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Creative Zen Micro 4 GB

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    16 Reviews
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      29.08.2013 11:17
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      A fantastic, sadly neglected machine

      While the rest of the world have spent the last decade or so listening to their music on generations of Apple's iPod machines, I've taken a different route. I've been listening to my mobile music on Creative's Zen line of MP3 players and the Creative Zen Micro was one of the first ones I bought.

      It measures 8.5 cm by 5 cm and is 2 cm thick, so by most modern music player standards it's quite large. It has a white body with a silver control plate that has a clear sort of khaki coloured screen in it. It's quite hefty, weighing four ounces (about 115 grammes) but feels very solid. I've dropped this loads of times including one very bouncy trip all the way down a flight of stairs but, apart from a few minor scuffs, it's survived them all completely intact.

      On the top of the machine are sockets for earphones and a USB connector and a slidey switch that turns it on and off, and locks the control plate so you can't accidently operate any controls while it's (for example) in your pocket. The faceplate itself is a lovely tactile thing that feels like brushed aluminium, with ridges and nodules to separate various control areas like play/pause, forwards and backwards, volume and view menu. The 3.5 cm by 2 cm screen displays track and album details when you're playing something and a scrolling list when working your way through a menu. It sounds quite complicated but is actually really simple and intuitive.

      Sticking music onto the Zen is about as simple as it gets. There's none of this having to have a special file type and signing in to a particular company's store. You just plug it into a computer and it shows in explorer as an extra memory. Then you can just drag and drop MP3 files onto it. Simple.

      The sound is more than adequate for this kind of machine although I have to admit that I would like it to go a little louder on occasion. But I can't fault the quality of the playback. It's not tinny at all but full and rich throughout the entire aural spectrum. Over the years I've used it to listen to everything from thrash metal to gentle string quartets and spoken word and it's handled all of them beautifully. Obviously much of the sound quality that you hear comes down to what earphones you use but the ones that came with this were pretty good for a relatively cheap set.

      At four gig the memory isn't the biggest in the world but it equates to somewhere in the region of a thousand songs. It might not hold your entire music collection but it's big enough for most uses. It also has a radio and a voice recorder. Honestly, when I first got my Zen Micro I tried both of these a couple of times each just to see how they worked and that was it, so I can't really comment on them.

      I can't remember what I paid but that's really irrelevant as it was nine years or so ago. I've seen some on eBay recently going for around £80 and I think that would be a fair price if this player were still on the market today. Sadly it's been discontinued in favour of newer and supposedly better machines, but it still does a perfectly adequate job. If it ain't broke etc...

      Despite being almost ten years old my Zen Micro is still going strong and I regularly listen to it even now. How many Apple fans can say the same about those early iPods?

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        17.02.2012 16:06
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        A Classic MP3 Choice

        I've had this thing since for 7 years and have only recently traded up for an iPod Classic 160GB. The sound quality is as you'd expect from Creative, awesome, and the memory is fairly good even by todays standards. There are some setbacks though - 1. The headphone jack breaks internally, but can be fixed through an online guide - simple but can be a pain if you aren't familiar with basic tools and a soldering iron. 2. The software required is pretty crap.. it struggles to rip tracks or play from the mp3 so its better to get an online alternative (I personally like using XNJB which is for mac). 3. If the battery is removed and you've got a lotta tracks, prepare to wait as it takes its time to load all the contents. 4. Finally - SOFTWARE UPDATES. many people have had problems with this as Creative's website is as lousy as its software applications but to be fair you just need to find the right update, and you're fine. Now its time for some reasons to buy it:

        - sexy led lighting
        - various colour options
        - fair memory
        - easy control
        - Durable
        - handheld size
        - tidy music library
        - fast charging
        - led pulsing when charging (nice)
        - can be used as a memory stick
        - calendar
        - fm radio
        - date and time settings
        - custom sound controls
        - recordings

        During the 1/3 of my life I've owned this, I've dropped it numerous times and it merely bounced and kept on ticking. Ok the back case lost a few chunks of plastic but the point is, its solid.

