Creative’s newest flagship artefact is the Zen X-Fi, a high-capacity flash-based agenda media amateur that adds Xtreme Fidelity (X-Fi) complete technology, a congenital speaker, a few wireless functions, and a accomplished lot of added buttons to the company’s aboriginal ZEN device.
Do these new appearance booty what was already a solid accessory to new heights of excellence? Read my abounding analysis to acquisition out.
This analysis is based on the Creative Zen X-Fi active firmware adaptation 1.02.01.
Included in the reusable artificial alembic are the Zen X-Fi, abbreviate USB 2.0 cable, mini software CD, quick alpha guides and added paperwork, and Creative EP-830 noise-isolating IEMs with three sizes of silicone tips. Additional accessories, such as an armband, covering case, and TravelSound speakers, are attainable separately.
A glassy alloy of ablaze atramentous and both matte and agleam argent makes the Zen X-Fi one of the best- and best sophisticated-looking players Creative has anytime made. Although the case is fabricated of artificial abstracts and the complete face is covered by a adamantine glass-like artificial that is annihilation but smudge-proof, body affection is excellent.
The company’s body affection has consistently been good, but it’s awfully acceptable here. It’s 0.3 ounces added than the aboriginal ZEN, but the added weight makes the amateur feel added big-ticket and bigger in the hand.
Like its predecessor, the Zen X-Fi is about the aforementioned admeasurement as a acclaim card.
It looks rather big in the promo ads and business abstracts (without account the specs, you’d about anticipate it was a full-size PMP like the Zen Vision W or article from Archos), but as you can see above, it’s absolutely absolutely baby and compact.
Here it is beside the aboriginal Creative ZEN:
And blind out with some added players:
Clockwise from top left: SanDisk Sansa View, Samsung P2, Toshiba gigabeat T400, Creative ZEN, Creative Zen X-Fi, and iriver clix 2.
The Zen X-Fi is able with the aforementioned 2.5-inch 16.7M-color QVGA affectation as the ZEN, so aggregate looks absurd on it.
The rich, accurate, and ablaze colors accomplish examination photo slideshows, watching videos, and accomplishing annihilation abroad that requires adorable at the awning an complete pleasure. The complete face of the amateur is a tad too cogitating for my tastes, but it doesn’t affect afterimage too abominably and is attainable abundant to attending past.
The back/menu (top left), advantage (top right), My Shortcut (bottom left) and play/pause (bottom right) controls from antecedent Creative players accomplish a acclamation on the Zen X-Fi, but they are abundantly overshadowed by the aloft set of annular metal buttons amid them.
Used to acclimatize volume, move through menus, and baddest items, the nine buttons add such little amount to aeronautics that the acumen abaft implementing them over an analog stick or accepted directional pad is, at the absolute least, questionable. The buttons are attainable to press, accommodate acceptable feedback, and are spaced out abundant to anticipate mis-presses, but I don’t accept their value. They absolutely do annihilation that can’t be done with a added acceptable control.
While the X-Fi’s controls may not be what anyone is acclimatized to seeing on a media amateur these days, the unit’s ports and added buttons/switches are absolute commonplace.
First up are the displace button, USB 2.0 port, 3.5mm accepted headphone jack, and LED power/charging indicator on the appropriate side.
Below all of that, on the aback of the player, is a sliding power/hold switch.
At the top of the X-Fi, abutting to the microphone at the corner, is an uncovered, spring-loaded SD agenda slot.
As with the aboriginal ZEN, agreeable stored on an SD agenda is alone attainable through its own card account and not chip with media on the centralized memory. This was one of the bigger complaints accurate by aboriginal ZEN owners, so it’s sad to see that Creative hasn’t done annihilation about it.
At the basal of the Zen X-Fi is a congenital apostle that can be angry on/off through the My Shortcut button or ambience menu.
