Creative ZEN X-Fi
Portable media player with Wi-Fi connectivity
- Stylish design, wide array of formats supported, lots of features, large storage capacity
- Wireless connectivity of limited usefulness, keypad makes it difficult to type, X-Fi modes not worth using, SD card slot poorly implemented
The Creative ZEN X-Fi continues the tradition of past ZEN players, offering a compelling alternative to the iPod range. However, Wi-Fi and the X-Fi modes are poorly implemented and don't bring much to the table.
Price$ 399.95 (AUD)
Best Deals (Selling at 2 stores)
For a while now people have been waiting for a refresh of Creative's popular ZEN series of players; at last it has happened in the form of the ZEN X-Fi. This time around Creative has managed to pack in its popular X-Fi soundcard technology, along with Wi-Fi connectivity.
While these features are good in theory, there are some problems with their implementation. The key layout on the ZEN X-Fi could also use a little work. Nonetheless, this is another solid portable media player from Creative.
The biggest feature of this unit is undoubtedly its wireless connectivity. It offers a few possibilities, notably the ability to copy music across the network wirelessly, but it is slower than transfer over a USB cable.
Another wireless feature is the chat option. Users can chat via Yahoo Messenger, MSN or Creative's own messaging service. Unfortunately, the implementation has several problems.
Firstly, you can't be online when listening to music. Secondly, the keypad is extremely frustrating. It is laid out like a mobile phone keypad, so you navigate around the onscreen keyboard then tap the key multiple times to pick which letter you want. It is slow, tedious and not at all suited to typing long messages.
This isn't aided by the keys themselves, which are a little tough to press at times. This wasn't a problem during general operation, but in situations requiring lots of rapid keystrokes it made things difficult. Aside from this issue, however, the interface was easy to navigate, with Creative implementing its standard menu system, which will be familiar to past users.
Audio quality was fairly good, but not outstanding. Highs were rich and the low range had some punch, but we felt that detail was a little lacking at times. However, the ZEN X-Fi does come with a better-than-average pair of ear buds. They aren't going to satisfy audiophiles, but they are leaps and bounds ahead of the stock ear buds that are bundled with most MP3 players.
Users will probably want to stay away from the X-Fi modes. This technology, previously only found in Creative's soundcard range, was until recently unable to be placed into a portable device due to power requirements. While it appears Creative has succeeded, the end result is a pretty watered-down version of the real thing.
There are two modes, the crystalliser and the expander. The crystalliser does fill out the sound a little more, but it makes everything less controlled and gives it a synthetic tone. The expander enhances bass impact but muffles all the other registers, as if you're listening through a piece of cloth. We vastly preferred our music without either running.
Other features of the ZEN X-Fi include video, photos, FM radio and voice recording. The screen is fairly good quality and videos looked impressive during testing.
Our test unit was the 32GB version, although a 16GB model is also available. If you want to expand the memory further, there is an SD card slot. However, files on the SD card won't show up with files stored in the onboard media as a single list, and a lot of the basic functionality such as sorting and playlists can't be done to files on SD cards.
The ZEN X-Fi supports MJPEG, WMV9, MPED4-SP3, DivX3 4/5 and XviD3 codecs for video and MP3, WMA, AAC4 (.M4A), WAV (ADPCM) and Audible 4 for audio. We struggled to get the unit showing up as a removable drive on our Windows XP test machines. Once we'd installed the bundled software we could drag and drop files onto the device, but it refused to show up on several PCs when plugged in until Creative's software was installed.
Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Review: TCL C1 series 4K TV
- 2 Sony 75-inch UHD TV (X9400C) review: Sony and Android are a winning duo
- 3 LG 55EG960T OLED UHD TV
- 4 Panasonic Viera UHD TV review: good hardware, fragmented software
- 5 Microsoft Lumia 640 review: Honouring Nokia's legacy
Best Deals on Good Gear Guide
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.
- FTNetwork EngineerNSW
- CCContract Analyst Programmer (IT Application/.Net) 160523/AP/254Asia
- CCSenior Service Desk ManagerNSW
- FTTester/Business AnalystWA
- CCSolutions Architect - Enterprise ApplicationsNSW
- FTAX Lead Functional ConsultantNSW
- CCFull Stack Developer - AngularNSW
- CCCCB & MDM ConsultantNSW
- CCDeemed Order Business SpecialistVIC
- FTPermanent Defence network engineer - career progression & flexible conditionsACT
- FTLinux Infrastructure EngineerVIC
- CCSenior Business AnalystVIC
- CCSecurity Administrative Support OfficerACT
- FTDynamics Project ManagerNSW
- FTSenior Network Engineer - Technical LeadACT
- FTLinux System EngineersNSW
- CCSystem Engineer - Server Migration experienceNSW
- CCLinux AdministratorVIC
- CCSr. Windows Server Administrator- Financial Institution BckgNSW
- CCAccess Control Administration / Help desk OperatorACT
- CCContract Programmer (MS SQL Server/SQL/Web) 160518/P/626Asia
- CCNV1 Consultant | Groundbreaking Defence decision support applicationACT
- CCSoftware DevelopersACT
- FTSoftware DeveloperSA
- CCSenior Business Analyst, Marketing SystemsNSW