* Prices may differ from that shown
I bought the Creative Zen MX mp3 player a few years ago for around £110. It was moderately cheap for a somewhat modern looking, compact mp3 player without video plackback built in. As a 13/4 year old at the time I used it, it was more than enough, capable of holding a huge number of songs, and even a few short videos I imported onto the device. The playback quality was excellent and an addition I greatly enjoyed.
As well as the mp3 player itself, it came with small black headphones which were perfectly adequate as well as a USB cable to use for the transfer of media files on and off of the mp3 player as well as charging. My one and only issue, which admittedly is somewhat of a big issue, was that despite having come with a one year guarantee, my mp3 player 'conked out' as it were, nearing on the 11 month and appeared to have been over charged. This was definitely not the case as I rarely charged it because I had noticed its battery life decreased after each time I had in the past and so often I would use it until it had around 30% battery life remaining and then I wouldn't use it for a while in the hopes that this would allow it to fix itself. This was a somewhat ridiculous plan looking back, but as a young teenager I wasn't an avid technology fan and became increasingly frustrated with my depleting mp3 player.
I think it is best that I also review the mp3 player itself in case the malfunction I had was somehow my own fault (despite the large doubt I have that it was). The 2.5in screen made it easy to watch brief videos off of, as well as improving navigation of the components, which include a microphone, photos, music, videos, extra, fm radio. However, the screen became easily scratched and so if you were to risk it, it would be necessary that you invested in some kind of screen protector. There are no labels to demonstrate which buttons mean up, down, or menu however it is easy enough to work this out. The playback is as simple as pressing the button with the small play symbol on it, although sometimes on my mp3 player this would become lodged making this difficult. There is also the option to select random, which is another button on the right of the device, which logically plays back your songs in a random order.
It is small and lightweight and easily fits inside a pocket, making it easy to transport, however this is also the case for many other similar devices nowadays. The additional components such as the FM radio and ability to store photos on the device were convenient but the quality of the radio transmission was poor (for me at least), and the photo storage was useful but I think it'd be cheaper to buy a simple USB stick if you wanted to simply store images!
To conclude, this is an ok mp3 player for someone like me, who (at the time) is young, not necessarily responsible with more expensive, more difficult to use devices, and is willing to sacrifice on additional components for the sake of a smaller price. I wouldn't say that it was an awful mp3 player, but it was not what I expected and since then I have upgraded and would not necessarily buy Creative again, unless they made some decent changes. Having read reviews after, and more recently, I have found that others have had similar problems to me and so perhaps this isn't worth buying, I'm sure if you kept your eyes open, you could find a moderately cheap mp3 player with similar features but one that actually lasts past its guarantee.
I originally bought this product in 2008 after losing my previous zen. From argos it cost me £120 which i was quite willing to pay after my last zen was something I listened to everyday.
It is surprisingly lightweight, has 8GB of storage (which can be upgraded to 12GB via the sd-card slot at the top). Mine came with creative headphones which were excellent in quality (still using them today)..
The menu is very easy to navigate around in and the buttons are self explanatry (UP volume UP, Left Previous Track and so on.....) Has a FM radio built in which can be access when the earphones are plugged in. Also included was the driver cd (don't lose this as the drivers can be a pain to download from creative) the usb for charging/uploading.
The player itself will allow you to play movies, mp3s and wma and the storage space can be configured so that you could say 50% for media and 50% as a usb drive (come up as USB mass storage device, like a pendrive).
Reliability: I must admit that it is not flawless and had crashed once or twice, a restart and it seems to work fine. The battery life is excellent and fully charged this can last me about 10-14hours depending on what i'm doing (i.e. watching video or playing music)
Overall 4/5 very good media device.
This was the product my sister got for her husband over Christmas so I have had a lot of time sampling it. My first impression was that it looked like a camerca and not a MP3 player but after using it is very straighforward to use and looks very stylish and fashionable especially as most people will be carrying iPod appliances.
