Creative Zen X-Fi 16 GB Video MP3 Player with Wireless LAN and Built-In Speaker (Black/Silver)
List Price: $199.99

Our Price: $184.95

You Save: $15.04 (8%)

 


Product Description

Experience your MP3 music as the artist originally intended with the Creative Zen X-Fi--the first player to restore the quality of compressed music with award-winning X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity Audio technology. Indulge in rich, crystal-clear audio when you listen to your music, as the detail that's lost during file compression is now beautifully restored and played through premium-quality, noise-isolating EP-830 earphones.

Creative Zen X-Fi, built with X-Fi technology and wireless LAN--the sound of perfection. Click to enlarge.

A pocket-sized player that weighs a mere 2.4 ounces, the Zen X-Fi sports attractive curves with a graceful finish. Click to enlarge.

The included EP-830 earphones provide optimum comfort with excellent noise isolation. Click to enlarge.

A control/feature schematic. Click to enlarge.

Immerse yourself in the brilliant 2.5-inch TFT screen with 16.7 million colors as you watch your movies and view your pictures. Click to enlarge.

Sleek Beauty
A pocket-sized player that weighs a mere 2.4 ounces, the Zen X-Fi sports attractive curves with a graceful finish. Immerse yourself in the brilliant 2.5-inch TFT screen with 16.7 million colors as you watch your movies and view your pictures. Build with X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity Audio technology, the player lets you experience the very essence of music perfection as you listen to audio in crystal clear clarity. Hear your music the way it was always meant to be heard. Plus, the included EP-830 earphones provide optimum comfort with excellent noise-isolation capability. Or, be the life of the party as you share your music out loud with the powerful built-in speaker.

True Mobility
You can now stream music and photos wirelessly from your PC to your player within a home network. With the Zen X-Fi, experience the sound of perfection wherever you go.

Stay connected with friends on Yahoo Messenger or Windows Live Messenger on the go (at region-specific public wireless LAN hotspots).

More Content, Endless Enjoyment
Listen to your music in multiple supported formats, such as MP3, WMA, and (non-protected) AAC (m4a) from iTunes Plus. Download Creative Centrale to rip, transfer, and manage your media content easily. Enjoy the ultimate collection of free video and audio podcast channels on www.zencast.com. Manage all of your favorite subscriptions with Zencast Organizer, and experience the best of the free-to-share formats available. Tired of your own music? Switch to the FM radio. The 32 station presets let you switch stations with ease. Increase the size of your portable media library with an SD or SDHC card. Transfer your files easily to enjoy more videos, music, and photos in your player.

Packed with Features
Record your important meetings or personal audio memos with the integrated voice recorder. Set audio effects to enhance your overall music listening experience. Choose from eight EQ presets or customize your own EQ and enhance it all with bass boost and smart volume controls. Start the day on the right note with your very own alarm tone. You can even set the alarm for any day of the week.

What's in the Box
Creative Zen X-Fi 16 GB, installation CD, quick start guide, wireless function quick guide, EP-830 noise-isolating earbuds, USB 2.0 cable

Features:
  • A firmware bug could result in the player locking when playing the FM radio; to fix the problem, upgrade the latest firmware (1.04.08) posted on support.creative.com
  • Capacity: 16 GB (4,000 songs or 60 hours of video); up to 30 hours of continuous audio playback or 5 hours of continuous video playback on one charge
  • 2.5-inch TFT LCD with 320 x 240 pixel resolution: 16.7 million colors
  • Supports MP3, WMA, AAC5, WAV (ADPCM), Audible 2,3,4 audio formats; MJPEG, WMV, MPEG-4 video (including DivX and XviD); and JPEG photo formats
  • 1-year limited hardware / 90 days service warranty

Customer Reviews:

