I made the decision to by the Creative Zen due to word of mouth from my friends and research on the internet. I found it was very different compared to Sony mp3 players and iPods. It had a massive 32 GB built in and it was cheaper than the iPod and Sony products. This model was known to be on the top of its range.
After unboxing the product in anticipation I finally switched it on and tested it. The nice clear sound was heard when listening to the sample music you get with the device. The headphone supplied are awesome and the clear treble and deep bass was second to none. Not only can you plug in headphones but it has a built in speaker so you can use it as a portable radio that can sit at your desk at home or at work. The sound formats it supports are: WAV, MP3, AAC and FLAC.
The design is very sexy and I love the black colour I purchased. The buttons are big enough for my big fingers to press which is a bonus.
One of the other main reasons why is purchased this product was the large 3 inch touch screen that is very rare in portable mp3 devices today. The touch screen I found was very sensitive and smooth just like the iphone. The picture clarity is crystal clear. The menus were a little confusing at first, but took a while to get my head around it.
It's very lightweight and it fits in your pocket very nicely. It connects very easily to your computer and installs itself automatically. If you ever run out of space on the device you can purchase an SD card and connect it which is very handy for transferring files from other devices.
Not only can you play digital music files like mp3's but you can listen to FM radio. The FM radio can be configured manually or automatically and the sound quality is very clear.
The price of the device is very cheap and it is well worth the money for such unique and useful features. A must have for music lovers.
I gave the Creative Zen X-fi2 to my wife as a birthday present a few weeks ago and it is fantastic. We have the 32GB model but apart from the storage capacity it is the same as the 64GB, 16GB and 8GB models. Meg's previous media player was the Zen Vision M, I selected another creative media player as she had been so happy with her previous player. The X-fi2 is the best media player that creative are producing at the moment.
The sound quality from the X-fi2 is superb and the 'Xtreme Fidelity' features really do add to the audio experience. The X-fi2 has a built in speaker and although the sound quality from this is not perfect it is a lot better than from any other portable media player that I have heard. The X-fi2 supports; MP3, WAV, AAC, FLAC and Audible 4, which pretty much covers every format that we have audio files in.
The X-fi2 is Creative's first fully touchscreen portable media player. Often touchscreen can be a nightmare with buttons being unresponsive or badly organized but the X-fi2 is instinctive and easy to use (The benchmark test for new technology being easy to use is my Mum and she had no problems with this). The X-fi2 is incredibly light, it weighs only 75g. The software that comes with the player is very easy to use and does everything that you would expect.
As with the Vision M the X-fi2 has FM radio which some people may never use but my wife often enjoys listening to the radio so it is an added bonus. The X-fi2 has a 3" TFT LCD screen which although only half an inch larger than the screen on her previous player is a lot clearer and offers a much more enjoyable viewing experience. Although there is a 64GB model available my wife mostly uses it for music and 32GB is ample. Also the player supports up to 16GB micro SD cards which is useful if she ever needs more space and is great for copying pictures that we have taken on our phones.
The X-fi2 is an outstanding player, it is much better than an iPod but in purely video terms I would still choose my Archos. The 32GB version would set you back around £140 from creative at the moment and although this isn't cheap is justified by the sound quality. I would strongly recommend this for anyone who loves music.
CREATIVE ZEN X-Fi
Storage - 16GB
RRP - 117.00 GBP - Amazon online retailer
URL - http://www.creative.com
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The world of apps is undoubtedly the way forward in music media, especially as the BBC have called time on programmes such as the Asian network and Channel Six radio where a lot of the new music genre first start out . The only effective means of getting your presence out there if you are a music guru or producer is to embrace the icon world of apps. Creative are getting more involved with this icon interactive medium even more so, since the launch of Fidelity audio performance software, that is apparent in all 'X-Fi' models. It is a lot of hype, to be honest, but for you savvy portable media public, Creative Zen has improved somewhat since the 'Mozaic' chess days, which did bore me to tears.