You have 8GB worth of memory on it which means you can store a lot of songs although the 16GB would be better (to put into perspective my older iPod around £180 now has a massive 80GB memory so in comparison the Zen is trailing behind a little. The plus side though is that it is very versatile and seemingly scratch proof and has a (bigger than the standard iPod) screen size of 240x320 so it is much better to watch things on the screen than it would be the iPod but I'm not a fan of doing that on either device anyway.
One big downside for me (having an iPod for years) was the lack of features such as the very popular apps that have appeared recently on iPhones etc and also games that the iPod is famous for so personally for me I wouldn't make to 'downgrade' and go for an inferior product but if all you want a MP3 for is to play music then this is a great (and cheaper) alternative (whilst still looking trendy) to the iPod/iPhone.
As I was buying my wife a new car with an auxiliary connection, she decided that in order to make full use of this, I could also buy her an MP3 player to connect to it. Ever eager to please, I did my homework online to find a suitable player. She wasn't interested in the iPod range as they were too feature rich and quite pricey for her needs. All she wanted was a bog standard MP3 player which would sit alongside her in the car and just play music. Whilst browsing Amazon, I came across the Creative Zen MX, it offered more than a bog standard MP3 player but without the cost of an iPod. I quickly ordered the device and waited patiently for it to arrive.
==In the box==
When the Zen arrived, I was surprised at how small it was. Measuring 83mm wide by 55mm tall by 12 mm deep, this really is a nice compact player. As well as the device, you get a set of headphones, a USB cable and a quick installation guide. The Zen doesn't ship with a mains cable but this can be bought separately meaning that unless you buy this, you will always need to charge it up via your PC which could prove problematic if you want to take it on holiday with you.
==Installing the software==
In order to synch the Zen with your PC, you must install the Creative Centrale application which manages communications between the 2 devices. This software is actually shipped on the Zen itself which I thought was quite clever as it means there is no need for a CD in the box, nor the need to download the application.
On running the Centrale Installation, you are required to register your Zen for future upgrades and additional warranty support. Once the upgrade has been completed, you are now able to start copying content onto the Zen.
==Tour of the Zen MX==
There isn't actually a great deal to discover about the Zen MX. Approximately three quarters of the device is taken up with its 2.5 inch screen which has a 320 x 240 resolution. This screen is extremely clear and can display upto 16.7 million colours. To the right of the screen are the navigation buttons in the form of an outer square (with directions of left, right , up and down) with an inner square as the accept button. Below the navigation buttons are the play/pause button and the power/standby button. These buttons are self explanatory so I wont go into detail about them.
If we twist the Zen to the left so that the right hand edge is facing us we will see the USB connector which allows us to connect the Zen to the PC. Above the USB connector we will find the headphone socket. Both the USB and headphone sockets are standard ports which means you will be able to use any headphones or USB cable with the Zen.
==What does it do?==
The primary use of the Zen is to play music. The two main music formats are supported (MP3 and WMA) however to my cost after buying my wife a £15 iTunes voucher, the iTunes AAC format is not supported. You can purchase software which will convert these into MP3 files should you wish but this was too much effort for me so we just bought the Cd's in the end and ripped the tracks to MP3 files. The Zen also supports the ID3 tag system which means you get the correct song title, artist and album displayed when the track is playing.
As well as stored music, the Zen also comes with a built in FM radio. As with most mobile phones, you will need the headphones to be connected when listening to the radio as the aerial antenna is located in the headphones themselves. You can store upto 32 radio stations which in my opinion is more than enough to keep you going. These can then be retrieved by using the navigation buttons to scroll through the programmed stations.
You can watch movies on the Zen, although I haven't tried this myself, the unit does ship with a demo video of about 20 seconds. When I watched this, I was amazed at the clarity of the video and the distinct lack of ghosting that I was expecting. When copying movies onto the Zen, the Centrale software will convert the file into Creatives own CTV format.
The final thing you can do with your Zen is view photos on it. I am personally not a great fan of this as, because the screen is a similar size to those on digital cameras you don't really get to see all the detail in a photo. It would be ok to use for one-off photos but I wouldn't really want to see a full slide show on it. JPEG, BMP, GIF, PNG and TIFF file formats are supported.