  • love it
    I've had this player for several months now and I love it! It goes with me everywhere. I bought it to replace my old Zen Vision M and I'm not disappointed.
    It a great size and weight and it's also pretty. Battery life is not bad. I've found the external speaker to be far more useful than I had ever imagined it would be. The overall device sound quality is Excellent. the head phones are nice even though I keep losing the little silicone tips/buds. the player should have come with a 100 pack of replacement buds for people like me. I don't use the crystalizer or the wifi...although I'm sure they have their uses, I find them both unnecessary and I'd be just as happy without either. The Card slot is a nice thought but I haven't found it to add as much joy and usefulness to the player as I had hoped. It's best to use this slot for picture transfers/storage. I love that it uses a regular usb cable to connect to the computer so I don't have to buy some "special" cable that will only work with this device. I am also delighted to be able to use it with my Audible books which is it's main occupation in my world (love my books).Video is terrific and it works great with Amazon video downloads. In a perfect world, I'm sure the buttons would be a bit larger but I'm not really annoyed with them the way they are. The software and user interface is very much like my Vision: M so I'm used to its quirks whatever they are, if they even exist. There is always room for improvement with every product, and everyone is an authority on how to design something to make it better. I suppose my main complaint would be the long time it takes to convert certain types of video and also that there is a little software quirk that makes the "what do you want to do?" window pop up on the computer while I'm charging. All in all...It does what I bought it to do and it does all those things quite well.
    It's a great little player. ...more info
  • OK
    I bought the Creative Zen X-Fi 32GB about 4 months ago. There are several problems that I have with it. First, I can't get the wireless features working, I just get an error message saying server not found or something. Also, the video formats that it can play is misleading. The resolution on this isn't very good and all the videos I put on had to be converted in the software that was provided. By the time the videos make it onto the Zen, they are so choppy, I can't even watch them and the others say video format not supported, even though they are supposed to be. Next, the battery will last about 5-7 hours of playback for me, granted it is on high brightness and never goes idle. My next issue is one that I have had with my other creative mp3 players, the what I am going to call "sleep mode". When I am done using the Zen, I turn it off, but it continues being ready for almost 3 hours wasting the battery, I don't know a way to avoid this. Finally the thing that makes me the most angry is that the headphones which it comes with started shocking me after only 4 months of use. I thought that the headphones would be one of the reasons it was worth the money. Though it has many problems, this mp3 player wasn't all bad.

    There were a few pros to buying this mp3 player. First, the sound quality is amazing, especially with the crystalizer on. The videos that it came with look very good, so I guess if you know of a way to convert them while maintaining the quality then this is a plus. I like the fact that it charges very quickly,(which is probably why my battery last such a short amount of time.) When I purchased this mp3 player, I was looking forward to the built-in speaker. I was not dissapointed with it, it was as loud as I expected, enough to fill a small room. I havn't used the memory card slot yet, but it looks as though it would be easy enough to slide a card in. ...more info
  • I love it!
    I bought this player a little over a week ago with free three-day shipping from [...]. It arrived as scheduled, and I've been able to enjoy it fine since. I've owned a Zen before, and I'm still impressed. It's got pretty much all the features of any iPod. The plastic backing makes it lightweight, and it's surprisingly sturdy. All my pictures and video look great on the 2.5" LCD screen. The player raises the standards of MP3 players. I have to say, I'm incredibly impressed with my new Zen....more info
  • Worst Software Ever
    The software that comes with the Zen X-FI is horrible. I installed Creative Central, which is the player's organizer onto my Vista and it crashed all the time. I tried uninstalling and re-installing the software but I can't seem to get it completely off my computer. When I try putting the disc back in it says I already have a copy on my PC and asks me if I would like to continue with the installation and remove the old copy. I click OK and it crashes. Even downloaded CCleaner as suggested by tech support at Creative and when I go to uninstall the original copy of Creative Central I get error messages saying that Creative Central has stopped working. ...more info
  • can't stop listening to it
    I love love love this mp3 player with x-fi.
    This is the best so far. I loved my zen v by creative labs
    but this is over the top. If you are in doubt buy it....more info
  • good music, useless wifi and terrible customer service
    I was happy to avoid the Apple Empire buying this player which was cheaper than their 16 GB product. The music sounds great and I prefer the buttons over the circle of the IPod. I'm able to easily switch songs while I work out. Software is easy to use. However...I have to say that the customer service of Creative is the worst. After a few months of simply being content to just use the USB, I tried to hook up the wireless connection and nothing works. Also, when they verified my chat account email, they added "EMAIL:" to my address, so I can't log in. I have tried numerous times to reset my settings, but the same thing happens.

    All the Creative tech support said through email in both cases was to refer to their web page for instructions. I finally found a tech phone number and the recording said I was ineligible for phone support because I had owned the Zen for over 2 months ( they offered help for $12/half hour). I still have not received any help through email-they just send me "active listening" responses like "I understand you are having trouble with such and such". Then again it sends me to a general how-to link on the Creative site. I'm fed up and will never again buy a creative product.

    Good thing I can't get chat to work anyway, the tedious keypad for inputting letters would drive me insane...6 clicks for the letter g, etc....more info
  • great MP3 player
    This is a great MP3 player. This player has everything you could want. Syncing with WMP is very easy. I had loaded up the player in minutes. It is great to travel with. The sound with some sure earbuds is great, even on a plane. I highly recommend this player....more info
  • Awesome in the store, but a disappointment at home.
    I was blown away with how many features they managed to fit into the Zen X-Fi mp3 player. It had music, video, wireless lan, SD cards, FM, microphone, a nice user interface, 36 hours of battery life, and 32GB of internal storage. It seemed so perfect.

    But when I got it home, i realized these things:

    1) The 32GB internal storage is not seen as a standard external drive. This means I can't just open it up as a normal folder and drag-n-drop my stuff; I need to go through Creative's software instead. That sucks.

