I bought this product to compare with my Ipods. Obviously, Ipods are the big hit, what most people love, even though Apple are quite frankly, very greedy and whilst good for what they produce, their main effort goes in setting the stone rolling for other brands to come up with something better. Whilst this product is reasonable, I don't think it is better than the Ipod.
Don't get me wrong, it is a very fashionable digital player with good quality music and fairly good video playback. Creative Zen are also a trusted brand, so reliability wise - you're onto a winner. However for me personally, I just don't like the look and feel of this gadget. The buttons don't do it for me and I think the product is quite frankly, a little gimicky.
But onto the plus side - the gadget is accessible and easy to use (despite the small buttons) and is cheaper than the Ipod.
I would recommend if you are looking for a good alternative to the Ipod, or just want to be a little bit different when it comes to music players!
CREATIVE ZEN X-FI
Storage Size - 8GB
Release Date - June 2008
RRP - 129.99 GBP
Creative comment added below
I don't know about you but the apps are certainly growing and it isn't through me working out. There has been an explosion of apps on new titled mobile technology handsets that stimulate the interface savvy users into pure a seduction heaven. The geeks among you know who you are. Creative have now also been exploring the many apps that seemingly dream of world domination and winning. The Creative X-Fi that was released mid June last year (2008) was one of the first Portable Media Players to realise the ultimate pros of what the 'app' can provide, through its own Creative apps and of course the downloadable worthy ones. Whether they help in the sound quality generally, the jury is out; then again the variables for creative sound usage is particularly good if your prone to a ear impediment that makes you want to enhance sound to your lob requirements. There are quite a few options even for the highly tuned savvy media buffs amongst you. How far can you take sound? Well, the X-Fi, takes you as far as last years efforts, which is pretty good. Though whether the quickened life-span of a 15 month old MP3 which is quite honestly regarded as a pensioner in the digital age; rocks your boat; well, it certainly is still okay, just to wear one of these and feel happy in a Chelsea wine-bar; and lose yourself with all the variable features, with some help of the 'Happy Hour'.
Creatives added Xtreme Fidelity technology to it's mix with the X-Fi; hence the X-Fi, title. - Branded like no other Creative product the X-Fi is exactly more marketable and is understandable across the globe. What I've found with Creative brands is their notable use of letters rather than words when it comes to printing it on the product. - Luckily by having creative Labs in all four continents, it certainly stops any misgivings when it comes to language. Creative ultimately does bring a favour of bland cabbage to the dinner table as a corporation; however, always seems to satisfy a particular market. Compared to other PMP's Creative has begrudgingly added a little bit of saffron to the X-Fi. - It has something, likeable I suppose. It certainly isn't a pointless Mozaic and Creative have gone back to the design drawing board The added Xtreme Fidelity technology is a ploy to get buyers away from the Apple iPod, as the iPod doesn't have this feature. Not that you would know, the sound quality isn't either better or worse, unless you have acute hearing beyond what is normal, but as I've not got special hearing frequencies, the X-Fi is to me a marketing mechanism to divert iPod MP3 traffic. - The official figures of marketing sector prowl ness is available later this year, as yet another attempt to take the crown away for Creatives war against the Apple's iPod continues. Instead Creative complexes products and continues with 'sound technology' that only dogs will know the difference.
The future within digital media lies within the 'app'. - (Application) - In the next year 35,000 more digital apps are going to be introduced. The programmers get very little money for the copyright and the programming but the wonders of the app can make a huge play on Creatives plans. The X-Fi; is a step in the right direction. The credit card sized portable media player is very mobile and solves many problems with obvious clumsiness that is so apparent with earlier models. Notably the landscape stroke portrait viewing facility is nothing new but a clever piece of X-Fi 'app' inclusion. - A bit savvy for a Creative product however, especially as the blue=print model design team quiver with thickness as the X-Fi is still nearly an inch thick. Though surprisingly light-weight, for what looks like an old -fashioned domino key. - What I can state quite truthfully that Creatives' agenda has changed they are still missing a vital ingredient when it comes to ultimate design, and supreme navigation.