My wife and I are really impressed with the Zen MX. We feel the sound quality is as good as you would get out of the iPod (both children have iPods so I can make this statement with confidence). The user interface is also simple and intuitive to use making this a perfect device for technophobes or experienced users alike. As yet, I am yet to find any real negative with the Zen apart from the fact that you cannot play iTunes music directly.
I paid £70 from Amazon for the Zen MX 8Gb version which is considerably cheaper than an 8Gb iPod Nano which offers similar functionality. You can also get 16 and 32Gb versions but I would always go for the 8Gb version and use an external SD memory card if you found, further down the line you needed more storage space.
This Christmas proved to be time to throw out my trusty sony walkman in favour of a higher memory mp3 player. After skimming through some good reviews, i settled on the Creative Zen MX 8Gb. 2 months later I must say I am very pleased with my choice. Starting with price, this is fantastic value for money. An 8Gb Ipod Nano would set you back well over £100, and I managed to pick this up for under £90 pounds. Aesthetically speaking I think this is a very nice looking player, with a nice big screen and a sleek compact design. The main menu is easily navigated and easily read when outdoors, which can be a problem with some players. The quality of both the video and sound on this player are excellent, with the accompanying Creative headphones proving to be flawless, provided you don't mind the in-ear design. My only real complaint with this Mp3 would be with the software provided. Oh dear. Creative Centrale has turned out to be, and I do not exaggerate here, the LEAST RELIABLE software I have ever encountered. I use windows vista and have had nothing but problems, which does inhibit the ability to build up playlists and utilise a few of the Zen's party tricks such as an organiser. However, if you manage to tame the software or decide to just drag and drop with windows media player (which works just as well) then the Zen is an absolute bargain if you don't want to conform to the Ipod, or just grudge shelling out the extra £20.
Creative are very well made mp3 players. They may not be as flash as iTouch's with all the apps and game but it does what it says on the tin. You can store quite a lot of songs on 8GB but it's probably better going for a 16GB if you are a music lover. These are tough mp3 players and when you drop them or scratch them nothing will happen. I know these are a lot more tougher than iPods. The sound quality is great and fine for a music fanatic. Its screen has great quality much better than most equivalent iPods and it is much bigger with 240x320 sized screen. Films are also quite good to watch but the screen size isn't that ideal. It looks very slick with a nice modern look. The disadvantages are that it doesn't ahve downloable apps or games. This leads a lot more people to get iPods because of apps and games. This is an amazing mp3 player but if you want a more media orientated mp3 I recommend the iTouch.
CREATIVE ZEN - MX
Storage - 8 GB
Release date - 05 - 2009
RRP - 99.99 GBP - Amazon website via the market-place option
Zen will creative be creative?
There are not a lot of life patterns you can be sure of; but when it comes to Creatives new MP3 player launch, the same old design pops its mandatory blue-print into the box of blandness. Yes, I'm talking about the so called new ordinary MX. This years silently released epic from the Creative Lab team. The difference with this model is it's quirky pointless OCD shift that plays with the navigation direction buttons rather than any major bold steps to bridge the gap with Apple's flying machine the iPod. Creatives efforts are not with simplify design; but with different processors and technology that they feel capture their loyal client base, obviously. Notoriously lacks visual purpose and any vital plausible reason to buy the player. Creatives long-winding road of yet another Zen product launch continues. Just like flogging a dead donkey the Zen is the figure-head for Creative chosen model of MP3 player; the reality is, of course in such a competitive market-place is opting for a lame donkey to win in the Grand National. - 2010 is going to be a steady perplexing year for the Creative Lab team, whereby facts and figures will throw the not so bold MX MP3 player will inevitably not scary your Branny in buying the PMP; but won't set the world on fire either. Only last year the launch of X-FI's series elapsed into a slight forward thinking process I felt, which now has fallen flat, the launch of the MX is basically the X-FI except for the slightly easier MX word. The cost is a lot more affordable mind on the Amazon market-place as it retails just shy of 100.00 GBP. Again, it is more pocket friendly, however, the smaller player deals could sway potential consumers to consider novelty brands with simplified navigation cajoled with U3 technology and mobility more-so.