    2) The wireless LAN stuff is a cool idea, but it was totally different than what I expected or needed. Creative designed the LAN as a way to stream files to the player, and they even provide a free central repository out-of-the-box so that you can stream things from all over the world right away. That's cool, but I was hoping to use the LAN stuff to be able to transfer files, much like a USB cable. That's not supported. Also, if you want to stream anything from your computer, once again you must use Creative's software -- you can't just use a standard shared folder on your computer. I hate that.

    3) It isn't stable yet -- During the first hour that I was playing with the X-Fi mp3 player, it crashed 3 times. I had to manually reset it. There are still a lot of bugs that need to be worked out (as of November 2008).

    4) I got absolutely NO reception on the FM radio. It's like my antennae was broken or something. I have heard from other reviews that the FM reception is supposed to be pretty good, but for mine it was completely white noise.

    5) Poor integration with SD and internal memory. Music on your SD cards don't automatically get included in your playlists. They're completely separated.

    Because of those items, I decided to return mine. I wish I didn't have to -- I really like the Creative brand. I have used their Stone player, and I really loved it. I was just hoping that the X-Fi would be simple and standards-compliant, just like the Stone. Too bad. :(

    ~Chris Sebastian...more info
  • Zen X-Fi 16 GB
    This is a great MP3 player. The X-Fi feature is not a great sound improvement over non X-Fi, and the wireless lan is nice but it is not that hard to hook it up with a USB cord. I never use these features. The FM radio works great too. Highly recommend this player over IPOD. ...more info
  • external speaker deciding factor for me
    Bottom line for me..over 40 and just a girl...not an audiophile at all... the external speaker was the deciding factor...anyone like me who does not like to use earphones for will love this... the sound is more than adequate for me..and I can listen to it in the house, car etc without any extra wires/adapters, car kits , boom boxes etc... I will get a car charger and of course if I ever decide to exercise ( ha ha) I will use the earphones...sure that little bright green Ipod is very cool... but for me to enjoy it I would have had to invest in all kinds of extra gadgets when my Zen X-Fi is all I need... a few notes :

    *I would have bought the regular 16gb Zen if it had had the external speaker..
    *I don't need the X-FI whatever that is, nor the wireless lan... the 8mg
    without the wireless probably would have been adequate for me but I
    wanted the 16gb
    *no problems at all loading cds, and barely read any instructions.. used
    windows media player not the Creative ... not sure why but will try the
    other next time..but the sync was no problem...
    *I have not tried to buy any music or videos yet so I can't speak to the
    software issues...
    *my videos from my computer look really good on the Zen.. and my photos
    *navigation is not hard..I've never had an mp3 player so I have nothing
    to compare it to.. like anything else once you use it a few times you
    get used to it...

    ...more info
  • disappointing sound quality
    I tried this with my Shure SE110 and Ultimate Ears Studio pro 3, I was expecting too much from it, for some reason the bass is too low, no special music experience what so ever, I like the other features though, I found the buttons confusing, if you like to keep your life simple..... don't get this one, I'd go for an Ipod rather than the Creative X-Fi, my personal recommendation would be Cowon S9 or Sony walkman, these are the best for pure music experience... if you want more features and applications, go for an Iphone or Ipod touch...more info
  • Full of Bugs; Terrible Customer Support
    I have nothing but complaints about this unit and the terrible customer service I have received from Creative. This unit is full of bugs, as it crashes on me daily and requires resetting very frequently. To name a few: the "My Shortcut" button doesn't work (never really has), it pauses tracks randomly, and Creative's software never finds all the songs on the player. I obtained an RMA and sent it back for numerous problems to have it repaired under warranty, only to receive it back with a NEW problem: a non-working EQ! Creative's customer support offered insulting solutions: 1) Upgrade to the latest firmware despite the fact that I already HAD it, 2) Adjust the EQ while the music is playing - were they SERIOUS?, 3) Send it back to them at my expense. I pointed out that it was their previous repairs that caused the problem and that I had already been without the player for 3 weeks because of it. Their solution to that e-mail was to simply ignore me. When spending over $300 on an MP3 player I expect a superior product and excellent customer service, neither of which exists with Creative. I do not recommend this product unless you enjoy headaches, hassles, and loss of free time....more info
  • Good little player - really awful software
    I've had the Zen X-fi for about 2 weeks now. I'm fond of it - the sound quality is pretty good, the colors are very crisp and clean and it's fairly easy to figure out how the whole thing works. (This is my first Creative Product.) I have some minor gripes with it, such as the "random" feature seems to have an insatiable need to play songs twice in a row, or play songs from the same album through most of the album but since I tend to have to laying next to me it's easy enough to skip the track.

    The layout of the buttons is a little annoying, and once you put the player inside the Creative Labs Leather Case for Zen X-Fi (Black)(optional) the buttons on the right side are a bit hard to access. They're quite small, also, and I have dainty little fingers!

