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35 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Doddle..., 19 Mar. 2004
This review is from: Creative Jukebox 40GB Zen Xtra (Electronics)
I had quite a hard time choosing a hard-disk MP3 player. Sure, the iPod's sexy but pricey, I'd heard mixed reviews about the Philips' players and so I eventually cut my choices to just two options - the IRiver IHP120 and the Creative Zen Xtra 40gb.
Obviously (I wouldn't be writing this otherwise would I?!) I went for the Zen and...wow.
I went for this because I guessed the 40gb would be more than enough to carry my entire (500+) cd collection. For almost the same price the IRiver had half the memory.
My partner bought an IRiver soon after I'd got this and so I could compare the two.
What you get with the Zen is a very user-friendly package. Despite what you may read to the contrary, the software Creative supply is extremely easy to use. You can either rip from cds to your pc and then to the player or to save on your pc's hard-drive space, direct from cd to player via your pc's cd-rom drive. Just select on your pc which tracks you want to put on the player and click an arrow and it starts transferring. On the IRiver you have to create folders for your music. No such shennanigans on the Zen! Use the software with CDDB and it's all done for you! Tracks listed in an easily readable format on the player and from several different viewpoints as well (artist, album, song, genre).
The sound is superb (although not as crisp as the IRiver, I will admit) if a little quiet - you have to turn the volume right up in some instances, especially I found when using the otherwise intruiging EAX audio equaliser.
The display is clear and easy to read with a nice blue backlight and two different types of view - tabbed folder or list.
AND the battery is removable - something of an advantage compared to the iPod and IRiver which at the end of their battery life you have to return to manufacturer at your cost. Just open the cover on the Zen and drop in a new battery. Unfortunately what you make up for in convenience in this instance, you lose in size comparison with the likes of the IRiver - it's a fair bit bigger than its closest competitors.
BUT - overall, it's such a doddle to use. I've got about 2500 songs on it already with 30gb still to fill and it's a joy to just stick it on random play and let it go.
If I have one niggle it's the fact that the cover has a habit of popping off. The only way to overcome this is to keep it in its holder (supplied) although then you have to keep opening that to see what's playing.
A minor fault though on what is a brilliant player. It wins over the IRiver on simplicity and knocks back the iPod on affordability with no loss of quality. I'm well impressed with one of my buys of the year so far.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Zen Scores again, 8 April 2005
This review is from: Creative Jukebox 40GB Zen Xtra (Electronics)
I opted for the Zen over an iPod after a flirtation with a Sony MD player. I need not say here how far superior the Zen was to the MD- Frankly a cassette recorder would compare well with the MD. So Zen V Apple? Hmm the software - caused me major problems - mostly because I didnt configure my system properly, but with Creative's support I seem to have cracked it and merrily rip and burn at a cracking pace. Sound quality? The Zen has a superb graphic equaliser... 'nuff said. Size and weight? OK iPod looks cooler and that dinky touchy wheel - much better than the Zen. But I can live with it for £50 less. On balance the Zen wins for me.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good player, so-so software, 2 Oct. 2004
By 
Alex Ralton (Chippenham, Wiltshire United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Jukebox 40GB Zen Xtra (Electronics)
I was new to MP3 and wanted a big machine which could store all my music and audio books. Unsurprisingly, after research, the choice was between Zen or iPod. Historically, stuff I've had from Creative was reliable and I thought that the iPod was priced for bling. I did not like the idea of a sealed battery so the Zen won on price and build.
It's a sertiously good player and I can't fault it save for its menu (Creative could learn from Nokia when it comes to intuitive menus) which is slow to navigate around. The Media Source software is in the same ilk. It does the bare minimum but is very weak on sorting and synchronisation.
Overall, when on the road, I think that the Zen is good value for money.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable, 22 Mar. 2004
By 
Warren J Greene (Epsom, Surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Jukebox 40GB Zen Xtra (Electronics)
I spent weeks agonising over whether to buy an i-Pod or the Creative Nomad - Having used both the Creative wins hands down. The only thing I can think of that the iPod has is that it looks better. The sound quality on the Creative is quite good - even better with a decent pair of headphones. Great value for money
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