Creative Zen review critique

zen.jpgHere’s a an email a friend I’ll call ‘iPodFan’ sent me today regarding the Creative Zen. You might remember, I played with the Zen:M back at CES and wished it didn’t suck.
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My review of this review… and I’m completely unbiased!! ;)

Creative ZEN Vision:M Media Player

This is the same cost as the 30GB iPod with Video Playback. The ZEN Vision sells at Amazon for $299. The iPod 30GB is $289.99 at Amazon. ;)

My iPod’s hard drive kicked the bucket a mere week after its warranty ran out. Talk about rotten fruit. To get my life back in tune — and to spite Apple — I picked up this Creative media player.

Just like a cell phone, but with a delicate moving part, iPods have a useful lifetime… they won’t last forever. I’m sure Apple feels the spite, enjoy your Creative media player. Good luck getting it serviced if it develops problems.

In fact, upon further research, there are some interesting warranty features:

Creative’s Warranty Apple’s Warranty
warranty is not transferrable transferrable warranty
warranty is only good in the country of purchase worldwide warranty
labor costs are covered only for the first 3 months labor costs are covered for the first 12 months
refurb models are only covered by a 30 day warranty refurb models are covered by the same 1 year warranty
buyer pays repair shipping pays shipping in the first 6 months

Surprisingly, this stylish 30-Gbyte handheld held its own against my old iPod. It matches the video iPod’s MP3 and MPEG playback, makes up for lack of AAC support with DivX and Windows Media compatibility, and dazzles with its 2.5-inch LCD.

Same size screen, wonder how nice the Creative screen looks… I’ve never
seen one that was working on display.

(Editor’s Note – I’ve seen the screen, it was pretty nice.)

The menus and one of its buttons are customizable, and it has FM radio and a mike for recording messages. Plus, it mounted on my PC as a hard drive, so I could add files by just dragging and dropping — no more iTunes nightmares.

Windows Explorer for organizing your media… that sounds like loads of fun. FM radio: more fun. I am interested in the included Mike, is he cute? Does he take dictation? It’d be cool if they included a mic. (Sorry, pet peeve, Wired copy editors suck… I’ve seen so many typos lately.) My only iTunes nightmares are having to upgrade every ten minutes. ;)

My only complaint is that the vertical touchpad is a little too sensitive. And without iTunes Store compatibility, I have to get most of my video via BitTorrent. But that’s a small price to pay to escape Steve Jobs’ stranglehold on my music collection. — Erin Biba

Have fun getting sued. How does iTunes create a stranglehold? iTunes creates full quality Fraunhofer MP3 encodings at up to 320kbps, or VBR AAC, or even Apple Lossless (okay, that one is proprietary).

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Thanks for the email, iPodfan! I love it when you’ve woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Keep ’em coming!

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