Sound affection through the apostle is bigger than accepted and added than able for claimed listening. Maxing out the aggregate (there are 25 increments) doesn’t aftereffect in absolute loud complete (the Samsung S5’s speakers are louder), but it doesn’t alter playback either.
With the barring of two new card items (X-Fi and Online), the Zen X-Fi’s patented user interface is identical to the one acclimated on the ZEN.
So duplicate are the two UIs, in fact, that I’m aloof activity to absolute you to the “User Interface” area of my Creative ZEN analysis and alarm it a day.
If you don’t feel like beat over, here’s the copy-and-pasted version:
The patented user interface (UI) begin on added Creative players has been cosmetically added for the ZEN and appearance colossal glass-like icons and submenu overlays.
Beneath the makeover lies the aforementioned able-bodied organized, straightforward, and easy-to-use UI that Creative admirers accept appear to apperceive and adulation (and that Apple paid $100 actor to abide application on iPods), so aeronautics is a breeze. Paired with the attainable concrete controls, the UI has about no acquirements curve.
One of the nice things about the interface is that the capital card can be configured to anniversary user’s claimed liking. If a accurate affection has no amount to you, aloof abolish it from the menu. The card doesn’t blanket about itself (i.e., already you ability the bottom, it doesn’t abide from the top), so one beneath card account to annal through can be a accustomed omission. It absolutely doesn’t accomplish faculty for the capital card not to blanket because the submenus, ambience menus, and media lists all do.
In accession to actuality able to set any photo, including zoomed-in portions, as wallpaper with assorted furnishings activated and accuracy levels adjusted, the ZEN can be alone with a set of six themes: (clockwise from top left) clover red, abyssal blue, atramentous black, aristocratic purple, neon orange, and backwoods green.
The Zen X-Fi, like the ZEN, is an MTP-based amateur that alone supports Windows computers. The official arrangement requirements account alone XP SP2, XP 64-bit, and Vista, but added operating systems and platforms could apparently be coaxed into alive as well.
XP and Vista machines will abutment accepted drag-and-drop through Windows Explorer with no botheration out of the box, but those adorable for added avant-garde options like CD burning, video conversion, and syncing will charge to use the anew supplied Creative Centrale (screenshot below) or third-party software like Windows Media Player, Media Monkey, or Winamp.
I’ve never been aghast by the complete affection of Creative DAPs and afterwards alert to the Zen X-Fi with my Ultimate Aerial super.fi 5 Pro earphones, I accept no acumen to alter that statement. In fact, my aerial acquaint me that the Zen X-Fi is the best aural Creative to date . . . but alone afterwards X-Fi enabled and the EQ set to Off.
With the supplied EP-830 earphones, the aboriginal “premium” brace to anytime be included with a Creative player, complete affection (regardless of the settings) is absolute good.
Creative X-Fi complete technology, according to the company’s own What is X-Fi website, is advised to accomplish music and movies complete “way better” because it “restores detail and expands the music to beleaguer sound.” In added words, X-Fi on the amateur is an audio accessory agnate to the SRS WOW HD complete furnishings begin on added devices. The technology is different, but the accepted purpose (i.e., to advance complete quality) is the same.
On the Zen X-Fi, X-Fi has its own atom on the capital menu. X-Fi Crystalizer, which remasters compression-compromised audio elements, and X-Fi Expand, which repositions the complete to the front, can be toggled on/off through the card or My Shortcut button assignment.
Whether X-Fi absolutely improves the complete of your music is not for me to decide, but my music (192-256kbps MP3s) sounds bigger afterwards it. Crystalizer seems to accent aggregate but the vocals, which I don’t like, while Aggrandize aloof sounds deadened to me.
Other playback appearance accommodate on-the-go playlists, comedy modes (normal, echo track, echo all, shuffle, drag repeat, clue once), custom and preset EQs, Lookup Artisan (searches for added songs by the artisan actuality played), bookmarking, rating, and a DJ action (album of the day, accidental comedy all, best popular, rarely heard, awful rated, yet to be rated).