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        26.09.2011 18:01
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        Recommended

        Now, I'm not the most technical of people, and I've got to an age now (early thirties) where I feel that technology has left me behind and I have to have someone to show me how to do all these new-fangled things such as downloading music. I received this Creative Zen as a birthday present from my parents about 5 years ago, and at first was a little scared to be joining the 21st Century and downloading music rather than buying CD's, but once I got into the swing of things I haven't seen the need to replace or update this as it provides all the functions I need in an mp3 player.

        =What does it come with?==

        The box containing my Creative Zen contained the mp3 player, headphones, a belt clip and a charger. The accessories are all white in colour so they match the back of the Zen. The clip is useful for when you're at the gym or jogging, as they hold the Zen in place without it falling off. You can also get protective covers for the Zen to stop it getting scratched but I can't remember if this was included or my parents might have bought it separately. It's worth shopping round to see what's included in the price if you're considering buying one, because unlike a lot of gadgets you'll actually use all the accessories supplied in this pack. You also get a disc containing the software that allows you to transfer music onto the Zen.

        ==How much does it cost?==

        As mentioned, this was a gift, and there are newer versions around now with more sophisticated features, but you can get your hands on one of these earlier versions for around £80 these days.

        ==Size and appearance==

        The first thing I noticed about this little gadget was that it's very stylish looking. Mine is silver with a white plastic back with the Creative Zen logo on it. It's a nice size and weight, as it fits easily in your hand (and therefore your handbag/pocket), but it's not so slim that you might lose it easily. To put it in everyday terms, it's short and fat rather than long and thin! I quite like my gadgets and phones to be on the "chunky" side to be honest, because I feel they're less likely to get damaged or lost than their thinner, smaller counterparts.

        I've just researched the exact sizes online and the Zen is 3.3 inches high, 2 inches wide and 0.7 inches deep. It weighs 3.8 ounces which is worth considering if you're going to be using this mainly for exercising as it's a little extra weight to carry compared to some of the mp3 players out there. I mainly use mine when travelling so it's not too much of an issue, but if you are a big jogger you might want to consider something lighter.

        The screen is a good size and takes up about a third of the front of the Zen. It operates via a touch screen pad rather than conventional buttons, but these are a good size for you to manage. I find sometimes I get impatient with the buttons because they are quite sensitive so even though they're large it can be difficult to pinpoint the option you want.

        ==Functions and Features==

        Without stating the obvious, the Creative Zen allows you to play music you have transferred from your laptop or disc. The Zen comes with a disc which has the software you need to be able to do this. I'll be honest, I didn't actually perform this bit myself when I first got it (too technologically scared!) but as it turns out, I could probably have done it myself as it was a case of sticking the disc in and it pretty much loaded itself. At first I was a bit scared to try all this and would leave it to my dad (or boyfriend when he came along!), but now I am confident using it as it's very easy. You simply copy your music files across (literally copy and paste the files), and then they're ready to upload to the Zen using the USB wire provided. This transfers the music onto your Zen, and then you're ready to go.

        The Zen has some nice features, for example you can set up playlists which is a nice idea for creating a "holiday album" containing songs you might want to play on a certain holiday. You have to do this on the PC or laptop before you upload to the Zen though.

        You can alter the play mode so it picks songs randomly (shuffle mode), or you can line up albums in the order you'd like them to play. The music is also split into 'genres' so you can choose depending on your mood, but to be honest the easiest way to find the music you want is to go to All Tracks where it lists all artists and albums. Once you've started playing a song, the name of the title and artist appear on the screen, along with a bar telling you how long the song lasts and how long is left to play. Whilst you're listening you can then line up which songs you want to listen to next. Although this is a time consuming way of creating your own playlist, it's very useful for passing time on a flight if you're not sure what mood you're going to be in and just want to choose song by song.

        The Zen has a radio but I've never used this as I prefer to listen to my own music. It also has a microphone for voice recording, but again this is not something I use it for.

        ==Battery Life==

        The instructions that come with the Zen claim that it has continuous battery life of 12 hours, however I can't confirm or deny this as I've never had the need to use it for this long. The longest I've used it is for a 5 hour flight, and the battery lasted for the whole of this time and went down to one bar. Even though I know it lasts a while longer even after it gets to one bar, I didn't want to chance it running out on the way back so I charged it when we got to the hotel room. I would say it has a very good battery life and certainly lasts for as long as most people need it for (long haul flights being the possible exception!)

