Creative Zen X-Fi 32 GB Video MP3 Player with Wireless LAN and Built-In Speaker (Black/Silver)
List Price: $279.99

Our Price: $248.88

You Save: $31.11 (11%)

 


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-isolatling 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 32 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: 32 GB (8,000 songs or 120 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • Not intended for all users
    If you're not PC savvy or originally an iPod user, then this mp3 player device isn't for you. I consider myself a little more knowledgeable than the average gadget-user and I loved the sound that came out of this little toy, not to mention the great price it was compared to the iPod Touch 32gb; however, I was extremely frustrated in catering this device to my needs. Let me explain.

    On top of listening to music I also subscribe to podcasts (for those that don't know what this is, they're basically recorded audio/video programs on the internet that you can subscribe to via rss feeds. A lot of radio shows now have them and you can find them in website directories like Podcast Alley, Blubrry.com, AllPodcasts.com, iTunes directory, etc). If you would like some specific examples of podcasts you can check out NPR.com or just go to any radio show you like and they're bound to have a podcast of some kind on their website. Even CNN, MSNBC and HBO have some. Anyway the issue with this is that some shows were under different file formats (protected m4a or m4v or some quicktime format) that wasn't compatible with this device. Sure if you have the right converter program anything is possible, but the average user isn't going to jump through as many hoops, as I did this past week, to get things to their liking if there is a simpler way.

    Also, as I said in the first paragraph. If you're originally an iPod user, chances are, when you imported your CDs into your computer, iTunes did so under there proprietary AAC format that won't be compatible with this device (not to mention any song that's bought through the iTunes store that's under their proprietary drm-protected AAC format). As I said earlier, you could convert all your files to mp3 (not sure how successful you will be with any song file bought through the iTunes store) or just start anew and re-import your CDs, but I have somewhere around 8,000 plus songs and that would be a hell of a side project.

    In summary, if you're computer savvy and this is your first mp3 player product I suggest you check out the "anythingbutipod.com" forums and learn some tricks on all the many ways you can tinker with this product as well as just listen to your music or video with great quality sound. Otherwise, stick with the iPod, where the ease of use and seamless integration of iTunes/iPod is beyond compare (The iPod is the closest thing to plug-and-play that I've experienced) and you'll never have to spend hours and hours of research on converting tools and such to enjoy your device. ...more info
  • Zen X-Fi 32GB rocks!
    Summary: the Creative Zen X-Fi 32GB MP3 player provides incredible quality in sound even without 'X-Fi Crystalizer' and/or 'X-Fi Expand' enabled. I've owned several MP3 players (and borrowed others from friends) one of which is the Creative Muvo T100 but this is by far the best sounding player I've listened to, bar none. I have not tried the wireless feature yet so this review does not cover it.

    Pros: Sounds excellent with or without the X-Fi stuff enabled. Big storage space even if you rip songs @ 320 bit rate like I do. You can also add a SD flash memory card to increase storage space even more. Considering the size of SD cards out today, storage space will not be a concern. Cool interface that is intuitive and easy to use without needing a manual. Size is small, about the size of a credit card but obviously thicker. Controls are adequate even when driving and not looking at the buttons.

    Cons:
    - A bit pricey.
    - Occasionally after a full battery recharge, the player won't boot. Thankfully the ez fix is to depress the reset button. Again, thankfully nothing is lost during these periodic events. If you buy this player now, it ships with the updated firmware that obviously makes this defect much more tolerable than some of the older reviews you'll see on this site and others.
    - X-Fi Crystalizer/X-Fi Expand settings enabled...results in a dramatic volume increase right after a quiet period in the song or at song starts. If you have the volume cranked up, get ready to have your eardrums blown out. Say you're listening to a hard driving, loud rockNroll song with a quiet period in the middle followed by a loud finish...the volume will auto-increase way high during the quiet period. This is a downer when you're not ready for it. If you can get past this odd problem, the X-Fi settings really do enhance the sound quality and depending upon configuration can make the song sound like a live recording. Thankfully, this player really sounds incredible without the X-Fi settings enabled. Rip your songs with a high bit-rate and you really won't need what X-Fi has to offer.
    - The Creative software that goes on your PC to allow import and management of the MP3's and playlists is at first non-intuitive. But keep at it and you'll figure it out. To make things easier, I use Windows Explorer to copy/paste songs into artist_name/album_name folder structure in the player. Then use the Creative provided software to manage playlists, genres etc....more info
  • Sharp Videos with Fantastic Music
    I bought this after doing a lot of research. I was deciding between Ipod Touch, Microsoft Zune and Creative Zen.

    I decided on Creative because they replied 2 of my queries promptly with detailed explanations. Ipod gave me no reply and Zune replied 1 of my 2 queries briefly.

    The video was great as promised. So was the music. Been using it for 2 months and had no problems at all.

    Friends are just amazed by the video quality of this toy of mine.

    No regrets. Fantastic value for money....more info
  • Zen-tastic!
    I must admit I was very skeptical about purchasing another creative product, due to experiencing their lack luster customer service when you have an issue with their products. I previously owned a Zen Micro Photo 8gb, that went dead and all I got from creative was an invitation to view the refurbished stock to purchase a replacement. That really sucked, but not as bad as realizing that there were not many choices by way of decent, affordable mp3 players on the market. Yeah my player was out of warranty, had been dropped more times that I could count and there was an incident involving a cup of water and some spillage, but all that is beside the point, I think. Anyway, After looking at Ipod's for about 2 weeks while going through withdralw without my tunes (did I mention I hate the Ipod and all Ipod related items) and having to stop my self from making that purchase several times, I came across the Zen X-Fi 16GB.

