Creative Labs ZEN Stone Plus
- Stylish small design, Some nice features, Drag and drop, Now comes with a screen
- Screen a little small, Interface sluggish, Poor battery life
Creative's ZEN Stone Plus is another good entry into the digital music market. It does suffer from poor battery life and a slightly slow interface, but if you're after a small and relatively stylish unit, it is a reasonable choice.
Creative's ZEN Stone Plus is a revision of their successful ZEN Stone. It keeps the same petite and stylish design but this time packs in added extras like an FM radio, voice recorder, stop watch and a small OLED screen. These improvements are welcome, but the device still has a few interface issues and the screen really isn't as useful as it could be.
The small, circular OLED display is the most notable addition to the Stone. It is often difficult to adequately navigate a digital music player without a screen, even with the Stone's handy 'jump to folder' button. However, while the OLED on the Stone Plus is nifty for changing settings and hunting through the menu, it is far too small to adequately display track info. If Creative shifted the controls around a little and extended the display it would have been a lot more useful.
That said, the controls are relatively well laid out. The five-way directional pad on the face of the unit does the brunt of the work, with a play and mode button sitting on the top and rounding out the controls. The interface is clear and quite intuitive although it will take a few minutes before users work out how to properly operate the relatively minimalist controls (some buttons are held for different periods of time to complete certain functions). Our one complaint in this area is the menu is a little slow. If you rapidly queue a series of actions sometimes there will be a second or so delay before the unit catches up. A similar issue occurs when switching tracks, which is odd for a flash memory based player.
Another drawback is the rather painful music navigation system. There is no support for ID3 tags, which is slightly disappointing - even if its somewhat expected from a player such as this. What is on offer is the ability to sort files via directories, which usually works fairly well, allowing you to split them up by artist or album as you see fit. Unfortunately the Stone Plus doesn't allow you to navigate these sub directories; the second you select one it takes you to the first track and you have to navigate through using the track skip buttons, making it quite irritating. We also found the order in which they played the tracks sometimes got a little confusing, so we'd recommend making sure all your files are named consistently if using this device.
Of course there's plenty to like about this device too and aside from the aforementioned problems it is a relatively competitive unit in the portable multimedia space. The inclusion of a voice recorder is a nifty touch, and will be useful for university students who want to record the occasional lecture. It records directly to MP3 format and the microphone operates about as anticipated. It is fine for loud ambient noise or close personal conversations, but you'll want a proper Dictaphone if you're regularly making recordings.
Similarly, the FM radio makes a nice addition for those times you need a break from your regular music. It has several spots for station presets however we were disappointed to find no record option.
Sound quality was generally quite good; a slight improvement over the previous model. The Stone Plus tended to produce rich, warm sound with a nice clarity and separation. We tested using a pair of high end IEM (In Ear Monitor) headphones and overall we were impressed. The included headphones however were not as good, with little in the way of detail and extremely muddy bass. We'd suggest investing in a third party pair of headphones to properly enjoy your music.
Aesthetically the Stone Plus hasn't really changed. It is a fraction lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at 21g. The size and shape however has remained the same and the smooth, pebble shape makes it easy to slip into your pocket and forget about. Our unit came with a slick black colour scheme, but it is also available in pink and white.
It has a 3.5mm headphone jack and a mini USB 2.0 port for connection to a PC. No software is required, so loading music onto the device is simply a case of dragging and dropping the files across.
Battery life is somewhat unimpressive, with Creative quoting 9.5 hours under ideal conditions, which converted to about seven hours during our playback tests. This is far less than most other flash players and means you'll likely be charging it every few days.
Join the newsletter!
As modern printing and imaging solutions have become more versatile and sophisticated to keep up with the needs of users, hackers are working overtime to turn these innovations into vulnerabilities.
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Huawei Nova 3e: P20 in a pinch
- 2 Oppo R15 Pro review: A compelling mid-tier option with lots of value and few compromises
- 3 LG E8 OLED TV (2018) and SK10Y soundbar review: If you've been on the fence about OLED, now might be the time to jump it
- 4 Nokia 6 (2018) review: Simple. Solid. Supreme.
- 5 Samsung Q9F Series QLED: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- Apple's Q1: Record $US18.4 billion profit, but iPhone sales are slowing
- Sony shows latest high-end Walkman
- Sydney Airport lost property auction: you'll be amazed at what some people left behind
- The iPod classic plays its last
- Apple iPod Touch pricing slashed by up to 25 per cent in Australia
PCW Evaluation Team
I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.
If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.
If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.
Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category
The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use
I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 9: Full, in-depth, Australian review
- Panasonic FZ1000U OLED TV: Full, in-depth, review
- Oppo Find X: Full, in-depth review
- 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