        ==Song Capacity==

        The Zen has a memory of 4GB, which in useful language means it can hold up to 2000 songs, but I've only used about a quarter of its capacity as I tend to listen to the same stuff over and over. I'm a bit boring like that.

        ==My opinion==

        My fiancé is quite a technical person and he's not overly keen on my Zen. However, for someone like myself who's a novice when it comes to technology, I have found it to be very user friendly and not unnecessarily complicated. I find it really stylish and love the size (as mentioned previously, it weighs a bit more than most other brands but this suits me as I'm less likely to lose it!). Apparently it's deliberately curved so it sits in your hand nicely. I have never had any issues with its performance, and the battery life lasts well. It holds far more songs than I am ever likely to need on a portable device, and I can listen to this through headphones or speakers so it's great to take on holiday and sit into a docking station with speakers (although this isn't usually allowed as my taste differs a little from my partner lol!). Although this is the only mp3 player I've owned, so I don't know any different, I would not hesitate to recommend it and have no plans to replace it anytime soon.

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          26.08.2010 22:41
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          A good little work horse MP3.

          This was my first MP3 player. At the time I worked in an electronics store which sold these amongst others such as the Ipod Nanos.

          Having been around the products, used them, studied them and seen the faulty return rate of competing devices along with having owned other Creative products it was a confident choice to select this as my first step into the MP3 world.

          The device itself is fairly solid and robust it survived the general knocks of life; train commuting, running etc. Being a follower of many genres and a music purist I was keenly interested in the sound quality and for such a small plucky device the quality was exceptional (as expected from Creative). However, the provided headphones do not provide the best quality and do not last especially long. I've always stuck with Sennheisser for headphones personally.

          If you are a purist like myself then the lack of lossless audio format support may be a little off-putting, however, the space on the device does not lend itself to lossless audio particularly well.

          The battery life at the time was fairly remarkable, though in today's products figures like 50 hours get thrown around frequently.

          The use of a hard drive allows the user interface to be intuitive and easy to follow allowing good control of how you access the media on the device. It's not as sophisticated as modern systems and it's not as powerful as a laptop / PC. But for a device the size of flash devices you can get to what you want to listen to in seconds.

          Where I was unfortunately let down was over all reliability; in less than a year the touch pad control system ceased to work. Creative were good enough to replace it without hesitation or cost to myself, however, the same thing happened. I struck it up to bad luck having not seen many other similar complaints from people who had purchased the device from where I worked. After it happened twice I took the next modest step into an MP4 player and upgraded.

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          27.06.2010 14:35

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          Fantastic little device for music lovers.

          I picked up a Zen micro from ebay for about £17 2nd hand and it was a sound investment. The micro is quite a small device that feels good in the hand and the pocket. The controls take some getting used to especially the volume slider but you can adjust its sensitivity in the options which is a bonus. The bundled headphones were rubbish but i use my own Sennheiser CX 300II thanks to the 3.5mm headphone port which also means you can plug it into any stereo out port on speakers etc.
          The battery life was fantastic lasting a few days with a fair amount of usage, only having a blue and white screen and no fancy video to play helps this alot. I did consider getting an iPod but couldn't justify the price tag especially as the sound quality was very much the same (I had tried a friends iPod before buying)
          The main advantage of the iPod is the amount of space you get, with some going up to 180gb and the little games you get. However if you want an out and out music player with built in radio and microphone then the Zen micro is my first choice.

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          07.04.2010 12:56

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          Good for a year, but not for longer

          I have had this mp3 player for several years now and for the first year I was pretty happy with it. At the beginning the battery life was very good- I was commuting long distance at the time and it always amazed me how it would just keep going! The sound quality is very good, the DJ (random) function seemed to have psychic abilities in determining which music would suit my mood, and I had a smug anti- i-pod stance...until the battery life plummeted. I bought a new battery after less than a year and the new one didn't even last that long, as well as taking an age to power up. I did find that while studying the record function was great for recording and playing back notes, but the radio had terrible reception seemingly everywhere. I was happy with it for a long time, but I'm afraid the honeymoon is now over! Sadly I wouldn't recommend this product, apart from anything else it's not very eco-friendly to have to buy a new mp3 player, and battery, every year.

