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63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget the iPod Hype!
I was slow to react to the MP3 explosion; it only seemed like yesterday that I shelled out 200 for a mini-disc player! But the digital revolution is well and truly here, even though I have been dragged into it kicking and screaming!
I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to an MP3 player, and only then did my troubles truly begin! Where to start!? There are...
Published on 6 April 2005 by K. Williamson

93 of 102 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mixed bag
The Zen Touch is a real mixed bag. On the plus side is the build quality (excellent), form factor (not much bigger than an iPod), battery life (I've charged it once in the last week) and cost (40 cheaper than an iPod). While it doesn't look as nice as an iPod, it looks OK. It also has a good (high) volume so you can hear it in any environment. The long battery life is...
Published on 17 Oct. 2004 by Bobby Elliott

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63 of 63 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Forget the iPod Hype!, 6 April 2005
K. Williamson "wakkawoo2" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
I was slow to react to the MP3 explosion; it only seemed like yesterday that I shelled out 200 for a mini-disc player! But the digital revolution is well and truly here, even though I have been dragged into it kicking and screaming!
I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to an MP3 player, and only then did my troubles truly begin! Where to start!? There are literally hundreds of MP3 players to choose from, coming in a vast range of shapes and sizes! I considered myself loyal to the Sony brand as their values of cutting edge technology, hand in hand with cool aesthetics, have always appealed to me. But like everything Sony, they can cost a small fortune. I needed to keep looking!
I skipped through the other brands; Phillips, iRiver, the list goes on! None of these really appealed to me. You may have noticed I haven't mentioned the dreaded iPod, well that's because I was trying to avoid it at all costs! Firstly, it's a total fashion gimmick! The product is marketed as the coolest gadget to have, but makes no claims to be an actual good quality product! That's because it isn't! A fair share of my friends gave in to Apple's brain washing and bought an iPod. Having played around with them I have to say I'm not impressed. I have to admit, they look the business. It is the coolest looking MP3 player around. It's a very good size; small, compact and very light. But the sound quality was poor, it can only play the Apple media type and the earphones were goddamn awful! But on every street corner, at every bus stop and in every high street you see wannabe cool kids dressed head to toe in the latest 'designer' gear with the white earphones plugged into their heads and the iPod hanging from their belts. You know their listening to some rubbish that's currently in the top ten and they probably don't really like music all that much! In short, the iPod cost's a lot more than it's really worth!
Okay, so that was a bit of a rant, but I was dead set against an iPod. This was when I found my Creative Zen. Okay, it looks a bit like an iPod rip off, but that's not a bad thing. It looks nice and although it's the same size as an iPod, it is twice as thick, so it is noticeably heavier. But for 20 wonderful Gigs of memory, the size is appropriate. This little guy does everything your iPod can and more. A great selling point is it plays WMA's; window media files. These types of files are of a much better quality than any ripped MP3 and the result is a much richer sound. 40 cheaper than the iPod only finalised the deal! The software is straight-forward to use, the battery life is fantastic and the volume head-ache inducing! And that's a good thing!
It's not without it's niggles. The headphones, like the iPod are a bit on the rubbish side. I recommend chucking them in the bin and investing in a good pair. You should look to spend a further 20. This was my chance to reassert my loyalty to Sony and i got a set of Sony MDR-EX71SLW Fontopia Headphones. They're the dog's bits! Furthermore, if you're not used to the touch pad found on the iPod, then navigating the menus will be difficult to begin with. But if you go into the 'settings' menu and reduce the sensitivity to low, you should find it easier to use.
I've got all the music I own stored on this little puppy, and I've used only a fraction of the memory available! Long story short- this is a neat peace of kit, and a steal at 150! If you haven't fallen into the iPod trap and are looking for a sweet little MP3 player, I do recommend this baby. It's worth twice what you pay for it!
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1,488 of 1,501 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, a credible alternative to the iPod!, 28 Aug. 2004
D. Penn (UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
I'd been trying to choose an MP3 player for a while, and, like most, was strongly drawn towards the 20GB iPod - which I've used and liked. In the end though I bought this, and I think I made the right choice. I'll do a summary of the pros and cons:
1 - 24 hrs battery life (and it does actually achieve this, under the right conditions, which are basically not changing song orders, fast forwarding or rewinding or skipping. Any of these will take the time down a bit, so 18 hours or so is realisitic for normal use). It has the same charge time as the ipod. OK, so you're rarely going to listen to it for that long in one go, but it's nice to think you could.