The interface may look nice and winks at me in a flirty manner; I'm still hard to get. The X-Fi, has a Barbara Streisand sized nose in visual and navigation errors. Big ugly ones, that doesn't make feel to at ease when showing navigations to people who ask the most difficult questions, such as, where do I change the interface setting? - The quickest I've done it is three minutes ten seconds and I wasn't blind-folded. Yea, it isn't that user-friendly. It would cause frustration, but it does have that pointless Xtreme Fidelity Technology. The control panel isa design hindrance that should be replaced; Creative please speak to Apple.
You do get the options of a crystalizer which allows you to switch to - Rock - Vocal - Jazz - Helium - Country - Underwater; well the options are quite varied; thanks to Creatives app software, plus you can download add-ons that will inevitable offer you more effects that actually make some music tracks sound as if they're in your front room. But maybe that depends how loud you want it. Personally, I want 'Girls Aloud' in my front room, but alas I'm disappointed. The 129.99 GBP fee is quite a little steep for a PMP especially a Creative with the added enhancements. The best bet for a great deal is to go via the Amazon market-place and get a 6 month used one with all the accomplishments.
At the side of the X-Fi is another sound card slot that will give added memory boosters for those of your techno ambassadors who want more than the 8GB on offer. It has a gallery stroke library feature that allows options through different utilities, whether it being a USB 2.0 connectivity or downloadable material. The conversion rate is a mega piece of app that brings ultimate compression quality crystal clear to your ears. The transfer rates via PC to PMP differ, depending on the amount uploading at one time. For a 2,000 song upload the 8GB is ample amount and that is with the video and jpeg option, though who wants 2,000 videos to watch and who has the time? .Overall the PMP usage seems much quicker after updating via the allocated software available with the PMP.
The X-Fi also brings to you FM Radio option as well as importing JPEGS and small WMV video clips which aren't music related, if required even for amusement. I still would say try and upload media from the i-Tune online site via the WiFi so you can have a wide range of digital usage. The apps will eventually allow electronic books to be played on devices such as the X-Fi, so maybe fork-out just to have that option with your PMP, as updates are always a good option, in this world of true apps domination. - Just a note for you techno fans, apps have already got into your mindset and soon will be the biggest genre via mobile technology, and that includes your PMP especially the WiFi ones, and definitely the X-Fi Creative brand. Creative is big on technology and as apps are potentially the bold robust market for demanding techies, my own sweeping notion is to buy into the brand not the product as the portable media players from now on will allow an astronomical amount of apps that will become part of your daily life very soon. So my advice is to view Creative not as an aesthetically appealing player, but as a pocket-sized life co-ordinator, and that is the way Creative is going.
Overall statistics for the Zen X-Fi Portable Media Player
Sound and Graphics - 18.55 out of 20.00
Storage - 17.38 out of 20.00
Features - 15.95 out of 20.00
Design and Navigation - 16.65 out of 20.00
Originality - 14.84 out of 20.00
OVERALL SCORE - 83.37 out of 100
I hope all the information provided has helped.
© 1st2thebar - 08 - 2009
The creative Zen is sleek, stylish, practical and versatile. What more could anyone need from an mp3 player? The graphics are stunning, with the ability to both play video and display photos. Zen do a number of 'cases' that can be bought for a small extra price, which increase the versatility greatly.
The sound quality also served to impress me, and with the right headphones, nigh-on lives up to the tag line 'the sound of perfection'. This is enhanced no-end by its 'X-Fi' feature, which sets it apart from many other MP3 players. Whilst this device only plugs into the computer for charging (which can be somewhat restrictive when travelling etc), it uses a standard sized usb lead, which adds to the convenience if you own other devices such as external hard drives etc. This device is great value for money, and is a recommended purchase for anyone in the MP3 player market.
The Zen series of MP3 players are easy to use and reliable as well as being absolutely gorgeous. I don't know what it is about them but they always seem so slick and sexy. The Zen X-Fi is no exception to this rule - it's a beautiful machine with amazing sound quality - The X-Fi feature makes the sound even crisper than in their other players. I was also impressed at the battery power of this machine - it managed to last me a twelve hour train journey easily. It also allows you to play music from your SD card if you wish to use one as well as having functions which allow you to store photos and movies and watch them back with a great quality you would not expect from a small machine like this one. The only downside is the screen on my player cracked only a few months after I bought it but this was after dropping it quite a few times!