    I have no attempted to use the SD card, so I can't make comment on that.

    My only really big gripe is the software. Good lord, it's awful. It doesn't sync! (Are you reading this, Creative?) This means that if you add music to your computer you're going to have to manually add it to your player when you dock it. I'm thinking of trying a different software altogether out.

    These things aside (and except for the software they're really not big issues to me) the player is solid. It has good sound (I have Skullcandy headphones, I didn't use the earbuds that come with the player) and it looks sharp without looking cheap. I'm fairly impressed with the Zen X-Fi. Plus, it's not an Apple product! Points right there!...more info
  • its a m3p player
    small thin just right like the sd card slot ,no need to use software the speaker sound really good , difficult to charge though it seems to have a software problem ...more info
  • great at everything except playing music

    I bought this player after reading many reviews claiming it was one of the best if not the very best mp3 players out there -- in particular with respect to sound quality.

    Unfortunately, my experience says otherwise. My unit has an unfortunate sibilance / harshness problem around 1-3k that just drives me crazy. I have tried a couple different sets of headphones and the issue is still there. I don't consider myself a super audiophile, but I was expecting more. My old 3G ipod did not have this problem.

    I don't know if this is a problem my individual player or the design, but it's kind of a deal killer for me.

    That aside, the features are pretty cool, and most everything works.

    + The video playback is excellent
    - The UI is just okay. The buttons are pretty small. The corner buttons of the keypad are a waste
    - I don't know what to make of the wifi feature. When I'm home and have access to my wifi, I turn the stereo on. It would be neat if it could work from just any old hotspot, but that's just not the case.
    - The software that comes with the unit... meh. I tried out various alternatives, and chose MediaMonkey, which works pretty well for me. In particular, I wanted software that would manage a lot of podcasts for me.
    - The video converter software works okay, but is crazy slow. It also crashes on one of my computers but not another. I have switched to using the mplayer/mencoder (linux freeware, but windows binaries available), and it is only slightly faster, but much more flexible (you have to be willing to hit the command line to make best use of mencoder, but it will encode whole DVDs, for example)
    + it's small and light
    + battery life is admirable. I plug the unit in to sync my podcasts and that pretty much takes care of my charging needs for day to day use
    + picture browsing is cool
    - The SD card slot is good, but the integration with your music library is not there. Actually, it's just handled totally separately, and even browsing to the SD card stops whatever was playing from your normal library. Annoying. I use the SD card to hold DVDs I've converted, so this limitation is not too annoying because my 8GB card can only hold 25 movies or so, anyway

    So, in summary. It's not an Apple product, which is nice. Size and battery are nice. Screen: also nice. It's got lots of features and the video is good, which is also nice. No problem playing any of the music I threw at it. The UI is just okay. Wi-Fi, only useful if you're at home running their media server. Finally, the sound: very disappointing.
    ...more info
  • If only is sounded good!
    I love Zen. I am a audio book addict and have owned four Zens and a Zune (which I bought when my Zen was discontinued and then sold to get the new Zen), as well as, now..an Ipod. This little thing is a dynamo. So small and light and easy to handle. I love that I can delete things on the player while using it - so convenient. Also, I have three different computers in different locales and the Zen will let me download on any of them...so civilized. My new Ipod came as quite a shock - I did not realize itunes only lets you download from one library - what the the f**k is up with that?!?! I have great music I will never get on to my Ipod unless I track down all those cds again or rebuy music I bought on line while I was at work.
    All my books and music downloaded in minutes on the Zen - the Ipod - seriously, took DAYS! and some bits are still missing. Zune also - downloads in minutes.
    I love the little speaker...I use it way more than I thought I would. So why did I buy an Ipod you ask? Because the sound for music on the new Zen is....I'm very sad to say...pretty awful. Even when I hook it to my stereo speakers - they vibrate - not a good thing - scares my cat..hell - scares me too. I love nothing more while sitting on the subway than blasting Everlong by the Foo Fighters, but you just can't on the Zen. It sounds terrible.
    Also, I may have become a little spoiled when I had the Zune. It had really great battery life. This little guy - not so much. Dies in a few hours...I listen to audio books while I work and I can't make it through my day without having to recharge it. It charges super fast, but you can't always be around a charger right? I'm expecting traveling with it is going to be a problem.
    To sum up...I'd have to say Ipod has the best sound, but is a total friggin hassel - even the wheel annoys me, Zune has the best battery life and you can download anywhere - you just can't manage music on the player. It has good sound, ease of use, nice big screen and plenty of storage. Zen - still my favorite for all it's features and convenience, light as a feather and as small as a credit card, but when in the mood for some serious Foo Fighters - I will just have to suck it up and use the Ipod...unless I want to hear some Led Zeppelin - BUT I CAN'T 'CAUSE IT'S ON MY WORK COMPUTER AND THE IPOD WON'T LET ME DOWNLOAD IT!!!!