(Also, the problems with the ipod battery (read the reviews if you don't know about them) are caused by large numbers of charge cycles - basically a full charge which then runs out and is recharged. As this has longer battery life, it won't need charging as often, and so the battery should survive longer than the 18 months sometimes claimed for the ipod's.)
2 - Ability to play .wma files - I'd recorded all my CDs into this format, and didn't really want to have to convert them all to mp3 or aac in order to play them, as I would have had to if I had bought an iPod.
3 - The cool touch sensitive bit is ingenious, and works wonderfully. The 'random' button on the front is useful too - surprisingly, it just plays random tracks.
4 - It's a bit cheaper than the comparable ipod. Not that much - about 15 at the time of writing.
5 - Doesn't come cluttered with games and calendar etc. Yes, I'm putting this as a pro, 'cos the games and notes on ipod frankly just annoy me - it's a music player, not a pda. And if you want to write something, use pen and paper, rather than a fiddly input device. The games are fairly dire anyway. From that point of view the Zen Touch is much neater - it knows its job and it does it.
6 - Some people have complained about the earphones, and said that they're uncomfortable, but I've found them fine. If you're a true audiophile, you might want to get some really good ones, but if you just want to listen to music, the ones supplied will do the job. The bass is a bit weak, but then it is in most sub 50 'phones available.
1 - Slightly heavier and chunkier than ipod, but still small enough to fit into your pocket comfortably.
2 - Software supplied with the player is a bit cumbersome and buggy, but it does the job. Alternatively, you can use Windows Media Player to transfer files across.
3 - Doesn't appear as a separate hard drive on your computer, which the ipod does. You can store non media files on it, but you have to go through Creative's software and it's more complicated.
4 - In order to be able to record voice and listen to the radio you need to buy the remote - dunno if Amazon sell it, but the creative website does - which costs around 30 more.
5 - Putting it in its case can sometimes change your track, unless you lock it beforehand. You can't see where the buttons are when it's in the case, but once you've learned where the buttons are, you can skip & pause etc by pushing the buttons through the case.
Realistically, though, both the ipod AND the Zen Touch are very good mp3 players. I chose this, and am pleased with it, but then again loads of people love their ipods. If you can't decide, go for this one, and use the 15 you saved to buy a new CD or two to put on it.
Please don't forget to rate this review if you found it helpful. Thanks.
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116 of 117 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rock around the clock, 26 Dec. 2004
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
Ive had my zen touch for about 5 days now and ive had no problems at all.
the case that comes in the package is ok, but doesnt let you press the buttons when you have your player in it!the included headphones arent too bad, but dont offer much bass. the ipod earphones arent great either. if you're passionate about music youll probably buy new ones.
it was delivered 2 days before the estimate(thanks amazon) and ive been listening to it almost constantly - ive only needed to charge the battery once. im glad i bought it!
however,i was having serious doubts before i bought this player - 170 is a lot to pay seeing as the last portable music player i bought was a 30 personal cd player! also,i had used a 20gb ipod and was very impressed with it. both mp3 players looked equally good in my opinion. i had no experience of a zen touch, and was wondering why it was being offered for a cheaper price yet actually had better features than the ipod(except for weight).i also couldnt find many helpful reviews on the zen touch, because of the opinionated people who either love or hate ipod. so i decided to do some research..
on the forums ([...]) there were quite a lot of complaints about hard disk failure and this put me off a bit. then i realised i was reading the section where people post their problems and there are probably thousands of people who own them anyway. there were similar complaints on the apple forums: ([...])
the ipod also offers the 25 minute shock protection which the zen touch doesnt offer,but i think the issue was well cleared up by a review i read:
"Apple's 25 minute quote is a bit silly for two reasons.

1. It depends on the type and encoding of the file you are playing. Normally with a compressed audio file a large part or all of it is buffered in the memory cache of the player (assuming a fairly average length and encoding). Apple's value comes from this, but if you are playing a high quality file and/or high bit-rate file the "skip protection" is significantly less.

