After much research, I bought this MP3 player online the Christmas before last. From the looks of it, it still hasn't come down much in price, so it's still obviously quite saught after.
What about what you actually get?
It's not as flashy or trendy as an iPod, that's for sure. But judge not a book by it's cover.
Creative, for me, have always been a very reliable manufactuer of mp3 players. My previous Creative Zen 30gb player rarely let me down, and lasted a good 4 years without having to get any repairs done.
The only reason I changed was basically cosmetic. It was starting to look bulky and outdated, and I wanted something that carried the same amount of space, with a sleeker design and maybe some extra features.
This was exactly what the Creative Zen X-Fi 32gb delivered.
The amount of space available is excellent. It's hard to imagine many people using up the full capacity. In saying that, I almost have, but I have a massive music collection, and realistically don't need as many songs on it as i've put on.
The sound quality is very good too - and unlike previous mp3 players i've bought (or seen purchased by friends and family), the headphones provided are of exceptional quality. I've had it over 14 months now, and I am still using the same headphones (I used to go through them every 6 or so months).
Like most Creative Zen's, there are different sound modes for playing music. There are a few sound/base enhancement features, as well as around 9 different EQ environments.
Music can be sorted by Album, Artist, Genre, or even most popular. There is an internal DJ feature, which is useful. The track display contains all the information you would want, with more possible if you click the top right hand button and go down to "view details". From this menu, there is also an option to "lookup artist", "set a bookmark", or "save as playlist".
Beyond music, this device is wonderful for data storage. It accepts any file type for basic storage and transfer, and displays most types of images. It can also play videos, although converting a video so that it plays on the Zen is a bit complex and drawn out. In this respect, it's a bit picky about what video formats it allows.
Included too is an FM Radio, a Microphone for recording, an SD memory card slot, for extra storage (although again, actually accessing the data on the memory card can be complex), and the option to go online (like the memory card, utilising this isn't simple).
As for music management, the software that comes with it for installation on your PC isn't great at all. It's far better to manually go into the player (on the computer) and sort out playlists there.
A lot of what i've said sounds awkward. Further problems come with a slow start up time, and the odd error, requiring a restart. The buttons are also very small, and difficult to use. So yes, there are teething problems, but with some work they can gotten over easily, and in terms of music playback, media storage, and sound quality, it really is second to none.
CREATIVE ZEN X-Fi
Available - September 2008
RRP - 209.99 GBP
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Strictly Thumb Dancing
In today's market the Creative portable hand media players evolve off the press quickly and with a technological edge that comes under the heading Xtreme Fidelity. I believe it is another bit of gravy mince that Creative has cooked up for yet another launch with the X-Fi2 out this month. - It is fair to say the lab team have been tinkering with the piece of technology since the 8GB hit the masses. The 32 GB seems to be a bit more enhanced with sound, but this could be a figment of my imagination; but for now I'm hedging on the fact the lab team do endure in tinkering even when it been 2 month longer in the labs dormitories than the 8GB which I reviewed earlier. On a good inspection Xtreme Fidelity sound quality differs marginally better on the 32GB.
While I've toiled over many Creative portable media players, I'm not aware of any noticeable changes design-wise with the squared-off blue-print. It must really be exasperating while looking through a Creative catalogue as quite frankly if your like me, quite into the outer body casing design and navigation, their isn't a lot too go on. Creatives blue-chip design team seem totally unaware of what reaches the public imagination, and it isn't a load of odd squares on the design interface like what was manufactured with the Zen Mozaic. At least the Xtreme Fidelity looks like it may belong to a male who deems on the side of simplicity for portable media player choice, even if Creative has consistently enraged me about the awkward small button navigation design has is so Creatives corporate brand awareness thing that I wonder if they themselves are fed up with the numerous of buttons that systematically appear like there are no other navigational options. I take it once the design navigation patent law takes hold, I guess Creative feel as if they should have their monies worth by milking the product blue-print till they start looking like milk maids.
Built like Michael Mann doing Strictly Come Dancing the portable media player looks ungainly heavy and reminds me of a mid 1970's indoor torch; with a slightly more bit of technology thrown in. If you are unaware of any of my other write-ups the X-FI is exactly one year old with high fidelity sound enhancement technology that brings you closer to the MP3 sound and enables a synthesiser collective bands as your choice of audio options. The audio software in-built within the MP3 Player allows the raw music material shrunken through to a small file for it to be read back out to the audio out-let in turn would be a much bigger improvement. This is what Xtreme Fidelity technology does. The crystal audio out-let is not necessary ground bursting but certainly with the 32GB the X-FI is worth an audio test. The hardened portable media savvy will not see too much here to get excited about, the terminology Xtreme Fidelity sounds like a mixed cultured pop craze that we all endured in the early 1990's, that brought out DVD's step moves with options of a sing-a-long karaoke.
