Sunday, January 29, 2006

 

Creative Zen Vision: M review



Today we’ll take a look at the Zen Vision:M from Creative. This player was chosen by CNET as best of CES 2006 and he’s the biggest rival of Apple’s iPod video (5G). Our Zen Vision:M is available in 5 colours, from rather classic to very funky. This portable media player has 30GB storage capacity.
On the next picture you'll see how this player will be delivered.













Zen Vision:M, earphones, power adapter with interchangeable plug, sync adapter, USB Mini-B-Cable, pouch, installation CD, user’s manual.

















The Zen Vision:M features:
- 30GB capacity to carry up to 15,000 songs, tens of thousands of photos an 120 hours of video
- 2.5” colour screen displays 262,144 colours
- Customisable Shortcut button
- ZEN vertical touch pad control
- FM radio & recorder
- Works with subscription, pay-per-download music and video services
- Syncs with Microsoft Outlook Contacts, Calendar & Tasks
- Up to 14 hours of continous audio playback, 4 hours of continous video playback

Minimum System Requirements:
- Microsoft Windows XP (SP1 or higher) / XP 64-bit
- Intel Pentium II 350MHz or AMD K6-2 450 MHz
- 64MB RAM (128MB RAM recommended)
- USB 1.1 port (USB 2.0 recommended for faster transfer)
- 170MB free hard drive space

The first thing I did after I got this player was charging it until the battery was full. This went easy by using the included adapter. A full-charge took about 2 to 2,5 hours.

Then I’ve installed the software. This is a very convenient program. With this program you can navigate you Zen completely. You can upload your music, rip CDs, add videos and photos and plan tasks.
Note: You don’t really need this software. You can plug-in your player and use it like an exchangeable hard disk to transfer data.

When the music was transferred, I plugged in the earphones. I immediately noticed that the audio quality of the included earphones is superior.






















The menus are easy to use. You can scroll through your playlist by using the vertical touchpad and you are able to adjust the sensitivity of the pad to your own needs. On the right and on the left you find another 2 small buttons with the following functions: previous and the next in a song. There are still 4 other buttons on this player: the shortcut button, which you can program by yourself, the play/pause button, a menu-options button and a go back button.






















At the bottom of the player you find a groove to plug-in the sync adapter. This is necessary to charge the battery of your Zen or to transfer files. You can’t plug-in these cables directly in the player. On top, finally, you find the on/off switch, which is also the key lock button.



















Functions review:
While listening, a lot of information is displayed on the LCD screen. It tells you the song name, album name and artist. It also displays a counter and in the right corner you find the battery-life.
















Photos which you have transferred to your Zen Vision:M have the same name as on your computer and are stored in separateted folders. There is also an option to look at your photos all in once or cast them in a slideshow. During looking to photos, your music or the radio is playing further. The supported formats are: JPG, BMP, GIF, PNG and TIFF.

The quality of video is very well. The pictures are sharp and develop fluid, it's like watching a DVD. The video start again where you were stopped watching. The Zen Vision:M supports different video-formats: WMV9, MPEG, Motion-JPEG, with DivX and XviD.




















If you want, you can connect the player to the TV. Therefore you need a special cable out of the Creative video kit, which is optional. I don't have the kit so I couldn't test this.

Another function which I find almost indispensable on an mp3-player is the FM-radio. The device is able to store up to 32 presets which you can give a custom name. The quality isn’t very well but rather reasonably to good. The Zen is able to scan for radio stations. Some of them still had a lot of noise. You can also record from the radio.

On the side of the portable media player is a small hole. This is the built-in micro which can be used to record conversations. The file that I recorded from a close distance was very clear and easy to understand. From a few meters (+/-10) away it was (logically) more quiet but when you turn the volume a little up, you can understand this conversation also clear.



The Zen Vision:M has a few extra functions: like an organiser, adjust date and time and its function as exchangeable hard disk. You can use the player as alarm clock, which I actually find a nice extra. (It's also a function that iPod video doesn’t have). So you can be waken up through your own tracks or through the radio. Nevertheless this function has also a negative point. You have to use your earphones. In a nightly silence room, it is loud enough to wake you up. I tested by myself, and guess what, I was right on time at my work! Ok. I have to admit that I also used my mobile phone, which I daily use as alarm clock, but it wasn’t necessary. It is a very nice option if you are fed up with the "tuut-tuut" from your alarm clock or mobile phone.

With the organiser-function you can look at your task which you’ve added on the basis of the software or Outlook. If you look at the calendar, you can chose the date and see if you have a meeting or a task on that day.

The player has these dimensions: height: 10,4cm; width: 6,2cm; and it's 1,89cm thick. It weighs 163 gram. Because of his weight and dimensions, I don’t find it so handy to take with me everywhere.

Included with the Zen Vision:M is this quality carrying bag.













Conclusion
The Zen Vision:M from Creative is a pearl. Both the sound and video quality is very well Only FM radio is rather reasonably to good. The player and the software are both easy to use. In short it is a really recommended!

Good points:
- Very well picture- and sound quality
- Beautiful design
- Exchangeable backgrounds on the player
- Plug and play (you don’t really need the software)
- Can play a lot of video-formats, also DivX and XviD.

Negative points:
- If you use the alarm clock, you need the earphones and turn on the volume on maximum
- The 4 buttons are rather stiff. They require more power than expected (But after a while you get used to it, I think)
- You always need the sync adapter because of the cables can’t direct plug-in the Zen
- Battery isn’t replaceable by the user.

Now available!

Score: 9/10
Date: 29 January 2006
Reviewer: Sneakytje

The Zen Vision:M and the Zen Micro :)

Comments:
Hi, I've enjoyed visiting your blog. I am trying to get my zen mp3 players site up and running. At the moment I am concentrating on the Zen Touch and Zen Sleek. Sadly, the Zen micro does not appear to still be available from Creative.

I've certainly got some way to go before that site meets the standards of your blog.
 
The Zen is great but the iPod is sleek. Want to get one for free? Visit: http://getfreeipod.info/
 
has anyone actually got a free iPod from going to that site?
 
Hey,
In the original post you said that you have to use your headphones for the alarm clock. There is another way. You can go out to radio shack or any major electronics store and get a connection cord that goes into the headphone jack and connects to the back of certain stereo systems using an A/V Connection. I believe you only need the red and white jacks.
 
Who knows where to download XRumer 5.0 Palladium?
Help, please. All recommend this program to effectively advertise on the Internet, this is the best program!
 
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