Creative at least have picked up some good concepts while browsing through the portable media market at their competitors, and boy, did they need to pick their game up. I could see the whole media marketing journals getting on top of the Creative Lab corporation, as practically all media journalists gave a less than average account on what the Lab team had offloaded into the market before the X-Fi series hit the shops. Forget the gimmicks of 'Chess boards' big buttons with no purpose and none slick navigation thwarted all models up until twenty two months ago.
The X Fidelity models are following suit with the app king the 'Apple iPhone;' though the 'X-Fidelity' branding is nothing to do with apps there is a notable move in that direction by allowing users to purchase apps and content from Creatives' version of the Apple iPhone. Apps are taking over the portable media world as a new marketing genre within the PMP arena. Since the emergence of apps the term MP3 player has become obsolete, as now the portable media player caters for app usage that now envelopes the whole digital media market, so it is good bye to the term 'MP3 player', the baton has been passed on.
The X-Fi Creative series model has redressed blatant design changes, such as screen size and shape of PMP. This model is too small, just as the 8GB and the 32GB, the 16GB is the same size and its width is just under my right hand width, yes it is portable but these are for little people, obviously aimed at young adults who've stepped out of college and just about to embark on a career with a merchant banking corps. Not price wise, but intellectually wise. Creative prides themselves corporately on making their customers explore more, hence why there are small buttons that could easily be avoided, by other navigational methods. Ask Apple. It is as if there is a miss trust in its own touch screen technology, or it is simply that the Creative brand 'loves buttons' the smaller the better, it seems.
Fidelity's internal wireless local area network (WLAN) allows the user to view server content via Creative's site, directly to the X-Fi portable media player. This is the first series of 'X' to accommodate this facility. The digital data is transmitted by streaming audio and video data from the workstation or from the WLAN line. Creatives 'Fidelity' performance specializes in high quality audio, yet you've got to have ears of a hawk to configure that there is a difference. Downloaded information from 'podcasts' that is in Creative's 'MediaBox' I advise is viewed primarily as 'only for now data' rather than collectively storing and keeping it as downloaded material. Treat it as you would when viewing the BBC iPlayer. Do not digress down the IM usage route; the X-Fi specification is not valid for that type of practice, even though it is available. I recommend that the real-time chat won't necessarily be worthy of trusting until the next series of 'Smart Technology' PMP's are available in the marketplace.
Memory storage from the SD Card slot is notably not that interactive with the PMP. The old Win95 springs to mind when trying to access data, no prompt, no automatic messaging, just a poor scrolling navigation process to prolong the agony. The X-Fi itself as a PMP looks the real deal but shows many frailties, like the flimsy silver backing that Creative insists it sits on.
The X-Fi portable media player that has a storage facility of 16GB is mediocre. The PMP suits its purpose and the brand is at the upper scale of the MP3 player spectrum. 16GB will enable you to flick through up to 4,000 media files; this doesn't include CGI video's as these files do vary in size of content. I like the video interface that the X-Fi employs, probably its best feature, not exactly for the Labs 'fidelity' sound capabilities.
Creatives FM radio facility is a close second behind the smooth interface and screen facility, it is one of the best out there in MP3 player brands. Though is standard for PMP, but for the price of 117.00 GBP from an Amazon near you, you can't complain at the value. A decent library for JPEG - BMP images; viewing digital photos portably is also a plus, but not ground-breaking.
Xtreme fidelity series has not made bold innovative steps with this portable media player. It isn't that user friendly in regards to it's navigation facilities and the provided ear-plugs are not exactly comfortable while wearing them for more than 20 minutes or so. The audio quality is slightly better than a MP3 player, yet is comparable to any other portable media player brand.
OVERALL SCORE - 76.10 out of 100
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I hope all the information provided has helped, to make a consumer decision.
Thank you for reading.