albums.
The player features a small wheel-like set of buttons, which you use to navigate through, and a center one to select. Next to it are the play/pause button and the back button. While navigation is simple enough, I found that the buttons weren't as easy to use as they could have been and a lot of the time I had to use a lot more pressure than I would thought to have had to. The volume buttons are on the side, conveniently placed and it was the whole thing is pretty to use after a bit of a play around.
The series came in different sizes, but I had the 1GB which didn't hold a great deal of songs, but it was generally enough for me anyway. Being able to sort them into different playlists was cool, as well, as you could have one for different purposes, whether you were driving or walking or working out.
The sound quality is great, of course differing depending on the headphones you use. The ones that came with it broke after a while, but I'm the sort of person who likes using his own choice of headphones anyway.
After two years though, it broke, and the battery detached itself. Easily solvable though with a bit of solder but I couldn't do it at the time, and have since moved on anyway. Whether this was only mine or quite a common problem who knows, but still, I managed to get a good deal of usage out of it first
The miniature and trendy Creative Zen V is an eye catching colour scheme player.
Similar to the Ipod designs the screen occupies almost half of the player leaving the controls below it. It comes in a wide range of colours and size of storage, all of which are supplied with a cloth pouch and neck strap. When using the supplied headphones, the sound quality was reasonable with a good mixture of bass and crisp treble. Upon using an additional headphone gave a considerable increase in audio quality. It supports WAV, WMA and MP3 file formats.
The file transfer speed is quite long taking about 2 minutes to transfer 100 megabytes of audio files on average.
The battery is charged using a USB Cable which is supplied. The battery stamina is reasonable, on average providing about 18 hours of continuous audio playback from a four and a half hour charge, which is somewhat slow. The user interface is easy to use, its joystick is fun and effective to use and the illuminated buttons makes using it in the dark easier. A fantastic software is provided as standard.
In terms of durability, the player is sturdily constructed, which makes it tough against the occasional knocks or drops. Its bog-standard function include random, hold and resume features, in addition a sleep timer, contacts book, alarm, clock and microphone included.
The reasonable screen can display photos in the png, bmp, gif, tiff and jpeg file formats. Sadly it does not have a radio.
What a brilliant little mp3 player this is! I have had it for a few years now and the battery is still working fine.
The really good thing about this is that it is not just a good mp3 player it comes with really good extras for example Calender,Time and an Removable Storage facility.
It works fine with Windows Media Player which is what I would rather use in preference to the software that comes with it.
The size is really good as well because it can fit in a pocket without you feeling it.
It is also very easy to send music to this device and fill it up with your new music.
One of the most impressive things about this mp3 player is that it is very reliable when it comes to the battery, very easy to use, easy to transfer music to and it comes with great extras. It also has a more reasonable price than an iPod.
I have had one of these small Creative Zens for a year now, and it's held out quite well, though obviously now I'd buy one that held more music!
The only problems with it has been that I've found it hard to create playlists, and that there's not many options to organise music with - the options generally are quite limited. It's crashed once, and I had to wait until the batteries ran out and then recharge it, but since then it's been fine.
I only use it to and from work (an hour each way) and it lasts about a week being left off for the rest of the time - I recharge it from the computer. I haven't used the built in microphone.
I would recommend this MP3 player is all you want is something really simple to put a few hundred songs and some photos on, but it is limited in its capability! I don't regret buying it and would buy the same make and style again, though I think the 1GB is limited and it's worth spending more for something with more memory.