The SD card isn't integrated with the rest of the player's memory - they are treated as separate compartments and there is no way to transfer stuff between them on the player. You have to use the (very clunky) Windows software which comes with it. So the SD card slot is a bit pointless.
It's a shame - they include a nice feature like an SD card slot, then ruin it by not making it usable.
The reviewers here who rubbish the SD card clearly haven't taken the trouble to explore the Memory Card menu options. Providing you use the 'standard' way to load music then there are no issues. By 'standard' I mean downloading CD's/albums (or even 'mixes') within folders. Using the main memory, this considerably simplifies the use of playlists (which IMHO is the best way of operating any MP3 player). In the case of the loading of the SD Memory card (in situ) I select Memoory Card (main menu) then Removable Disk, then follow the prompt to connect the PC. After connected to the PC, the PC Autoplay window opens and you then select 'Open folder to view files'. At this point it's so easy to drag and drop your MP3s (best done using the CD/album folders previously mentioned above).
If you do this, then when using your Zen you simply have to select Memory Card from it's main menu, then Browse - and (Magik!) you get your folders (which should have been named with the album/mix title) containing albums/mixes. These displayed folders operate in exactly the same way as your main memory playlists. You select your album of choice, click on the first MP3, start, and the album/mix plays through from start to finish.
Naturally if you prefer to build your own playlists, you simply do this in the PC (using one folder for each playlist).
Since I download a lot of movies (as well as music albums) I often put the lot in the SD memory card and it's easy to select either movie or MP3 playlist/mix as described above. In fact its easier to 'mix' video and MP3 playlists using the Memory Card than it is using the Zen's main memory.
I'm not getting at you guys, but it always seems biziarre to me to encounter folk who spend out on these things, but aren't prepared to spend a little time on how to use them properly (and worse to rubbish the product and maybe send it back).
Mr R. Blesson. I am interested in buying the Zen but not that technically minded. I am currently converting old Audio tapes to MP3 format and copying to SD card which I would like to play on the Zen. Can I play directly from the SD card ( External memory? ) or do I have to down load from the SD card to the Zen's Internal memory to playback. I have had trouble on some cheap MP3 players with reconising the SD card, or should I down load directly to the Zen's Internal memory. Please can anybody advise?
I've yet to try my SD card but to my knowledge it is treated separately as others have noted but you can play directly from it. It won't show in your playlists etc and I believe you can't do much else while in SD mode but until I actually try it I won't know for sure how the limitations affect it's use. As others have noted, it is disappointing to have a great feature like an expandable SD slot then not make it function as normal additional space.