    ...more info
  • Almost Perfect
    I bought the Nomad Zen NX about 5 years ago and it still works great. However, it is relatively big and heavy, and that's why I decided to upgrade now. Other players I considered were the Zune 120gb and the iPod 120gb but the Zune lacks an equalizer which was a dealbreaker for me and the iPod only has equalizer presets -- no customization. So I went for the Zen X-Fi 32gb and I'm glad I did. It lacks the capacity of the other two players, but the SD slot sort of makes up for it, even though it isn't well integrated with the internal memory. Also, SD prices have been falling fast, so I can see 32gb SD cards being sold for a reasonable price in the not too distant future. And this Zen is considerably smaller than those other two devices which is a big plus for me.

    The sound quality is very good. I like that it has a customnizable button to configure however you like. I assigned the volume control to it since that isn't directly available via another button in all screens. Now I can more easily access it at all times.

    FM reception in my area is superb, with little distortion or static. I think it will depend on where you live. In NY City, it's great.

    As for syncing, I am using the J River Media Center. It syncs fine with the Zen X-Fi and I prefer it to the non-intuitive Centrale software.

    The Centrale software bundled with the device is not totally useless. For one thing, it installs a help file on your PC that's a lot more detailed than the Quick Start guide that comes in the package. You should install Centrale at least for the help file. After you copy it elsewhere, you may be able to uninstall Centrale if you want. However it's harmless and I think uninstalling it might remove some of the needed drivers your PC may require in order to recognize the Zen X-Fi. You can also re-format the player using Centrale.

    Speaking of drivers, there is a Windows glich that prevented my Windows XP machine from initially recognizing my Zen x-Fi so I couldn't update the firmware or sync. I tried re-installing the Creative software and updating the drivers through Windows device manager but I kept getting this error message -- "A service installation section in this INF is invalid." A google search came up with the solution. If this happens to you, do a google search on that error message and follow the link to myCreative Fansite. In the first post is the answer -- A missing umdf file -- and a link to download it. The solution is really simple and worked like a charm, and my Zen is now fully recognized by my PC and the Creative software. It is not Creative's fault as this is happening to users of other MP3 players who are on Windows as well.

    The headphones are terrific and are far far better than the stock headphones that come with most players. I had planned to sell them on eBay since I have a few sets of earbuds already, but I'm going to keep them now as they have a nice rich sound and work well with this player. They are fairly easy to drive too so you can keep your volume on the Zen low which means your battery should last longer. For example, if I am listening with these headphones with the volume set to 7, I might have to set the volume level at 15 to get the same loudness using my Sony MDR-EX71 earbuds.

    You also get a nice hard plastic case to store all the little papers and accessories that came with the player.

    To clear up something a recent reviewer said .... once you have the correct drivers installed from the CD that comes with the unit (and apply any Windows fix if you have the umdf issue like I did), you do NOT have to go through Creative's Centrale software to get files into this player. It will show up as a separate drive instantly when you connect. Just click on My Computer to access it and you can browse the folder structure and drag and drop files. This is an additional way to load music files along with other alternate options such as Windows Media Player or J River Media Center.

    I would have given this player 5 stars if not for the poor integration of the SD card with the internal memory. I also really wish they had volume and pause hardware controls on the SIDE of the player which would allow one to control them even with a closed leather case. My Zen NX has this. With the Zen X-Fi you have to open the covers of the leather cases to get to the volume and pause controls. Because of this, I might simply go with a hard plastic case with cutouts or a silicone skin.

    Other than that, I'm very happy with this purchase. As I said, this little player is almost perfect.
    ...more info
  • Great sound in a small package
    I've been impressed with the sound quality. The buttons are a little confusing at first, but once you get past that it's a good little product. ...more info
  • exceptional product
    This is a great device. I use it at ballgames because of the FM radio and the fact that it fits comfortably in my pocket. The videos play well and the available storage and SD card slot means I have plenty of ways to carry my picture along to share. The ear buds have a great sound because of the X-FI technology. I have been very pleased with this and all of the products I have purchased from Creative. Creative is a very economical alternative to the I-pod. ...more info
  • Not worth the price
    Very hard to operate, buttons are way to small and the on and off switch is a joke. If you clip your nails your out of luck. It does have some very nice features if you can reach the controls. If Creative neads help with design give me a call. ...more info
  • The Zen X-FI, not as good as the Zen Visions for video playback
    After my Zen Vision M 60GB Personal Video Player (PVP) died, decided on replacing it with a similar. Ordered from Amazon the Zune 120 because of the great reviews it had. To my surprise and in spite of its 120 GB capacity, the Zune was perhaps the biggest disappointment (read my review) in technology from MSFT. I returned the Zune and quite hesitantly, ordered the Zen X-FI 30 GB model; the one with the highest capacity from Creative Labs, plus a couple of SD cards. Creative stopped production of their HDD based Vision M and Vision W series (ZVMs) and now all their PVPs are made with chips, not rotating platter disks.

