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CREATIVE Zen Micro Review

 
 
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      13th Apr 2005
Creative Zen Micro review

Here is my mini-review of the Creative Zen Micro.


First of all the Zen Micro comes in colourfull cardboard box showing all of the colours it is available in.
The one I have is the white one (it's all that was available in the shop at the time - I would have really liked the silver one.)

In the box comes all of the bits you need, and a few you probabally don't.
Creative Zen Micro
Lithium-Ion Battery
Headphones
Manual (covering lots of languages)
Software CD
Zen Micro matching plastic caddy
Belt clip for caddy
Desktop stand for caddy
Mains charger
USB2.0 data cable

OK then, on to the actual review.
I pulled all of the bits from the box and removed the back from the Zen, it slides off the back in a similar fashion to many mobile phones, and I slotted in the Li-Ion battery and slid the cover back on. Amazing, it powered up straight out of the box, although there was obviously not a full charge on the battery so I plugged in the charger.

One thing that instantly appealed to me about the Zen, other that it's small size and cute appearance, was how it glows up when you turn it on. When you turn it on, the screen and border of whole front panel and the touch sensitive buttons all fade up to a very cool blue glow, and by default if you dont touch any controls for 5 seconds the blue lighting effect fades off again to conserve battery power - oh so cool.
Whilst charging the Zen, the blue lighting continously fades on and off indicating the unit is charging. Once the battery is fully charged (takes about 3 hours), the lighting fading stops and charging automatically stops.

Next, on to the software installation (all tracks have to be transferred to the player through the Creative Mediasource software).
The software is straightforward, just stick the CD in your drive, it should autostart, and then just click the install option and follow the instructions.
Once the software's installed, its time to copy some of your music over to the player. The Mediasource program is easy to use and intuative. Just locate your music, add it to your transfer list and hit the transfer button, and you'll see a pop-up window indicating the upload/transfer progress - easy peasy! You can also create playlists for your files within Mediasource - if you do want playlists, then it's much easier to create them from here than on the player itself.

Using the Zen Micro.
Firsly you'll want to turn on the player using the switch on the top. This switch also doubles as a keylock so you dont accidentally switch tracks in your pocket. When turned on, a little splash screen is displayed and then the main menu appears as the Zen fades up its beautiful blue glow.
The touch sensitive panel on the front of the player comprises 5 buttons (play/puse, next track, prev track, return/backwards and a sub menu button), and a vertical scroll panel in the centre which is used for scrolling up and down menus and a gentle tap selects the highlighted option (similar to using the touchpad on a laptop computer).
Getting used to the touch sensitive control panel on the front is a little tricky to start, but once i turned the sensitivity down it was much easier to navigate. The menu system is intuative and easy to find your way around the various menus.
The main menu is fully customizeable - you can add/remove options and change thier ordering, useful if there are some options you use a lot.
Navigating through the media library is fantastic, you can browse all tracks, artists, albums, playlists etc, and the player alphabetically sorts each particular list, which makes it easy to find your selected tracks via a number of different routes.
Once you have tracks selected and playing, the sound quality I found to be excellent, and the volume which is accessed using the scroll bar ranges from 1-25 and goes plenty loud enough for noisy trains, or walking around town.
The sub-menu from the currently playing screen gives options to view track details, view other songs by artist, remove from current playlist, and select play mode (normal, random etc) and volume.


sorry this is the best pic i could mange of the lights.

The Zen also includes a FM radio, with the ability to preset up to 32 stations, which can all be named. You can also record from the radio direct to the player. The radio was one of the reasons i selected this player, although I found the reception signal was not brilliant - I only got a good signal in very few places.

Other features of the Zen are a voice recorder, calendar which is synchronized from Outlook via the PC, Date/time screen, and also the ability to partition a section of the drive to act as a USB/flash disk - so, i've done away with my usb key and now store all my uni work on the Zen, you just have to make sure to carry the data cable with you though, although you can get wind-up travel versions of the data lead on ebay.


Conclusion
Overall, I found the Zen Micro a very cool and easy to use MP3 player with many great features and options. It only has a 5GB hard disk capacity, which is more than enough for me, and tracks are easily transferred if i want a change. I currently have 861 tracks (192kbps MP3) on the Zen as well as a 128Mb USB disk partition. Charging is quick in about 3hrs, and battery life is stated as 12 hours although is a little lower in real life situations - I'm getting about 10-11 hours at the moment just playing MP3's, which is really good for a hard disk player. I think it kicks ass over the iPod.

This player cost £149 from Dixons, but can be found much cheaper online if you care to shop around and wait for delivery.

So, my recommendation is forget the iPod. Get Creative. Get the Zen Micro.

Last edited by Cache-man; 13th Apr 2005 at 05:10 AM..
 
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      13th Apr 2005
If you would like to know anything else about this fantastic player, please feel free to make a post, and I'll pass on what i know.
 
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      13th Apr 2005
Nice review Cache-man especially like the idea of a partition so you can store other info on the Zen...

 



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      15th Apr 2005
I posted this in the other thread!! Muppet! Cool review mate, you've done the Zen maximum justice!! I like your new site too!!
 
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      2nd Jun 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by Vanilla Radio
I posted this in the other thread!! Muppet! Cool review mate, you've done the Zen maximum justice!! I like your new site too!!
i might take my ipod back and get a zen as i listen to the radio
a lot and it would save carrying 2 devices round
___ i would keep my ipod mini if the battery wasnt crap afta 2 weeks___
 
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      3rd Jun 2005
Quote:
Originally Posted by safcfan4eva
i might take my ipod back and get a zen as i listen to the radio
a lot and it would save carrying 2 devices round
___ i would keep my ipod mini if the battery wasnt crap afta 2 weeks___
got a zen micro
 
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      2nd Jul 2005
I have heard rumours that the zen micra's battery loses a lot of power after a couple of months ( with some saying only 4 hours) can any1 tell me if this is true
 
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      29th Aug 2005
1: you can transfer tracks to the zen micro with any program that you like not just the creative program that comes with the dievce

2: with the latest firmware the player shuts down after 4 hours so you dont loose any battery power i hve had mine on one charge for 1 month and havnt lost one stick of battery.

Gret buy only downside is that touch pad can sometimes be a bit tempremental.
when buying a new zen micro always update the firmware before transferring any music ontothe device (it i all erased when updating the firware)
 
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      30th Aug 2005
Nice review there!

If only I had the money for the zen

Oh well I've just purchased a Philips 128mb mp3 player which should be here soon.

Look forward to your next review.

Cheers,

Rich

 
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      1st Sep 2005
so who's upgraded theirs to the lates firmwear
i did mine was playing up all the time and it had very short battery life
 
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