If Microsoft are a shower of corporate gibbons intent on stealing your cyber-soul through their large monopoly of bug-filled operating systems (not to mention the comedy sidekick of the three red rings of doom on the X-Box), then that should make Apple the caring, sensitive, consumer-minded alternative. However, unless your name is Linus Torvalds or Tim Berners-Lee, such sentiment is, quite frankly, bollocks. Once a blood-sucking corporate oligarchy, always a blood-sucking corporate oligarchy! Take the I-pod for instance. Marketed to create a belief it's the only MP3 player in existence; heavily patented to prevent competition from borrowing its exquisite control pad design; and recent versions claiming to do more than just play MP3s (as long as you're happy for them to do the other things badly), suggests they are a much closer relation to the hairy chimps of Microsoft than one would conceivably imagine.
Sure, an I-pod looks particularly cool with its funky futuristic design and you can fill the damn thing with enough music to make a Radio One DJ weep; but it does have its technical limitations. For an MP3 player the sound is relatively shoddy (well, it sounds like a bag of drowning cats in my ears), meaning you're not really getting the bang of the drums for your buck. And if you're an elitist music snob purchasing an MP3 player for general 'on the go' movements, sound quality usually takes precedence. This is where Creative's Zen X-Fi comes in.
For those not in the know, Creative are another corporate brand of litigious so-and-so's that have been fiddling around with soundcard technology since the early 1980s and have since cornered the PC soundcard market. It's not always a given that longevity in a specialist area determines expertise (see Microsoft Windows), but Creative have been producing solid sound hardware for what seems like eons now. The Zen X-Fi, released in June 2008, is the latest addition to the relatively successful Zen series of MP3 players and is the first to make use of Creative's Xtreme Fidelity technology. Supposedly, this restores any compressed audio format with crystal clarity to take your music to a 'higher level'.
Sounds gimmicky, right? Well, every new MP3 player needs a strong selling point against the marketing might of the I-pod and when you take into consideration the look and intuitiveness of the Zen X-Fi, it certainly needs it. Put it this way; the Xen isn't the most aesthetically pleasing MP3 player you're ever likely to own. That's not to say it's completely fugly, it's just not as stylish as an I-pod. About the size of a credit card and around half-an-inch thick, the Zen X-Fi does have the perception of being a bit brickish (obviously catering for the increased sound quality in the circuit boards it encases). Yet, it is well crafted, the LCD screen is large and user-friendly and, despite the perception of being the unit of MP3s players, is surprisingly lightweight in ones hand.
The control panel is more of a design flaw, however, although through no direct fault of Creative. I'm sure they'd like to have implemented the I-pod's snazzy and intuitive control pad for scrolling through play-lists and the like with relative ease, if they were allowed to. Instead, trying to build on perfection is a one-way street to failure. With the Zen X-Fi it's just a case of too many buttons making for an unintuitive process in navigating the LCDs menu screens. Sure, you get the hang of it after while, as well as working out how to define specific short-cut options, but for the least patient amongst us it could be a relative cause of frustration. Likewise, the X-Fi is also hindered by some early teething problems with its menu screens. Frankly there's far too much navigation than necessary. Scrolling from the music page to the option page in order to change the shuffle/repeat settings, or fiddle around with the equaliser is a real chore. Ideally you'd expect a sub-menu within the music page to do this for you, but this isn't the case. And how exactly do you go about setting up a bloody play-list? Quite frankly, it's unintuitive bobbins that requires far too much time than necessary to understand.
So far, so sounding like the I-pod is still the way. However, time to play the Zen X-Fi's trump card. That gimmick - well, it isn't really a gimmick as, technically, this latest version of the Zen is fanfeckingtastic! The sound quality really is immense and, not only that, the choice you have regarding the sound dynamic you want for your player knocks the socks off any I-pod. From the basic eight pre-set equalizer options (Rock, Vocal, Jazz, etc.) to the five custom equalizers you can configure manually, already makes it stand-out above most similar products. Yet when you add the two X-Fi options available, crystalizer (which enhances the audio quality by identifying key elements that were lost or damaged during the compression process, and re-masters them using selective audio enhancement) and expand (which converts audio to surround, making it sound more natural and realistic), your typically compressed 128mhz MP3 suddenly sounds as if it was being played at a live gig!
