Sunday, December 10, 2006

Widescreen on a small screen: Creative Zen W

:D Purty ain't it?! Much bigger screen than the vision M, that's for sure (4.3 inch widescreen vs 2.5 inch) .

Costs the same as the CZVM 60Gb ($479), with half the capacity...but I think the 2x bigger screen, included A/V cable and ac adapter ($29 and $59 sold separately) justifies the price. No usb host, which bummed me out a bit, but it does have a CF slot, and a multi-card adapter available as an option, so it might still be ok for storing my pics on holidays.

Have to say that what convinced me to stick with Creative players is the included software - very user friendly, and converts video formats that aren't compatible, like all those vidcasts that are in m4v (ie. iPod format) that are available on the net, and the ones that come out of my digital camera (.mov format).

Its too big to be pocketable, which is fine since its got a huge screen and a spinning HD that wouldn't survive two days in my pocket anyway, so a bag would be a must to carry this around. Speaking of bags, the drawstring pouch that was provided as a case was pretty lame and provides crap all protection against anything but dust, but I love how the W's chassis is made of a matte, faux brushed metal finish that resists fingerprints and scratches...something that the CZVM sorely needs.

This ones a keeper.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

The creative zen vision m has left the building

alas, the honeymoon is over. I returned the Creative Zen Vision M (CZVM) today - thank God for generous return policies!
The tragedy is, the CZVH would have been my perfect multimedia companion, but I just found too many negatives that I know will eventually frustrate me to no end.

First and foremost, the screen is too glossy! It was so bad that my eyes were constantly refocussing to my reflection, giving me a headache after only a few minutes of watching. And what was even more annoying was that the rest of the body was so bloody reflective as well! Sure, it makes it look pretty, but I need something that is functional, and this wasn't working for me.

Finally, though the build quality is pretty good, I felt like I can't comfortably walk around the place with this thing in my pocket - the front is just too scratch prone. Getting it out of the packaging already produced some micro-scratches, and don't get me started about the dodgy drawstring bag that was provided as a case! Also, being my first experience with a hardrive based pocketable device, feeling the hard drive spinning in use alerted me to the fact that carrying this thing around would require special care. I've been spoilt by flash based memory in all my other portable gadgets (PDA's, phones, mp3 players, even cameras), and frankly I'd be too obsessively paranoid about crashing the HD carrying this around in my pocket.

So its with a heavy heart that I drove to the store and returned the CZVM, knowing that apart from those few complaints, that it is a very innovate and worthwhile device. I'll still write up my impressions on it, though obviously I won't be able to tell u anything about the battery life (apart from how long it takes to trickle charge via usb), but hopefully it'll help others decide whether the CZVM is right for them.