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          09.08.2009 13:11
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          It'll never let you down!

          I have had my trust Zen Micro for about three years now, bought second hand it is very reliable and does everything you could ask of it.

          *Age & Battery Life*

          Regardless of the age of the Micro (Creative don't even manufacture them anymore!) it can still outperform many more modern MP3 players - including some of the latest iPods! The battery life beats a vast array of the latest gen iPods hands down; listening at around half volume, you can get a good nine to eleven hours playback before needing a charge.

          *Connections*

          Charging can be done either by the supplied USB cable, which requires you to leave your PC switched on, or by using a USB to mains charger which is around £4 on eBay. Both work perfectly, and have very simple connections as the Zen has a mini USB jack built in. It also has the standard 3.5mm stereo headphone plug on the top side.

          *Size*

          Size wise it's about 2cm thick, 8cm tall and 5cm wide, which is larger than many more modern players, but you still do not notice it much when it's in your pocket. With a belt clip you can easily go jogging with this without too much hassle.

          *Capacity*

          At 4gb the Micro is far from the largest MP3 player on the market, but you'll find it will easily meet your needs, you can easily fit 800-100 mp3's on the player in 128kps quality. This suffices for a couple of months at least before you need to refresh it!

          *Sound Quality*

          The quality of playback from the player is perfect, you cannot fault it. The headphones that come with it though leave something to be desired, as they are cheap and not designed well to fit into your ears, often fallning out. I personally use Sennheiser PMX 70's, which cost around £20, they have a rubber wrap around for your neck and slip over your ear fitting perfectly. With a pair of these the quality of playback is excellent and great for going jogging.

          *Software*

          The Creative software for loading tunes is okay, but you don't have to use it which is a massive bonus in contrast to iPod's where you are forced to use their bloated iTunes software. With the use of any number of 3rd party applications, you can choose the best software to suit your needs. I found this to be Notmad Explorer, which allows you to drag and drop your mp3's into the Micro in a File Explorer interface, really straightforward!

          *Conclusion*

          I highly recommend you look for a Micro on eBay, as secondhand the performance does not drop and one should only cost about £30-50 these days.

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          26.06.2009 16:32
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          Very satisfying purchase, highly recommended manufacturer.

          I purchased my Creative Zen Micro around five years ago, but just had to write a review when I saw it on here because the thing is still going strong. I've never really had any trouble with it - it seems to be very well built and has taken more than a few knocks in its time with no signs of damage to its functionality.

          Practical and discrete, this little player can fit in any pocket, and is highly portable. It only comes with 5GB of storage which isn't really much by today's standards, but that should still easily hold around 1000 songs, which I find is plenty to keep me occupied on a long trip.

          Unlike Apple who insist you use iTunes, Creative are happy to let you use whichever software you choose to organise your songs, and upload them to the player. This is the kind of flexibility which really makes Creative players superior in my opinion.

          The battery life is also very good, and even several years down the line, it shows no signs of wearing out. Apart from playing MP3's, the Creative Zen Micro also has a built in radio, so there is plenty of flexibility in terms of music choice when you are on the road.

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            22.06.2009 02:34

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            Very good MP3 player

            I bought a Creative Zen Micro because my iPod broke a few weeks ago and I could not afford to replace it. I was a bit disappointed that I would have to settle for one of these because I LOVED my iPod but when I got it in the post, charged it up and filled it up with my songs I realised I loved it. It is a fair but chunkier than my previous device but it is not a problem once you get used to it. It has touch sensitive buttons, so you can just slide your finger over it to turn the volume up or down or skip through the tracks. It is very easy to locate your favourite songs if you want to listen to something in particular, and the shuffle function is good too, which is important to me because I hate it when MP3 players choose 25 songs and play the same ones over and over again. It comes in lots of different colours from black, white, pink, red, orange and many more, so you can choose whichever one is right for you. I actually have the 6gb white model, and the large amount of space is so good because I can fit so many songs on there compared to my old iPod which only had 2GB and seemed to be able to fit barely any music on it, so I am never bored on a train journey now that I have a good variety of music to choose from. I think there is a voice recording function too which could come in useful, but I personally have not tested this out yet so cannot comment on the quality of the sound. If you are not an expert on MP3 players and want something with a good amount of space, easy to use and with a decent shuffle then I would highly reccommend this.