X-FI versus the MX
Comparing the models of the X-FI and the MX, the Zen series players alike do have Xtreme Fidelity infiltrated into each PMP, as I cannot to my naked ear can distinguish any notable frequency sound quivers, by opting to different modes. Having this technology available on the MX also doesn't mean Creative will plug it has this piece of app within it. The launch of the X-FI coincided with the release of their Xtreme Fidelity, hence the brand. - Overall it makes the MX a pointless exercise and just another blue-print Zen series PMP add-on, I feel. The X-Fi has all of the above yet may not have the vital components to make so many updates, but then again, you don't need to update continuously, as it is a great piece of kit that has many apps available via the internet and you can also just simple buy a graphics card or buy more memory if required. The X-FI isn't that old to opt for a 10 month newer portable media player called the MX.
- Creative's not so bold MX version, which is effectively an add-on to the figure-head Zen series, has gone on for absolutely too long; does however, flirt with up to date technology that is notably called Zii; this processor is in all Zen series products but the difference with the MX is that they'll made it compatible for other updates that Creative will introduce earlier next year. I'm not sure why they'll include this piece of information and attached it to the MX but they have and as if that will make and sales increase, I beggar to differ. The techies among you will probably make a note but I hasten a guess that other brands may take top shelf news going into the next decade.
MX - stand alone media player
The swapping of unlock and the lock-on switches is hardly much to mention, but alas they've made it visible head-on to the player. Color noir/black simulates brand recognition except for the Mozaic novelty players that Creative so kindly enriched us with. The design team looks as if they've had fun in relocating the Corporate Identity visual for those of you who notices these changes from earlier Zen models. - Still the MX lacks finesse, style and chic vitality which probably doesn't surprise you, for those who are seasoned at reading my love affair with the exciting Creative brand. I do have a love stroke hate relationship with the epic Zen journey's Creative still warrants me to take a swing at. I will quickly add that I can see dust descending down in the ware-house and a distinctive space has been left as I decided to take it to the pen. Yes, it's not a must in the unisex-handbag and I would prefer to listen to songs on my Samsung E840 than slide this 66g into my large pockets. I'm refraining from giving out my pocket specification as this is a family show and even so it is bewilderingly light for the shape of it however.
MX - dodging in re-shaping the wheel
We rapidly move on - Sadly the screen interface is not anything too revitalizing, requires more variables and contrast options. The MX is sturdy and warrants it being thrown against a wall just to make sure of its concrete steady credentials that Creative so proudly boasts of. The plastic silicon covered casing has a soft feel and does take a real deliberate piece of frustration to mark, which differs from earlier models of three years ago when Zen leapt onto the portable media player scene like a gazelle on a beach wearing Alan Titchmarsh's wellies.
MX - The proof that Creative are running on auto-pilot
The MX has a useful media player viewer that isn't big on clarity. Smaller clips from TV programs can be viewed well in slightly darkened areas, so backs of cinemas would be perfect but keep the sound low. The 8GB is a superb amount of storage to read digital data WAVS, WMV, JPEGS and most media data formats. The storage facility is around 2,000 songs or files and about 200 short film files that can also be loaded via the USB connector lead which is provided with Creative software installers including drivers and utility update prompts, which is optional on your desk-top task-bar. This PMP does support 16.7 million colours, not that I can name them of course. The boredom factor steps up a notch while relaying the control-panel as nothing has been introduced to expand on; the closest analogy I can share with you is picture yourself on a ' wet Bank Holiday Monday' perhaps tidying up your sock draw wishing you were flaunting yourself all about Dooyoo's online community, with a face-on like Bagpus.
I have taken the time to give out those ever so helpful statistics that the community holds close to their heart; so I've got to get the correct. I've also taken in the consideration that the portable media player is this years model and therefore will differ to earlier brands hence the technology capabilities and progress.
-- --- --
MX - The stats
Sound and Graphics - 14.84 out of 20.00
Storage - 17.10 out of 20.00
Features - 13.09 out of 20.00
Design and Navigation - 12.25 out of 20.00
Originality - 11.61 out of 20.00
OVERALL SCORE - 68.89 out of 100
I hope all the information provided has helped in you making a consumer decision.
© 1st2thebar - 09 - 2009