    The Zen X-FI 30GB might be an alternative to consumers that do not expect much video features and are not used to the ZVMs. If you are familiar with and spoiled by the ZVMs, as I am, stay away from Zunes and the X-FI. This new Creative gadget has some great things such as the credit card size, the light weight and the internal speaker which is OK for personal listening. Screen brightness, contrast and detail are comparable with the ZVMs and much better than the Zune. Unlike the Zunes, your computer will recognize the Creative products as Storage Devices and allow you to drag and drop pics, music and videos. But the good things end here.

    While the ZVMs are capable of playing any size of converted movie/video, the X-FI can only play files in 320 x 240 resolution. Thus, if you are trading your Vision M for an X-FI, prepare your computer to convert all movies into the proper size. The Creative Centrale and Converter can do this but will take hours. ZVMs allowed video playback on TVs, monitors and similar devices with the optional cables, the XFI does not. My 60 GB Vision played continuously five hours of video or up to 12 hours of audio. The X-FI battery limits actual playback to three hours of video and not more than eight of audio.

    Now the worst, even though X-FIs have a slot for SD cards, these cards are not recognized as mass storage devices by computers. Thus, in order to load anything into the cards, they have to be removed from the Zen, installed in a compatible device (GPS, camera or even a card reader/writer), connected to your computer and then trough the Windows Explorer, drag and drop the desired files. How come a company like Creative allowed this flaw on their flagship PVP?

    While the ZVM series allows you to modify the picture on their small 2.5" inch screen to suit your preferences with features as Fit to Screen, Stretch to Full, Zoom to Full or Keep the Original size, the X-FI only allows you to Stretch to Full, a useless feature since videos were already converted to 320 x 240.

    As for the Zunes, not much to say other than they are not recognized as storage device by computers, the screen is dull, has no adjustment capabilities and only plays videos in MP-4 formats. These formats are twice the size of the AVI format played by Zens. Other bad things on the Zunes are the short battery life and the mediocre headphones included in such a relatively expensive product.

    After understanding that the new Zens or even the Zune 120 did not fulfill my video playback expectations I searched for old ZVMs and found that the 60GB versions are being sold as high as $600 in Amazon and $300 plus on E-Bay. Thus, I ordered a couple of used ones, 30GB working models (for $50) and was able to get an old 60GB from a good friend (which is thicker than the 30GB). Next month I plan to retrofit the 30 GB slim models with new Hitachi 60GB drives and later the one with the 60GB capacity will get a new Hitachi 100GB disk. Said disks are the ones used by several laptops and manufactured by Toshiba, Seagate and Hitachi. On a future article will publish the step by step process on how to increase the storage capacity of the ZVMs.

    Thus, after having stated the pros and cons of these devices, my advice is: If you want a player to listen to music mostly, consider the Zune 120. If you want a player for video playback, take a look at the Archos line. If you want a player balanced with music and video capabilities plus considerable battery life, look for an old Zen Vision M or Vision W. The Zen X-FI, although a nice try, is not to the standards of the technology of year 2009. Good luck on your decision!
    ...more info
  • Almost perfect
    I bought the Zen X-Fi as a replacement for my 30 gig Ipod 5G. I have some very minor gripes about it but it's an all around excellent machine.

    Pros:
    -Flash memory means fast navigation, better battery life, and no hard drive errors compared with hard disk players.
    -The battery life is really excellent compared to my old Ipod. Apple just blatantly lies about battery life; the X-fi actually lives up to expectations. The Ipod's VIDEO battery life is absolutely abysmal; this one at least can last a few hours on a full charge.
    -Some may complain that it looks "cheap", but the chrome accents look expensive, the device has a good enough weight for a flash player, and the textured silver backside repels scratches and fingerprints.
    -Li-Ion battery recharges quickly and adds an allure of value compared to cheap, AA-powered devices.
    -Sound quality is absolutely excellent. The X-Fi technology, although obviously not hardware-enabled, provides if nothing else a sweet-sounding EQ for the player. I have a set of logitech z-5500s for my desktop, and I believe music sounds better on this player with the included headphones than my desktop set.
    -I love the 'my shortcut' feature! I have mine set on "album of the day"

    Cons:
    -SD expansion slot is almost useless since it creates an entire different "partition". I have not evaluated the read speed yet.
    -Navigation is not as silky-smooth as the ipod and can hang for as much as a second sometimes.
    -Synching is SLOW with Winamp.
    -Included software is ridiculous; don't use it.
    -Instant messaging feature is a joke
    -Speaker is only good for listening to voice recordings, not music.
    -Tiny buttons are hard to push
    -screen isn't big enough for today's standard anymore.
    -16gb is a good value for $200 (now it's only $160), but other players with larger capacities can be had for about the same $$$.