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            15.05.2009 17:25

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            Get a good guarantee and you should be fine

            I've had this mp3 player for quite some time now and really love the product. Unfortunately mine appeared to develop a fault which I have not been able to fix and so I have now got an iPod instead. I do prefer the creative zen micro but had too many problems with the battery and once it was nearly filled up it would freeze a lot and wouldnt turn off or on. It would work if I connected it to a computer, but obviously this was not always convenient! I really like the fact this has a radio, it looks good and is easy to use. I thought the sound quality was good too, if mine hadn't have had so many problems with freezing and with the battery not charging as it should, I would still be using this now! Unfortunately, I am hesitant to risk spending a lot of money on a new one unless it came with a good guarantee. Perhaps this is not a common fault but thought I would report my experience in case others have had the same...

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            02.09.2008 13:09
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            If you see one cheap, buy it

            This product has lasted for about 5 years for me now, this is quite something when you consider that i don't treat it especially well and don't take any particular care of it.

            When you review any mp3 player you of course have to compare it to the ipod. I don't know anyone who's ipod has lasted 5 years, most people's batteries needed replacing (i believe it's £60), either that or their ipod just died and refused to play music.
            There are no such problems with the zen micro, although i represent a fairly small survey i really believe that the reliability of the zen micro is second to none. One great feature that creative have stopped including in their new players is the removable battery, if your battery stops taking charges then you can just buy another one from ebay for about £10, much better value than a £60 replacement from apple.

            The sound quality on this player is very good although i won't pretend that my ears are able to tell the diffirence between high and low bit rates. The menu system is easy to use and I really like the touch screen system although it isn't as intuitive as the ipod scroll wheel.

            The zen also includes a radio reciever, something the ipod doesn't include but i find that the reception is generally patchy and i wouldn't regard this as an important feature of the player.

            The 4GB storage space is now tiny in comparison to what is available on the market but it suited me well for the first few years of mp3 player ownership although i imagine that most people will want a much larger hard drive.

            Most people choose apple because that's what everyone else chooses, and although their creations are undeniably beautiful i personally don't like the way the itunes download service ties you in to apple products for life. This is the reason I didn't choose an ipod in the first place and i think that this argument is as valid today as it was 5 years ago which means that if i ever have to replace my wonderful zen micro, i won't be choosing an ipod.

            If you do need a new player and you are't worried about having photos or videos and you aren't already locked in to itunes, if you see a zen micro going cheap then i would buy it, yes it's out of date but it will certaily last longer than most other players on the market.

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            12.12.2005 16:56
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            all round good player with all the things needed (songs, radio, voice recording and more)

            The creative zen micro 4gb is a great mp3 for most people. I am very impresed by the audio quality. The radio reception is also very good even in places where general reception is bad. The voice recorder is also very good and records lectures with excelent quality, although its a bit of a pain that it doesnt record in .mp3 format.
            The buttons are easy to use but takes a bit of getting used to because of they are a bit to sensitive.
            The player is also just the right size and fits in your pocket easily - it is also lite.
            It would be nice if there was more memory, for the heavy users with thousands of songs 4gb wont be enough.

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              30.11.2005 01:37
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              Good Bargain

              The Zen Macro is a pocket sized PDA were you can listen to your favourite music, watch movies and even download music from the Internet. You can save your Oh so imortant documents on it and still have at least a thousand more songs on it. Although there are a few futures that lets itself down, such as: it's been beaten by it's contender, the Apple Ipod, which the Ipod should have lost.The Zen Macro is a pocket sized PDA were you can listen to your favourite music, watch movies and even download music from the Internet. You can save your Oh so imortant documents on it and still have at least a thousand more songs on it. Although there are a few futures that lets itself dow, such as: it's been beaten by it's contender, the Apple Ipod, which the Ipod should have lost. The Zen Micro does the business and if you want an Ipod but doesn't have enough money for it then go for the Zen.

