Creative Labs Zen Vision

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Creative Labs Zen Vision
  • Creative Labs Zen Vision
  • Creative Labs Zen Vision
  • Creative Labs Zen Vision

Pros

  • Sleek design, wide format support

Cons

  • Windows only

Bottom Line

Support for all common video and audio formats, coupled with a sleek, lightweight design and improved user interface help make Creative's Zen Vision, a top-notch media player - provided you have a Windows PC.

Would you buy this?

Creative's Zen Vision is a follow-up to the popular Portable Media Centre, but represents a fundamental redesign that eschews Microsoft's portable media centre design in favour of a fresh interface. Instead of relying on Windows Media Player to transfer files, the Vision ships with the Creative MediaSource and Media Explorer applications for Windows that are used to handle media and manage data on the device. Unfortunately, Mac and Linux users are still left out.

The Zen is encased in a magnesium body, which helps keep the weight to around 250 grams. The black and silver device (white is also available) measures 12 x 7.5 x 2 cm with a row of buttons on the right-hand side of screen to handle playback and navigation. The bottom panel sports USB 2.0 and docking connectors, while the left includes a CompactFlash type 1 and 2 slot for viewing or transferring media files from a CompactFlash memory card to the 30GB internal hard disk. Power and AV connectors are found next to a headphone socket on the right-hand face under a protective rubber cover. A removable, rechargeable lithium ion battery snaps onto the back and provides up to 13 hours of continuous audio or 4.5 hours of video playback, which should be enough to keep most users happy.

Creative has worked hard to roll in the functions of its other portable media players and the Vision includes a 3.7-inch colour screen running at a native resolution of 640 x 480 pixels, along with a video out connector, FM tuner, and a microphone. One extremely useful feature is the ability to synchronise data with Microsoft Outlook, so the Vision can be used as a personal organizer as well as a media player.

A wide range of video popular formats are supported, including Windows Media 9, MPEG-1, -2 and -4, motion JPEG, DivX four and five and XviD. The 262,000 colour transreflective screen performs well, and both photos and video clips are clearly visible outdoors.

Support for all common video and audio formats, coupled with a sleek, lightweight design and improved user interface help make Creative's Zen Vision, a top-notch media player.

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