    Overall: there are a lot of phony gimmick features, but Creative Zen has always been the brand to buy if you are a MUSIC fan because the quality is (as always) perfect. This thing will be untouchable if some firmware comes out to make the silly features actually usable.
    ...more info
  • Excellent value
    Telling by today's market share, chances are you are reading this review because you are comparing the Zen to an Apple iPod product. Having switched from an iPod to the Zen X-Fi, I can say that the bottom line is the value. You get a lot for the money here.

    My profile as a user is: I buy DRM-free music on Amazon and also rip my own CDs. I am an audio podcast addict and would occasionally watch a video podcast. I listen to the radio a lot.
    If you only listen to music, i think that now that iTunes is finally DRM-free, there is not much value for you in the extra features here (except for maybe the internal speaker) vs the iPod.

    Strengths:
    - built-in radio
    - superb noise-isolating headphones included
    - built-in speakers
    - internal mic
    - great sound quality
    - excellent video quality and size
    - drag and drop easy file transfer from desktop to player
    - battery life is unbelievably long
    So overall you get a ton for your money.

    Cons:
    - wifi benefits are extremely limited. I don't use it at all.
    - navigation not nearly as sexy or convenient as the iPod (dial or touch)
    - zencast (podcast sync) organizer works fine, but not as slick as iTunes
    - while creating playlists with the desktop software is easy, it's very hard to create one on the go...more info
  • Almost...not quite
    Zen X-Fi 16GB review 2-28-09

    Had the Zen X-Fi 16GB for two months of daily use now.

    The device is well built and solid. It needs a silicon skin for protection, though. That is extra but highly recommended so your expensive player doesn't slip out of your pocket.

    First, the buttons are too flat and are not illuminated. Sounds like a small thing, but flat black metal buttons against a black metal background in the car at night are very difficult to find and press. If the buttons were transparent and had the tiniest LED behind them, they would be a lot easier to manipulate accurately.

    No Bluetooth--I'm getting very tired of wired connection to my car and headphones. LOSE THE WIRES, Creative! The earphones that come with the Zen are terrific. Really good quality. But the wires are tiresome.

    Though I'd rather have Bluetooth, Zen is Wi-Fi capable. You can wirelessly hook to your computer's wireless router and play or copy files back and forth, but it's so frustrating to make it function it's virtually useless. USB cable is the way to connect.

    As part of Wi-Fi, Creative does provide something called "Media Server" that you can access via your internet connection wireless router if you're in range and properly connected. After waiting a couple of minutes for the connection to be made, you can listen to propaganda from all kinds of politically correct content like NPR, the BBC, Australia's ABC and KCRW. Yes, master: I hear and obey. Mostly a waste as you can't really select content you want, only what they supply. Definitely politically correct. And boring.

    It has a kind of chat texting capability but that's what phones are for these days and the Zen's dinky keyboard just doesn't cut it. The keyboard is laid out the way it is so it can emulate a phone keypad when you're in chat mode. Too frustrating to use. It's why QWERTY keyboards are on phones now.

    Bookmarks. A few minutes after being shut off, the Zen forgets where you were when you shut down. If you fire it up an hour after shutdown or dock it to your computer to upload new content, it starts playing the last file you opened from the beginning. This is a bit frustrating when you're part way through a three hour podcast. So Creative allows you to set a Bookmark from within the file you are playing. It's quick and easy once you figure it out. I use it all the time now. This allows you to set a point in a podcast so you can return to it later. But while you can set the bookmark from within the file, you have to navigate to the Bookmarks screen to select the bookmark when playing back later. Not very intuitive. Took me two months to realize the usefulness of the feature. Why doesn't it simply remember where I stopped listening by itself? My DVR does. Just resume from where I left off. But no.

    The lower left button is programmable. It's called My Shortcut. You pick from a list of available functions and set it. This allows you to go to a particular favorite screen or function once you decide what that is.

    The Zen first and foremost is marketed as a video and MP3 player. What I wish it could do is have a "skip forward" ability (again, like my DVR does) that allows me to skip forward 30 seconds or a minute (or a user defined amount) so I can move forward in predictable amounts instead of holding the fast forward button down. If it's going to be called a "player" of any sort, it should have a variety of player controls. Skip forward/back should be available. Firmware upgrade wish, Creative.

    Speaking of the fast forward button, the longer you hold it, the faster it goes. It starts by forwarding at a slow rate, then speeds up until you are jumping forward minutes at a time. This is good for zooming to a point quickly. But if you want to go forward, say, seven minutes, holding the FFwd button down too long will launch it into hyperdrive and you'll be at 10 minutes or more into the file, then have to rewind/search back. Somewhat of a pain. No. A real pain. Let me skip forward or back in 30 second increments.