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                28.11.2005 03:32
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                Brilliant MP3

                Bought one of these about 2 weeks ago got it cheap, I used to use a 128mb MP3 player... but didnt hold enough songs for me.. anyways, i personally think this is better than an IPOD my sister has an IPOD and i have this Creative MP3 Player. I borrowed her headphones (IPOD Headphones) and i turned it up full and it blew them!!! I think that shows that the Creative MP3 pumps out ALOT MORE power than the IPOD.

                The disadvantages about the Creative MP3 is that sometimes it does run extremely slow. when i try change the track the screen stops and i have to wait for about 3 seconds for the next track.

                I think the slowness od the MP3 could be to do with mine been full. Im not sure..

                But besides that i recommend this product to ANYONE

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                  05.09.2005 10:08
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                  An MP3 player to rival the iPod but with the added extra of a removeable battery.

                  It was my birthday in June and I was getting excited about what I could do with the money that pours in (at a trickle) from my relatives. We had a trip to France camping coming up and I always feel that taking CD's is a bit of a waste of space in the car. On this note I decided that we should really look at purchasing and MP3 player which would enable us to take more stuff essential to camping, and more importantly bring more wine back with us :o)

                  My search for MP3's began on Ciao and I read around a variety of reviews and asked the reviewers some questions which I needed answering. The most important question for me was 'How can I play this in my car?' but more about that later. I visited Curry's and had a look at a few but was really impressed with the chunky little Zen Micro thingy that fitted comfortably into the palm of your hand. This was the one!

                  After searching the internet for decent prices I went onto the Creative website and actually ended up purchasing the little beast through one of there approved stores, and at the cheapest price I had seen as well, thumbs up from me. The player cost me £135 delivered which I though was a fair price.

                  For those of you who don't know an MP3 player allows you, with a range of software (depending on the type of player) to take you CD's or downloaded music and transfer them onto the hard drive of an MP3 Player which then has the capability to output sound. MP3 basically means making audio files smaller without a loss of sound. I've done some research here and found out that you basically shrink the size of file by a factor of 12 with MP3 technology. This means that you can fit more music in a much smaller space. If you're thinking about buying an MP3 player you won't need to know much more than that. I'm no techy and am really not the best person to tell you about such matters, suffice to say that it works.

                  My MP3 player actually arrived on my birthday (good organisation!) and I was really exited to get it out of the little box and see what we had got. Within the box you get a charger, headphones, belt clip, stand, carry bag and a protective cover that the player slides into. You also get a CD which contains the software for transferring your files onto the player, the instruction booklet and a USB wire for transferring files to the player. Well I'm the kind of person that gets impatient when I get new things so I couldn't wait to get started. Unfortunately I had to wait for the thing to charge so I had a bit of a peek at the manual. After about 2 pages I was bored and wanted to play again. The only thing left for me to do was load the software onto my home PC.

                  Upstairs I went with CD in hand. The software was easy to load and didn't take that long either. On opening the programme (Creative Media Source) you find a load of windows that may look slightly confusing. Not to worry though they are all there for a purpose and with a little playing around you will soon get used to it all.

                  So the software is installed, it's mainly white and grey which is a bit drab in my opinion but it works well and that's the main thing I suppose. The first thing you need to do is to transfer all the files that you have stored in your regular PC files. If you use Windows Media Player and have already got a fair amount of music on your computer you will have to import tracks form 'My Music' in bulk. This doesn't take a massive amount of time and Creative Media Source supports the Windows Media Format (WMA) as well as MP3 so that makes it doubly easy as you don't need to change the file types.

                  When first importing track you just need to put everything onto Creative Media, but as time goes on and you get more tracks you will need to add them individually. This can be a bit of a pain as finding 3 songs amongst 2500 can be a bit awkward. I found that when I download new songs I put them in a folder with the date on then transfer the whole folder across. A bit convoluted I know but it works for me.

                  In Creative Media Source you are able to make playlists and sort tracks into groups. I have only dabbled at doing this as it is quite time consuming although if you have the time to spare it would be quite worthwhile as you can sort tracks into multiple playlists for a whole variety of occasions.