It just so determines on the environment you're in whether audio quality can be quenched properly. The iPod has many better enhancements that make it a better saleable product than the Zen series X-Fi 32GB. The body mass of the X-Fi is notably larger than any iPod but weight wise not a lot in it. The use of the product space is not well thought of when Creative went to the drawing board, too much area not being useful, surrounding the 2 inch LCD monitor. If it is the weight, it is the awkward size of it that will put you off from deferring your thoughts of purchasing another iPod Nano.
The storage for me is the ultimate prize giveaway on this player. A fabulous 32GB of digital data that is able to store at least 8,000 media files, so it looks like you don't have to chop and change tracks wondering what to clear from your media library. Downloads are directly available via your USB connector that comes with the device, connecting you up with your PC and of course the internet. What I've found myself to be a talking point is that many ordinary folk will ask what type of device you're listening with as it is just so not like a iPod; a fascinating talking point especially to tech geeks who want to get out more and actually meet new people; you could look at this device as your key to the non virtual world; that is if your not embarrassed at the awkward design and keen to stimulate an interest while your head isn't in the Kings of Leon latest track.
There are several more features that could swing it for you as a consumer and that is you can listen to FM radio. - There is also an extra memory slot if you require yet more memory for your ever increasing digital data library. The music library enables you to also store JPEGS or BMP's onto your device direct from your PC from a digital camera. The same for Videos in MP4 formats MP3 and WMV formats the portable media player will have a read only option to view the media, not to make the media or swap in conversions. The transfer rates are quick at 6.5MB per second, while transferring digital data. The 32GB is versatile in types of media stored so there are options within the libraries available
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Overall statistics for the Zen X-Fi Portable Media Player 32GB
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Sound and Graphics - 19.37 out of 20.00
Storage - 19.80 out of 20.00
Features - 15.10 out of 20.00
Design and Navigation - 16.28 out of 20.00
Originality - 13.75 out of 20.00
OVERALL SCORE - 84.30 out of 100
I hope all the information provided has helped.
© 1st2thebar - 09 - 2009
The Zen X-Fi is what defines the word perfection, being a player that exceeded the typical standards in many aspects.
In terms of menu structure, it is fantastically designed and structure, which is easily controlled using its sensitive buttons. The high resolution display screen shows the navigation menu clearly.
Its file transfer speed isn't the greatest, taking about 5 minutes to transfer a few albums, but it isn't the worst either. In conclusion, its speed is just a bit slower than average.
When using the supplied headphones, it produced a slightly better than average sound quality, it is merely not perfect by the slightest standards. Upon using an additional pair of headphones there was a barely noticeable improvement is sound quality.
The huge display screen is brilliant for watching videos in high quality and viewing photos compiled into slideshows that is accompanied by music playing in the background. It also incorporates built-in speakers which are of satisfactory quality for its purpose.
It also highly compatible supporting audio files in the format of WMA, MP3, EAV, Audible Books and also Napster.
Its internet capabilities are enabled through WIFI connectivity, also supports both Window Live Messenger and Yahoo Messenger as well as streaming or copying data from local media servers.
Its battery stamina is above average standards too, on average it provides about 38 hours of continuous audio playback from a few hours of charge. When watching videos its battery stamina is not exceptional but an acceptable compromise in return for its quality.
It even has a Secure Digital card slot that allows you to expand the size of memory if space is not sufficient.
Brilliant: The clarity of the music flow is amazing. I find that when in use with the provided premium headphones the playback quality is superb: each lyric is crystal, whislt the backing music is defined and evenly proportioned, no sound dominates over each other, as such very smooth, music if heard. With the x-fi setting to the max any previous fuzzyness, distortions and data anomilies are waved over and a somewhat louder more penertrating playback is experieinced.
The menu is very easy to use, yet it is always best to briefly read the users manual to make the most of its neat little scroll system. The mp3 player also plays mp4 videos, to which are easily converted into a useable fromat using the provided software.
Creative regularly update the products firmware. the x-fi is also compatable with ebooks, audio books, has access to radio stations (works very well with an easy to use adjustable tuner and station saver), has an alarm function. Yet the most impressive feature of this already jam-packed device is its ability to latch onto a wifi connection and transform itself into an online messenger chat tool. It has inbuilt 32gb, which actually shows up at around 29gb, but there is a nifty little slot; enabling the insertion of external memory such as the micro sdhc cards, upto 16gb.
Being of pocketable size it is very light and durable. One would assume that the battery is poor, on the contary it lasts me a good 3-4 days of frequent music playback. If you do find it down on battery, simply plug it into the all too common usb port of a running pc and it automatically charges itself up.
Unlike the simple ipod, the zen x-fi also comes with a loud speaker, this is good if you want to demo music to your peers, however it is not very loud. for its size the screen is to be expected...not too large tio be on the impressive scale as the itouch.
One highly reccommended mp3 player with a whole aresenal of quality multi-media functions with easy to access interfaces.