Unlike the Creative Zen Vision:M and absolutely like the Creative ZEN, the Zen X-Fi is absolute captious about the video formats it likes. Sure, the amateur supports DivX 4/5 and XviD files, but alone if they are in 320 x 240 resolution and encoded as accepted MPEG-4 SP or ASP afterwards GMC support. Whereas the Vision:M was a chargeless spirit that could comedy aloof about annihilation you asked it to (including odd resolutions), the Zen X-Fi is a stickler that refuses to bend, or alike angular on, the rules.
When you do appear to amount article the Zen X-Fi brand (or you use Creative Centrale to catechumen the book first), watching videos on the alarming 16.7M-color affectation is a treat: bland playback, active colors, the works.
This area applies alone to 16GB and 32GB Zen X-Fi models. The 8GB archetypal is not able with wireless LAN.
The Zen X-Fi is Creative’s aboriginal amateur anytime to accept congenital wireless appearance (802.11b/g with WEP, WPA-PSK, or WPA2-PSK security). The capabilities are abecedarian compared to added wireless-enabled DAPs with web browsers, but it’s nice for alive and downloading agreeable from the Creative media server (Creative MediaBox) or one you accept at home.
Zen X-Fi Chat
The amateur can additionally use its wireless radio for burning messaging.
Official affidavit mentions affinity with Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger, but at the moment it seems that alone Creative’s own babble app is supported. [Update: Creative’s app can absolutely serve as a aperture for Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger. Check out a video audience here. Thanks, Michael!]
Though you can actualize an avatar as able-bodied as chase for, invite, and add friends, burning messaging on the Zen X-Fi is unimpressive and about abstract because of the way the onscreen keypad and accouterments controls collaborate with anniversary other.
As declared in the “Controls” area of this review, the nine buttons do annihilation that a approved joystick or directional pad couldn’t do. Rather than accord to a corpuscle buzz keypad, the eight alfresco buttons are acclimated to cross the onscreen keypad (each key is aloof as attainable afterwards the four angle buttons) and the centermost button is acclimated to baddest the adapted letter. For example, to blazon the chat “Sky,” you must:
This is about as far abroad as you can possibly go from T9 texting! There’s additionally a “circular” keyboard that borders the screen, but the acquirements ambit is steeper than the onscreen keypad because the keys are laid out alphabetically (rather than QWERTY-ly).
The Zen X-Fi’s added appearance are identical to those begin on the ZEN, so I won’t change them alone here.
In brief, there’s a photo viewer, FM radio, read-only organizer functions (calendar, assignment lists, contacts), and articulation recorder. Accepted book for a Creative device.
The Zen X-Fi’s non-removable lithium ion has the afterward estimated array runtimes:
As usual, absolute runtimes will alter according to accuracy settings, book formats and bitrates, and added factors.
Creative is business its new Zen X-Fi agenda media amateur as “the complete of perfection,” which abominably is a bit of an overstatement. It is the company’s best-sounding amateur to date and it does complete acutely great, but absolutely alone back X-Fi, its best acclaimed feature, is disabled. Best of the added appearance different to the Zen X-Fi are contemporary at best, and the new controls do annihilation but ataxia an contrarily adorable player.
Creative newcomers will acquisition it difficult to abide the bunched player’s abundant amount point ($150 to $280), acceptable centralized anamnesis with the advantage to expand, attractive 16.7M-color display, congenital speaker, wireless alive capabilities, and beautiful acceptable looks. Owners of the aboriginal ZEN, however, will be adamantine apprenticed to acquisition acumen to upgrade.
The Creative Zen X-Fi is attainable now in 8GB (no WLAN), 16GB, and 32GB capacities and backpack corresponding MSRPs of $149.99, $199.99, and $279.99.
Creative Zen X-fi Sd Card Compatibility – creative zen x-fi sd card compatibility
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