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My first real foray into the iPod like mp3 player market was the creative Zen 20gb and I was glad I had gone for the Creative over Apple's ever stylish offering. The ease of use was far better than having to sync to iTunes, however due to software at the time it wasn't quite as easy as it is now, with some synching required.
Once my favourite tracks were loaded I fired up the player with ease thanks to its intuitive interface began enjoying music quickly. One problem I subsequently found was the poor quality of the ear buds, upgrading to some proper in-ear style ear phones really allowed this player to shine. The sound quality was excellent and a small bit of tweaking the equalizer allowed for ever more audio enjoyment.
Over time, features such as great battery life and easily swapable batteries proved their worth, while iPod users struggled on long journeys, I simply swapped the battery on continued on in my own world! The brick like construction payed off in dividends on the many trips to the floor crashing my bmx with it in my pocket.
Unfortunately a fundamental floor reared its ugly head, the audio jack was susceptible to breaking and bending, creating intermitent cut out of sound. I managed to fix this according to some DIY guides online, but in the end it had to be replaced on warranty. This did not put me off the player and I simply had another with no problems, until I decided I needed to upgrade to something newer.
I have had my Creative Zen for many years now and still love it and wouldn't change it. During these years of use the playing has not had any problems and still looks as good as new despite being dropped the odd time.
The mp3 player is quite large in today standards as it's not paper thin but this also helps with it being very sturdy. The appearance is nice with the blue lights around the edge and the backlights for the controls so you can see what you are doing in the dark.
The power button, head phone jack is on top of the player as well as a lock function and the master reset button can be reached from here. The battery life is very good and I have used it on a number of long journeys without any problems and it is still as good today as it was new.
The player is only 20gb, small compared to others you can get but I find this to be plenty of space for my music and can store a lot of songs. You are also able to use the player as a portable storage drive for other things.
The menus on the player are very easy to navigate with the scroll bar and other controls. The player features a lot of different functions for its age, which I love about it. As well as playing your mp3s it also has radio built in and picks up stations easily, you are also able to record the radio on to the player. Another feature that can come in handy is that is has voice recording and an alarm for when you have it plugged into speakers.
The mp3s are very easy to put on to the player with you being able to use the software that comes with the player or simply use media player or any other software you have.
You can create play lists on the player itself to listen to and the player has a good search method for find artist/songs. Other options are using the DJ mode where it can play random songs, album of the day or most listened to favourites as well as others.
The player came with a number of accessories in the box, as well as the software and manual it came with a charger, usb cable, earphones, a pouch and a solid holder that the player can be stood up it or clipped onto yourself if using for activities like jogging.
I really adore my Zen; after three grueling years of solid use, a couple of scrapes, and a few drops onto concrete, it still works like new.
The simplicity of the Zen is great, although the sensitivity of the scroll can occasionally catch you out; I remedied this by changing the sensitivity level, which seemed to sort this. Also, pictures can be uploaded onto the Zen and used wallpapers, though unfortunately you cannot view the pictures while watching your music.
Battery life is good, I got consistently 10-11 hours out of it, and the battery life didn't decrease throughout the years and I found the sound quality to be great.
Uploading songs onto it is so much easier than an iPod, simply drag mp3 files onto it from My Computer, and within seconds, they are copied into albums. Also, another nice feature on the Zen is playcount, which I was disappointed to find not on an iPod, as I enjoy seeing how many songs I had listened to, and my 'Most Popular.'
Summary: Excellent mp3 player, if you are not looking for an iPod, that is durable and superb value for money.
Personally, i think the Zen is a good buy and the best out there for those not considering an I-pod. The fact that it has a radio gives it one over on the I-pod (its main competitor) but the thing that i didn't enjoy about it was the sensitivity of the scroll button. For somebody like myself with not a lot of finese it was just too sensitive to scroll movements when selecting songs. You would find yourself down at Z when you were looking for P. apart from that, the storage facilities and connectability with the computer was top notch. overall i also found this product far more reliable than the I-pod. it lasted me a long time and was far less likely to break. So, put simply. If you have patience and the money to spend, then buy an I-pod. if you are looking for a cheaper, reliable alternative then look no further than the Zen
I bought this mp3 player a couple years back and I must say it has excellent. On the other hand, it lacks the multiple features of today's media players. When I bought it, it was a top model with all the features but in today's world it is just a larger music player and I now expect more from a product like this.
The Creative Zen is very easy to use. The buttons are big and easy to press and navigating through the screen's menu is simple. The 1.65 inch blue backlit screen can be seen clearly and never freezes. The downfall of having big buttons means that the overall size of the mp3 player is bigger than actually required to be.
The unit it self is roughly the same size of an iPod but a whole lot thicker. It is roughly 2cm thick. It's not great for keeping in your pocket all the time. The memory capacity is great because you can definitely fit all your music on to the 20 gb memory. There is no video playback so that leaves all the memory for music.
The sound quality is good but a decent set of headphones will make it sound even better. Downloading music onto the player is simple and quick. The built in rechargeable battery lasts for over 5 hours playback, which is great.
Overall a decent music player but with today's new technology, you are better off paying more for something with more than one feature and use. The size is a let down but it was all right back in its day.
the creative Zen 20 GB mp3 is a great all rounder it has perfect sound quality not to mention how easy it is to operate, this mp3 would suit people of all ages and ability. it may only be 20GB but it is very good value for money and very stylish, I didn't really find any bad point about it apart from the memory, id say an ideal start to mp3 if you haven't tried one yet. the battery life is 11 hours and rechargeable but you must ensure it is fully charged before removing it so the battery dose not wear out as some do. the Zen only needs low system requirements on your computer which most models have so its very easy to install and start downloading music without worrying about weather your computer has the right speck for it to be installed and work properly. a very good product indeed.