2. More fundamental than this, is that hard disk "skip protection" is too easily compared with CD player skip protection. The two are very different, and arguably a hard disk has no skip protection. In more detail, when you bump a CD player sufficiently the head just goes off track and then has to track back again to the position it was at. It's likely that no damage to the player or CD occurs. If you bump a hard disk sufficiently to cause the heads to skip you could potentially be causing serious damage to the player. The heads on a hard disk drive float a fraction above the surface of the disk platter, so a serious bump can cause what's called a "head crash" where the heads literally crash into the surface of the platter and can damage both the platter and the heads. So I hope it makes sense that it's one thing to bump a CD player, and quite a different thing to bump a hard drive based player sufficiently to cause it to 'skip'."
the zen touch does offer 1000-200g shock protection, which means it can withstand a large shock, but not repeatedly for an extended period of time. i tried it out myself- i shook the player vigorously while it was playing and used it while jogging and it didnt skip, so don't be worried about that.
as you probably know, the zen touch's battery life is an excellent 24hrs and much better than the ipod's measly 8-12hrs.
i originally thought the ipods circle touch wheel was better for scrolling but now i prefer the zen touch's vertical touch pad. the vertical scrolling takes a while to get used to, but it is much easier to scroll through large amounts of music because you only need to hold your finger on the top or bottom of the pad to move quickly up or down whereas on the ipod you have to keep 'circling' quickly.
the zen touch also offers the ability to play .wmas which isnt offered on the ipod.
the zen touch may be heavier, but you dont notice the extra weight when it is in your hand or pocket.
you can also buy the remote for the zen touch so that you can listen to and record radio (a feature i wont be using) that isnt offered by apple for their ipod.
the zen touch and ipod are both very good mp3 players, and i would recommend the ipod for mac users and the fashion-conscious. but, for those who love their music and are more interested in the features offered by their player, i would strongly recommend the zen touch. i am very pleased with my zen touch, and think it was 170 well spent!
i didnt give this product 5 stars because the included software is not very good and has crashed on me several times. i just use windows media player!
ill be happy to answer any questions on the zen touch, email me on
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Superb, 18 Mar. 2005
Jay (So'ton UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
Whilst I must admit to reading a few reviews with freezing complaints I can honestly say I have experienced these. I have had my Zen for over a week now and have to say I love it. To begin with, I do not find the vertical pad too sensitive, and have learned to operate it with blissful ease when compared to my Sister's Ipod Mini. The next thing I love is the massive capacity and battery life, to begin with 20gb for the Ipod's 4gb price, and secondly 24hrs battery!!! THATS TWICE THE BIGGEST IPOD!!!! Yes I will admit that the Zen is a little bigger and weightier than the other's on the market, but it is not a great difference and it still fits in the smallest pocket!
The Zen features great display and playlist capabilities. Windows media player does not work too well on my computer so I've turned to Creative's Media Source for all my Media needs, I must say it is a great little program, capable of ripping music, burning cd's and ulitmately, some fantastic playback. Not to mention the quick and easy transfering to your Zen ready to take your library anywhere.
Finally, the Zen slaughters these new Ipod Shuffles, there is a dedicated 'random' button which at just one press, ques up all your music and starts playing through it randomly, that's 20gb of shuffling if that's what you're looking for.
The Zen just makes sense, dedicated volume control, great price, great capacity, and a mammoth battery. Don't forget there's the optional wired remote for a small amount more, giving you radio wherever you go, and voice recording. If the Touch is too big for you, maybe consider the Micro, my best friend bought one and it's roughly the same price, any colour, 5gb, all radio features etc built in.
But of course if over priced fashion is your thing, go buy an Ipod
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good piece of kit, 18 Nov. 2004
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
First of all ten out of ten to Amazon, this arrived within 48 hours of ordering it on a Sunday afternoon, a day before they said I should expect it.
Many people looking at buying one of these are probably the same as me, they're trying to decide between this and the 20Gb iPod. I've never used an iPod so I can't give a straight comparison but I can at least explain why I bought this and what I think of it now I've got it:
1) It costs approx 40 less than the iPod
2) I use Napster which currently the iPod isn't compatible with. This of course will probably change in the future but for now iPods don't support the WMA file format. There may be arguments in favour of the AAC format (which iPod uses) but frankly my guess is the two are indistinguishable to the ear.
3) Because the Zen uses WMA and MP3 formats which are half the size of the AAC format you can store almost twice as many songs on it as you can on an iPod with the same size disk - 10,000 songs on the Zen as opposed to 5,000 on the iPod
4) The battery life on the Zen is 24 hours as opposed to 12 on the iPod - as noted in other reviews on the Amazon UK and US sites this means your battery will last a lot longer before it has to be replaced.
So now that I've got it what are the downsides?
1) This may be important to a number of people - it specifically states in the user manual that you should NOT jog with the Zen player. Whether or not you can is another matter but it may be worth bearing in mind if that's what you want it for
2) The user guides didn't really go into enough detail on how to transfer music to it from your PC, but ten minutes in the online help for the accompanying software soon sorted that out
3) The case does prevent you from getting at the controls but the upside there is that at least you get a case with it. If you want one for an iPod you have to pay extra. Also I think that the remote control for both the Zen and the iPod are extras.