                  So, you've loaded all your music up and are all set to transfer it onto your player, what next. Well next up you have to connect your player to the PC with the USB wire provided, then select tracks and add them to your player using Creative Media source, easy really when you see it. I have found that adding tracks doesn't take all that much time at all and you can fill the player in about 3 minutes (quite fast really).

                  So now you have all your music on the player you're ready to hit the road, hang on a minute, how do you work it?

                  The Creative Zen Micro doesn't have any conventional buttons, rather it has a touch sensitive pad that acts as buttons and a slider. The first thing I did was to turn the sensitivity of this down as it is actually quite difficult to get used to. You can then start exploring the players menu's and functions.

                  There are a variety of menus that you can access on the player. The first menu is where you can select the mode of the player; for example you can look at your music library; see what's playing now; change the play mode, use the FM radio (which in my opinion isn't really worth it as it gets almost zero reception) or select Extras where you will find options to change the date and time, look at your calendar which I believe you can synchronise with Microsoft Outlook, or select microphone and record interesting stuff that you would like to hear back again.

                  The main reason however for having bought an MP3 is surely to carry your music around with you so that's what I'll focus on now. With the Creative Zen Micro you can play your playlists that were created on your desktop PC or choose music by genre for example (although it's a bit hit and miss as to what gets placed in what genre). The selection I mainly use is All tracks which allows me to access all of the songs on the player. I can see what I am playing on the LCd screen that takes up about 1/3 ofthe front of the player.

                  Within any of the selections you can touch the options button and search further for specific tracks by title or keyword. You can also search for other track by the same artist, bookmark the track or add it to an existing playlist. The most useful feature I have found must be the play mode. I have my play mode on shuffle all tracks mainly as I like a variety of music, I know I like everything on the player as I put it all on there so it doesn't really matter what comes next. You can however choose to play just the selected track over and over on repeat should that take your fancy.

                  A word about the shuffle option; I have found that there seems to be a bit of repetition of artists when I am shuffling my music. It seems sometimes that every other song is by the same band. It's not too much trouble however and I believe this is a feature that happens with all similar devices. It can be a bit annoying though if you want something else on, as you have to keep tapping the forward key.

                  I currently have over 1300 songs on my MP3 and have used around 2/3 of the total space so I reckon I could fit around 2000 songs on. This I find to be plenty of room, although I have reduced the quality of some tracks that were large files. The memory size is 5GB and should really be enough for your average punter.

                  So what do I think?

                  The Creative Zen Micro is a really cute little thing. It comes in a variety of front colours although the back is white, probably to look a bit like an iPod. The player is comfortable weighty, you won't forget you have it on you at anytime and therefore you should notice if someone were to lift it from you pocket.

                  For those of you who need specifics the player is about the length of your finger by about ½ a finger wide, not specific I know but who carries a ruler around with them all the time? The player is backlit by a neon blue light that comes on when you press any buttons, the light does dim however after a time of inactivity.

                  It does take a while to get used to the touch pad buttons and 3 months down the line I still have the touch pad on the least sensitive setting. That doesn't matter though as I can use it that way and turn the sensitivity up if I need to in the future. For those of you who are likely to carry the player round in your pocket, there is a hold sliding button that you can use to stop inadvertent button pressing.

                  For me the Creative Zen Micro is a really useful device. I was able to take all of my CD's on holiday with me and play them through some cheapy speakers that plugged into the headphone jack. It also enables me to have all of my CD collection played through the stereo by connecting through the back of the stereo into the headphone jack.

                  The battery is stated to last 10 hours and I have never found battery life a problem, I bought an in car charger so I can charge up and play at the same time. If your battery severely dies you are able to buy replacements from many suppliers, something that I believe you can't do with the iPod.

                  I am also able to play the MP3 player through the car via a small FM Transmitter, although these aren't strictly legal in the UK they are very common and provide a decent enough sound through the car speakers. For someone who drives a fair amount I find this satisfactory for my needs.

                  In all I can't imagine what my life was like before this little beast. I love my music and the Creative Zen Micro lets me carry it all round with me so a full 5/5 stars from me.

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