    A great feature is its built-in speaker. It sounds like my transistor radio from my childhood. This feature was the main reason I bought the Zen: you don't have to use earphones if you don't want to. It is a great and rare feature among MP3 players. A pocketable mini boombox.

    Creative's Centrale "iTunes wannabe" software is dreadful. I tried it for awhile, then uninstalled it and now just drag files to the device.

    Video screen quality is very good but 320x240 is still a bit small. Diagonally it's 2-1/2"; 2" wide x 1-5/8" high. It's also the old 4:3 aspect ratio, not the modern 16:9. If you're viewing a 16:9 video letterboxed, you are looking at one tiny video.

    The video player (as opposed to the music player) is very weak. Windows Media Player 11 it ain't. Another key reason I bought the Zen is because it promised it could play a plethora of video formats. Wrong. I have dozens of wmv video files which exist in many sizes and bitrates from thumbnails to HD. Unfortunately, almost all of them need to be converted via Creative's stand-alone converter app or Centrale into squeezed-down bitrates and 320x240 size. This process is clumsy and slow.

    If virtually every file needs to be converted in order to play, it's not really playing the advertised list of formats: it's playing the format Creative has selected and must be converted to. Often, even if I render out a wmv directly from my video editing software to Creative's parameters, it still won't play properly without conversion. Yet another marketing promise dashed to pieces.

    The Zen allows me to delete files directly from the Zen if I want to (as opposed to needing to plug into iTunes to delete or add). This is good.

    It has a built in mic and audio recording capability and you can program the "My Shortcut" button to start the recording process immediately so you don't have to navigate to the recorder's controls.

    It has an FM radio that only works if the ear phones are plugged in because the wire becomes the antenna. What I'd really like is an AM radio, though, for news, talk radio, traffic and weather. Who needs FM? That's what your MP3's are for in the first place, right?

    The unit has an SD card slot, but it's not well integrated. Content on the SD card does not appear in the normal file list. You must navigate to the card and browse it separately. Worse, when you do that, it comes back with "There are no playable files in this folder" even when I know I put mp3 files on the card that the player can play. You have to use the "Import" function to move files from the SD card to the player's memory in order to play them. Think of the SD card as an aux thumb drive, not as expanded memory, except it doesn't even work like that, actually. If you think you can buy the 16GB and "double" its memory capacity with a card, think again. It's more of a gimmick than a useful feature. More Creative fluff that is long on promise but short on delivery.

    By the way, when you plug the Zen into your computer's USB cable the Zen does not mount as a drive (what Windows calls a "Local Disk.") It "docks" as a "Portable Media Player" according to Type in Windows Explorer. This means you can't play directly from the player. If you click on a file on the Zen from within Windows, it moves the file to a temp folder on your C: drive before playing. Not a big deal, but if you intend on connecting the Zen to a USB input on your car stereo or computer, I don't think your stereo will be able to see the Zen's contents. While the Zen is docked to the computer, all the play buttons are disabled and the display indicates "Docked" until you unplug the device. On the other hand, you don't have to unmount the device. Just pull from the USB and go.

    Poor Creative. Always trying. Never quite getting there. Won't be long now and a phone will do it all. Look at Sony Erickson's W760, iPhone or Palm Pre.




    ...more info
  • Counterintuitive
    I have never in my life had to read the instructions to figure out how to adjust volume..until now, and that was one of the easier features to figure out. I'll admit that I am not a computer buff, but my bf is, and not even he could figure this thing out.

    I was also unable to make lists on the player manually, so the music was disorganized. I'd have to sift through the list alphabetically to get to another tune I wanted to hear at the time..very irritating when you listen to a variety of music...Hillary Hahn to NWA? Awful!..though you COULD listen to just one artist for several songs at a time.

    I agree with the Aaron guy who also gave this a 1 star..its a definite step down from their older models. I have a creative vision W ..it is absolutely terrific. The reason creative visions doesnt make that model anymore is because the large screen would eat up the battery pretty fast..so when people would try watching movies on it..they'd be very dissatisfied. Half hour flicks or shorter are alright..and its much nicer to look at pics on the creative visions W than on the silly, microscopic x fi. Creative Visions should try going half way and make a screen sized somewhere in between this and the W, they'll have many more happy customers that way. If Creative Visions doesnt find a happy medium somewhere in between these two models, I will have to switch to Wolverine for future ipods

    Oh ya, and the volume. One thing is for sure...and that is that you wont go deaf by listening to music with this. ALL of my other players had higher volume than this even old CD players



    ...on the brighter side...they do come with some nice headphones..that would normally go for $30...but those $30 headphones arent worth this catastrophe of an mp3 player...more info