4) The output is a bit on the quiet side - the volume control goes from 1-25 but below 10 is more or less inaudible. That could be the headphones though.
Three things I would say in relation to other reviews - the software supplied is working fine on my PC and does the job perfectly. I've had no problems with it crashing and the CDDB function has worked every time
One review I saw (I think on the US Amazon site) said that you can't play randomly on a selection of tracks, it's either random on the whole lot or none at all. This is incorrect, I reckon the person who wrote that probably hadn't explored all the functionality at that point. You can set up playlists and then shuffle or shuffle repeat on them
Finally, I agree that the touch pad is a bit sensitive at first but can be adjusted easily enough
Overall I think this is an excellent player, I wouldn't hesitate in recommending it to anyone (except joggers). I can't say if it's better or worse than the iPod but I've no regrets having chosen the Zen.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning value!, 28 Feb. 2005
Pete (Nottingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
A super piece of kit, the Zen 20GB has changed my listening habits. I plug it in everywhere I go. Attached to 1) My AEGO speaker system (highly recommended!) and 2) the auxilary socket in my Ford Mondeo and 3) the headphones, the sound quality is superb, with excellent stereo separation on the speakers. It has taken me some time to transfer my entire CD collection to the Zen but now I leave it on random play and treat myself to the tracks I might not have chosen to listen to. And there is still so much storage space left on the Zen! The software is fine. Copying onto the Zen and setting up playlists is easy via my PC, even with USB 1.1. The controls are easy to use and the switch that prevents the other controls being used works well when it is being manhandled and transported. With external speakers it is best to switch the Zen to full volume and control the volume via the speakers. The headphones do lose their foam bits but the quality of the sound is good, better than the spare set of Sony headphones I bought at the airport. Battery life is superb and charging doesn't take so long. I like the way it switches off when it is charged. It also switches off if it is not used, which saves the battery. I cannot understand why the mini-Zen (5GB) is about the same price. Neither can I understand why 1GB players from other makes seem to be about 100. The price of this at Amazon at the moment is a steal. Don't dither - buy it now and you will get a robust, well designed piece of kit at a price that is much cheaper than an iPod.
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148 of 150 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 10 April 2005
s (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
I have a Creative Zen Touch for about 3 months now and am very pleased with my purchase. I chose it over the iPod for many reasons:
-It is 45 cheaper
-By using the WMA format (unavailable to iPods) it allows 10000 songs to be stored in it, twice as many as a 20gb iPod, and as many as a 40gb iPod
-It has a 24 hours battery life, twice the iPods claimed 12 hours. This also means that it takes twice as long for the battery to stop working as the iPod's. This is known as the "charge cycle". After a certain amount of charges, the battery of any portable piece of electronic equipment will need replacing, this also occurs in mobile phones. After a reported 12 months of frequent use, the iPod's battery can no longer hold charge and has to be replaced at a cost of 80, i have also heard that in this process your iPod will get all the songs wiped off it, although i cannot confirm this. As the Zen's battery can last twice as long as an iPod's, for its battery to stop working it will take twice as long.
-It has great sound quality, a signal-to-noise ratio of 97dBm, Apple has not released the iPods signal-to-noise ratio, i can only assume this is because it is not as good as its rival's.
-With the Zen's software there is no risk of any damage to your Microsoft computer, many people have complained of this with their iPod iTunes software. The Zen can also be used on Windows Media Player

-3 of my friends iPod's have broken. 5 of my friends iPod's earphones have broken.
-The zen touch comes with a free carry case
In fact the only advantages of the iPod ahead of the Creative Zen Touch i can see are:
- The Zen Touch is slightly wider (about 0.3 inches) and thicker (about 0.15 inches) and lighter, although there is no problem with the Zen's size or weight, it fits in any pocket easily.
- Some would claim the iPod is better looking, although i think the Zen is also good looking, and lets face it, you're paying for music, sound, not looks. If you spent all your time showing off your iPod you would just get mugged anyway. Also, how ever careful you are with your iPod, it will get scratched, making it look worse. The Zen Touch is scratchproof.
-The iPod has more accessories available, although all the ones your are likely to use are available to the Zen Touch as well, even the iStation can be used with a Zen Touch, among other mp3 players. I would say the rest of the iPod's accessories are over priced and largely unnecessary.
Some also claim the iPod is easier to use, but if you ask me they have made it harder to use by trying to make it look nicer by taking off so many buttons, such as simple volume buttons, instead you have to go through many menus to select now playing, or wait for it to go back to now playing.