Okay, maybe a slight exaggeration. Yet it does improve the fidelity between the process of compressing CD quality sound into an MP3 far more than nearly all other MP3 players, making the quality and depth of the tunes you listen to far superior than their base constituents would usually allow. It makes a Radiohead track such as Paranoid Android all the more joyous to listen to as you can identify every squeak and fart going on in the background, which merely compliments raher than overpowers the rest of such a memorable rock tune. Additionally, base frequencies are richer and more defined and drumming just seems cleaner and clearer. The sound really is that good. Even more so, this is amplified through a quality set of universal headphones (meaning you can use them on other things, not just the Zen X-Fi) to maintain little degradation in the sound quality as it hammers into your eardrum. It makes rocking out to Biffy Clyro on the underground of a morning even more pleasurable!
This is made even easier by the excellent software package Creative has included with the Zen X-Fi. It incorporates a brilliant music library utility (far superior to I-Tunes in that it retains the links between the file location on your PC and how it is represented within the library) and a high level CD ripper that allows you to transfer music from your CD collection to a 320mhz MP3. Music is transferred from the PC using the USB 2.0 connecter included in the bundle (it's worth noting this is also how the Zen's battery is charged) and, whilst not as quick as that of I-Tunes is relatively sufficient. The update software has also ironed out some of the early bugs in the Zen - a common occurrence where the play-list setting was on shuffle and the exact same song would follow after being played has since been eradicated. The uploading between PC and player also seems much quicker after updating.
Additionally, there are other features that make the Zen X-Fi a fairly useful little pocket companion. The ability to listen to FM radio is welcome, as is a memory card slot to allow for additional storage space than the 8GB provided. Very handy! Videos and photos can also be imported, although a camera rather than an MP3 player would better utilised for such a function. Indeed, it does try to emulate the all-in-one thing that the I-pod Touch has attempted to incorporate, but the Zen X-Fi is at its best when it is doing what it knows best - playing high quality music at a perfectly blistering racket so you don't have to listen to random conversations on the bus!
In this age of quality audio being sacrificed for portability and convenience of downloadability, the Zen X-Fi is perfect for those that aspire to quality over quantity. The 8GB version is light on space (although 2000 tunes should be relatively sufficient for most) and lacks the sophisticated design elements of the I-pod, but more than makes up for it in its technical aspects. The X-Fi's audio quality simply kicks arse. If you want a high definition audio experience whilst on the move, then there's little better out there. And the real bonus? It's not made by either Microsoft or Apple, so you can consider yourself a moral crusader for the forces of good if you do decide to purchase. I'm guessing that's how Linus Torvalds or Tim Berners-Lee must feel every single day...
Overall - Technically, one of the most impressive MP3 players I've ever owned. That it never fails to be in my pocket when I leave my front door is telling. But then, I am a music snob and I don't really need more than 2,000 tracks to have at hand at any one time. If you need more music than sense, couldn't care less about audio quality, require an aesthetically appealing player to go with your style and a simple menu system and control function, the Zen X-Fi might not be for you, especially at just under £100.
I had a creative touch..a long time ago it is the size and weight of a brick and left much to be desired but it was reliable and was 20gig so i could put my entire music collection and more onto it. Just a few years ago the hype of mp3 players restarted big style and this year my partner bought an ipod. not wanting to sem as if i had copied i decided to buy from a different brand and seeing as creative had impressed me in the past i decided this was the mp3 player for me.
It is well designed however the buttons on the front can be a little difficult to locate if you are not looking at the player,say its in your pocket. It took a while for me to get used to the media organiser that it came with but once I got my head round it i was able to put all my photos quite a few episodes of my favourite tv series and my whole cd collection. the screen is a nice size to watch your videos on and the sound is crystal clear. Once i had got used to the format of the mp3 player i found it brilliant, the addition of the memory card slot is nice as i can turn it into a device for showing off my digital photots when my camera is not with me.
On the whole i think this product is well worth the money, it may be difficult to work at first but if you keep to it you will find your efforts well rewarded.