So you can enjoy the sunshine while listening to your favourite music or podcast. Thanks to Sennheiser. Enter today.
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)
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 newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- 2 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip review: Killer form-factor, lethal price-tag
- 3 Garmin Fenix 5 fitness tracker smartwatch review
- 4 Panasonic Blu-ray recorder PVR set-top box review
- 5 Xiro Drone Xplorer V by Rapoo 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
PCW Evaluation Team
Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.
I highly recommend the Dynabook Portégé® X30L-G notebook for everyday business use, it is a benchmark setting notebook of its generation in the lightweight category.
This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.
It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.
As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.
The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.
- Sonos Arc review: The Main Event
- Soundbars: Why they’re worth it and which one should you buy
- Buying a laptop this EOFY? Here's a cheat sheet
- 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