Creative Jukebox Zen: Review
Well I promised you a review so I thought I’d better get down and write one. So, here it is. I may add to it as my enjoyment of the product increases/decreases. I have included four photos for your viewing pleasure.
I was incredibly impressed by the speed in which simply.co.uk delivered me my MP3 player – the contender to the Apple IPOD crown of king of the hard-disk mp3 players. It took a mere 24 hours to feel the sturdy metallic object in my palm. So top marks on the delivery front.
On opening the rather large Creative Labs box you will find: a software CD, quick start guide, leather carry case, usb cable connector, mains battery charger and of course, The Zen MP3 player itself. All nicely packaged and protected from damage by the usual polystyrene gubbins.
Other reviews seem surprised at the size of the thing as it is slightly (and I mean slightly) larger than the IPOD. However, it is still portable and is the same size as my latest cassette playing Sony Walkman. A size I am used to and quite an easy size to slip into your pocket, if you don’t want to use the leather carry case to strap it to your belt.
Before you can use the Zen you have to give it an initial 4 hour charge. This gives you plenty of time to install the software and read the excellent PDF manual and interact with the Flash guide. I was well aware that I’d be needing to download some extra software before I bought the thing in order to use it as easily as possible. Creative are well known for shoddy MP3 software. Not that it’s a bad package but strictly for the most basic of users. The Notmad software that is available from Red Chair software makes tag editing exceedingly easy. You see, the Zen expect you to have maintained a good set of ID3 tags. The reality of the situation is that most of us don’t. Not to worry, that was easily sorted and in a mere 24 hours my CD collection was fairly ship-shape. The software on the machine is very good – offering excellent file management and some nifty little EAX sound effects so you can add masses of reverb to tracks to simulate being in a concert hall (if that floats your boat). You can save your own playlists too or just get the machine to play random stuff at you to its hearts content. There are plenty of menus to enable you to move easily through your albums/artists or search for tracks. The nice chaps at creative have also pre-installed a load of classical music onto the machine for your enjoyment. This is easily removed. One great thing about Creative is that they constantly upgrade their firmware – giving you access to new cool features. You simply visit their site and download the upgrade. The bundled software does the rest.
The machine handles very well. The buttons are all on the side rather than on the front and they all require a fairly hard push in order to get them to work. This is particularly useful when you’ve got it in your pocket. You don’t want to go accidentally pressing buttons all over the place and ruining your enjoyment of some 23 minute prog-rock opus now do you? It’s got a handy scroll wheel on the side just like recent sony/ericsson mobile phones. This ‘jog dial’ feature is very useful when moving through various menus of options or through your albums. The blue back-lit LCD display is top notch and much better than the green display of yore. The screen is big enough to read without squinting or holding the thing to your nose and the hard drive is as quiet as a mouse. You can have the volume up really loud with no distortion thanks to some clever science that I wont go into here. You get the 14 hours playback no trouble as long as you’re not trying to compete with a jet airplane in terms of sound. Stay away from the EAX effects to keep that battery healthy too! Talking of the battery, it’s a concealed lithium cell that you can’t remove. It’s fully rechargeable and really does give you 14 hours of non-stop playback. Bonza!
In a nutshell…
A splendid little device that will keep me entertained for many hours. The 20 gig hard drive will take some time to fill and the carry case will ensure that it stays nice and scratch free. Downside? Hmm, hard to think of one. Maybe it could have been just a little smaller. But that really is a minor minor thing. Well worth the �253 from simply.co.uk.
Tags: Gadgets, Music