Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 MP3 player
The new Creative ZEN Mosaic MP3 player adds little to the previous version
- Sturdy body, decent integrated speaker, acceptable bundled earphones
- Confusing controls, outdated and ugly interface
If you’re looking for a cheap MP3 player from a well-known brand, the Creative Mosaic EZ300 is an option. It is not one we would recommend though, with few quantifiable improvements over the earlier ZEN Mosaic and a feature list that looks markedly outdated next to competitors’ offerings.
Price$ 109.95 (AUD)
The Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 is a reasonably priced 4GB MP3 player with a basic feature set. It is out-classed by players costing only a small amount more, and even cheaper players have better interfaces and aesthetics.
With a similar form factor to the iRiver T6 MP3 player, the Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 is easy to hold. The buttons — laid out in a matte and glossy checkerboard pattern, giving the player its name — are large enough to press easily, but their layout isn’t particularly intuitive. For example, instead of holding the centre button to power the player on — in the absence of a dedicated power button, this seemed logical — we were confronted with a black screen. The play/pause button takes care of power functions but it is located on the bottom-right corner of the checkerboard, which is a puzzling choice.
The matte black plastic body is sturdy enough to resist knocks and scratches, but the player feels cheap and hollow. Similarly, the 1.8in, 128x160 pixel screen is acceptably bright for outdoor use but has a terrible viewing angle and a glossy fascia which catches reflections easily. A mini-USB connector joins the 3.5mm headphone jack on the player’s lower edge below the controls. Hidden on the player’s rear is the integrated mono speaker; we liked the speaker’s smooth sound, but it does not have a very high maximum volume.
The Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 is bundled with a pair of Creative-branded ear-buds. We liked the Creative EP-830 headphones that came with the Creative ZEN X-Fi MP3 player and while these bundled ear-buds aren’t up to that level of sound quality, they’re still fine for listening to compressed MP3 music or FM radio.
Sound quality from the Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 is fine for an entry-level MP3 player. We tested using the bundled earphones and some Creative Aurvana Air earphones and found the maximum volume to be more than loud enough for most situations. There’s no shortage of bass or treble and a versatile equaliser with a custom setting allows you to tailor the sound to your liking.
The interface of the Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 is based upon sub-menus, with each selection opening several new options. We think the iPod’s system of navigation does this well, but the ugly text and low resolution screen take the polish off Creative’s implementation.
The ZEN Mosaic EZ300 also has an integrated voice recorder and FM radio, both of which work well. The FM radio’s Auto Scan feature is useful, with 32 presets that covered all the major broadcasting stations in our test. A photo viewer and video player are also included. The photo player has a useful slideshow function, but the video player is little more than a novelty given the small screen and the need to transcode files to the Motion JPEG format through bundled Creative software.
The Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300’s chief competitors come in the form of the Apple iPod Nano and the afore-mentioned iRiver T6. The iPod Nano may be $60 more expensive for an equivalent model, but we think that’s a justified price increase given its far superior interface, features and control scheme. The iRiver T6 is cheaper and while it has a similar feature set and menu layout, we prefer its design and navigation scheme.
The Creative ZEN Mosaic EZ300 is a competent MP3 player if you can devote a little time to learning its controls and menus. That said, there are many other competitors which are more intuitive and more refined for similar or lower prices.
Follow PC World Australia on Twitter: @PCWorldAu
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Gadgets & Things
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Star Wars Death Star Bluetooth levitating rotating speaker review
- 2 Finally! LG OLED TV 2016 range review
- 3 Fetch TV Mighty review: Better than Foxtel
- 4 Fetch TV Mini review: Make your TV a smart TV
- 5 Panasonic Viera DX900U UHD 4K smart TV review
Latest News Articles
- Apple TV will serve as hub for remotely controlling HomeKit devices
- Sony Smart B-Trainer headset gives runners vocal advice
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
- Apple shows off iPod touch, nano updates
GGG Evaluation Team
First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.
The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.
The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.
My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.
- The top 10 best and worst tech gadgets and products of 2016
- Best phone of the year 2016
- TV of the year award 2016
- Which flagship TV is best? Sony 4K HDR Bravia 2016 versus LG 4K HDR OLED 2016
- 10 Blu-ray movies / Best looking Blu-ray movies
- FTBrand Marketing Manager - Premium Entertainment BrandNSW
- CCProject ManagerNSW
- FT.NET DEVELOPER | MID-SENIOR LEVEL | MEDIA INDUSTRYNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- CCSecurity AnalystACT
- TPBusiness Analyst - DataQLD
- CCSenior Java DeveloperNSW
- CCData Modeller and Business Analyst - Integration ProjectQLD
- TPProject Manager with a Development BackgroundQLD
- CCTest AnalystQLD
- FTLevel 3 EngineerNSW
- FTChief ArchitectVIC
- FTRegional Sales Manager - Telco/ICT - Employer of choiceQLD
- TPSenior PMO AnalystNSW
- FTProject SchedulerSA
- FTJunior-Mid Level Implementation CoordinatorQLD
- TPPL/SQL DeveloperNSW
- CCSenior Project Manager - Vendor Transition - ApplicationsNSW
- CCTechnical Business Analyst - Infrastructure - VirtualizationNSW
- FTSenior .Net DeveloperVIC
- TPProgram ManagerNSW
- FTManager Integration PlanningNSW
- FTMicrosoft Dynamics AX Finance ConsultantNSW
- FTFront End DeveloperNSW
- FTSDLC CoordinatorACT