Overall, i highly recommend the Creative Zen Touch above the Apple iPod. I hope you have found this useful.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent player overall, with some minor flaws, 7 Aug. 2005
painreliever (Birmingham, UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
I recently bought this player from Amazon as my previous 256MB MP3 player, although considerably smaller and lighter than the Zen, simply didn't have enough capacity - I had to encode songs at low quality in order to cram as many in as possible, and still had to cherry-pick 3 or 4 songs from each album I wanted to include.
I'm very impressed with the player itself - although it's slightly larger than the equivalent current generation iPod, the battery life is nearly double that of the iPod and it's much cheaper too. The supplied software is, unless you're a complete idiot, very easy to use and transfers music very quickly to the player. The sound quality is excellent, especially if you use one of the EQ presets (I use rock, as that's mainly what I listen to). And after my puny by comparison 256MB, the 20GB memory is simply cavernous! I have a LOT of CDs and I'm struggling to make a dent in it! I think I've used somewhere in the region of 2GB at the moment and there's LOADS on it! There is also a carry case provided, which is of very good quality - you shouldn't have to buy a third party case to protect/carry it.
There are a few minor problems, however:
* The supplied software, although easy to use, is somewhat unstable and prone to crashing.
* When encoding MP3s at the default setting (128kbps), I have noticed that there is some distortion on playback. Though the tracks I have noticed this on are all by David Bowie, everyone else is fine - so maybe it's something to do with the original recordings.
* The headphones supplied are HUGE! You'd do much better to use your own. I use my Philips EarGear phones with it.
* As has been mentioned in previous reviews, the touch slider is very sensitive, especially at the top end but you soon get used to it.
* The 'random' button - a relatively simple feature that until recently, Apple's iPods lacked. However, while pressing the button activates random mode, pressing it again doesn't switch it off, or even cycle through the various playmodes. It just randomly selects another song, the same as the skip button.
As I say though, these are minor flaws and very easy to live with. Overall, it's an excellent player and I'm very happy with my purchase. Definitely recommended.
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning, 15 July 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
I spent several months researching various players on the internet before purchasing this one in June.
This has to be one of the greatest buys I have ever made.
The sound quality is crisp, clear, and has no discernable hiss, sounding absolutly fantastic when played at highest quality 192kb WMA.
Also, any problems with software are quickly overcome by using Media Player 10 instead of the supplied bundle, and I was quickly able to rip CDs and sync to the device without touching the Media Source software supplied.
Battery life is fantastic, and although the touchpad can annoy at times, the superior sound quality easily makes up for this over the iPod or other similar players.
Supplied earphones are suprisingly good, and far better than those supplied with the iPod and other mp3 players. I did intend to buy a pair of Fontopia headphones, but have changed my mind as the bundled ones are more than adequate.
I did hope to make this a balanced review, but with this product it is almost imposible to do. With an SNR of 98dB and a battery life of 24 hours upwards, this is a bargain not to be missed, considering it is around the same price of players with a quarter the storage space, half the battery life and far poorer sound quality.
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223 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Purchase!, 24 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Creative Zen Touch 20GB MP3 Player (Electronics)
Being a non-tech person, I knew very little about MP3 players and decided to use the reviews of Amazon buyers to help me decide which one to buy. It was helpful to see different users opinions of what the pros and cons were for all the different players. The various drawbacks seemed to be:-
1. Headphones supplied not very good - I actually found them to be reasonable, they do hurt my ears with prolonged use so I have purchased some PX200's which have definitely made a difference to the sound quality and are very comfortable.
2. Navigation over-sensitive - I have mine set to the lowest sensitivity and although occasionally I miss where I need to be going, on the whole it works ok.
3. Software - I must admit that because I'm not a proficient PC user, it took me a little while to work it all out (one evening), but once I'd done it it was very easy to use. Some previous reviews have suggested using Windows Media - I tried this but in the end found it easier to use the software provided.
4. No remote control - this is not something I've ever had in the past eg. personal stereo/CD so it feels no different to me and therefore not an issue. What you don't know you don't miss!
The main reasons I bought this one were:-
1. Reasonable size of display - makes it easier to navigate around the different folders. Too many other players had small displays and I knew I would find it really frustrating.
2. Memory - I can't imagine I'm ever going to fill the 20GB!
3. Other Amazon user recommendations with particular reference to sound quality.
I feel that I have absolutely made the right choice and have no regrets. If you too are trying to decide which to buy then I can definitely recommend this.
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