Creative Labs Zen Micro

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Creative Labs Zen Micro

Pros

  • Neat design, simple to operate

Cons

  • Battery drains quickly

Bottom Line

The Creative's extra capacity, great styling and price tag make it an attractive option.

Would you buy this?

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Previous Zen digital audio players from Creative have proved it isn't afraid to take on Apple at its own game. Now, with the Creative Zen Micro, it's going head-to-head with the iPod mini and iPod nano.

In terms of the design, Creative has certainly got it right: the Zen Micro's smooth lines and curves, neat touchpad and attractive blue backlit LED screen, buttons and edges put it on a par with its rival. Available in ten different colours--twice as many as the iPod mini--it also betters Apple's mini for storage capacity (up to 6GB, compared to the iPod mini's 4GB). The Zen Micro also includes a built-in FM radio and in-the-box extras like titanium earbuds with wired remote control, plus a cradle with belt clip and stand.

The Zen Micro is an excellent audio player. It's very simple to operate, with a vertical scrolling touchpad that has adjustable sensitivity levels. It's a bit like using a scroll wheel mouse. And the context menu button works in a similar way to a right-button mouse-click in Windows. Press it at any time for a dedicated menu, customised with options that apply directly to whichever function you're currently using. It's a neat touch that saves a lot of to-ing and fro-ing through menus.

The claimed battery life is 12 hours, but we found it drained far quicker, even when it had been left to recharge overnight. Batteries are interchangeable, though, so you can simply slip in a new cell when the current one runs out of juice. And music isn't the Zen Micro's only talent. If you want to use the device as a removable disk drive, you can allot up to 2GB of the available space to storing data files.

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