    Pros :
    X-Fi Sound Enhancement, Large Screen, Wi-Fi Video and Music Streaming and Downading, Album Art on Screen, Price/Memory ratio, Expandable SD Memory Slot, FM Radio, Speaker, Exceptional Earphones, Battery Life, Chat Feature, Sleek Look and Feel(It's gorgeous), Overall Size

    Cons :
    SD Memory Not Integrated With Built-In Memory, Small Buttons(I have large "Man Hands", so ladies you should be fine)

    What You Should Know:
    If you purchase this player check for updates to the firmware regularly.
    Firmware updates have already fixed issues with the shuffle feature, X-Fi Enhancement, and Chat feature set-up.
    The button layout for texting is tedious, not laid out like your phone.
    Video files need to be converted w/ included software before playing.

    All things considered if you are an "anything but Ipod" type of person, this is hands down the player for you, the 16gb is affordable and you get the Wi-Fi feature with the 16 and 32gb players. I love mine so much I even bought a clear plastic case for it, the fingerprints were driving me crazy. Also, If I decide to sell this one it will be in mint condition.
    Hope this review helps, Good Luck!...more info
  • It's what I ordered..
    I received the X-Fi and after charging for 4hrs.(necessary) I began to load it with music, It worked wonderfully. It has a slight learning curve; Install the software on your PC first. It also shows pictures and videos nicely, even with the small screen. My only problem, which is not "Creative's" was that the software kept crashing(OS: MS Vista), Which was resolved when the software finally was able to update. Video, Pictures, Music, Radio work well but, the wi-fi will only connect if you can set up the media server function in the Creative software; Which seems to work only if you are a computing engineer. All in all a great little device, Just do not rely on the wifi....more info
  • Better than Ipod
    I believe this is better than the Ipod, in my opinion. I believe the serious MP3 Player enthusiast will appreciate a player like this. Not many people do their research and think the Ipod are the end all of player. I challenge them to find an Ipod that plays FM radio, built in MIC, multiple video and audio format. Can display picture and has the ability to get on a wireless lan and stream audio and video files. I mean, this device has a plethora of features that truly make a worthy opponent to the iPod.

    Pros: Multiple video and audio support, wireless lan capabilities, built in FM turner, MIC, built in speakers, premium headphones included.

    Cons: Weak FM Radio signal at times, some album art don't tag properly, packaged software sucks.

    Overall, this is a great player, I am satisfied. Sold an iPod nano 4th gen to get this....more info
  • It's Ashame! Love Creative...Hate The Glitches...
    Try this player at your own risk...Works for some, not others.

    My 3rd Creative player. Have the ZenV:M and Vision. No issues with these players, nearly flawless syncing/playing.

    This player failed in many ways. Syncing was hit or miss. Sometimes it would skip files, sometimes it would shut down after transferring files. I had to format the player 3 times before I finally decided to return it.

    Bottom line is features, framework, software are irrelevant if the player does not perform reliably.

    I have a Sony E348 now and am very happy. Looks like Creative will have to design a player that exceeds all their current standards before they win me back....more info
  • Amazon too slow to ship
    This is a great product, but unfortunately I will not be buying from Amazon. They held on to it for a week before even sending it, just because I used the free shipping option. My girlfriend used the same shipping during Christmas season and they shipped it the same day. If they are going to hold on to item just because I used the free shipping then I will not order from them. The only reason I ordered from amazon is because I had a gift card. Other places have it for less, the gift card made it less for me.

    Otherwise I love this player. The videos are great and it is loud with the included ear buds, even though I am not a fan of ear buds. The included software is great. The ZENcast organizer is great, I've never listened to podcasts much, and now I can keep up with them very easily. The Creative Centrale even works with my girlfriends older Zen V plus and is much easier to use than the software that came with hers. I have put many videos on it and haven't even used 1/3 of the space on it. The online feature is pretty cool, but I haven't been able to use it much....more info
  • Works Fine
    I like very much... I finds thats when lissinin to my musics the controls are very hard to use - NOT!!! I listen to Kazak music and pu tvideos of Pam and I very happy... Very Nice!!!

    Borat...more info
  • Good Hardware. Flakey Software.
    The player itself is really pretty slick. The external speaker is good enough to let my 3 year old son listen to his favorite music without having to use ear phones. The picture quality is really quite good. In fact, in a pinch I have watch several movies on it without too much eye strain.

    The downside is the software. It comes with a video converter that will take most formats of video and convert them into a format that the player can play. This part of the software is very good. The rest isn't worth a hoot. The player is supposed to have a calender/planner and contact book. You can not create these with the player. They must be created on your computer then uploaded onto your player. I have updated the software and searched all over but still can't find where to do that. Not that big of a deal, I guess. I just like using all the bells and whistles on new toys.

    All in all I'm very happy with my Creative Zen X-Fi. If I lost it I would definitely buy another.

    Smed...more info
  • Had to return it since Creative Centrale almost ruined my marriage
    Well, I bought the 16MB X-FI rather than any other player due to the following:

    1. I have a Napster subscription and needed a compatible player (So no iPod, Zune, Cowon...)
    2. I don't trust touch screen (So no Samsung P2, P3...)
    3. I thought the music streaming from my desktop is neat, and would save me the need to upload 20GB of music to the player (so no Sansa View)

    After seven solid days of trying to get the streaming to work properly, which almost cost me my marriage (I had to listen to "you love that mp3 player more than your daughter"...) I conclude it is simply a cruel joke. I tried it on three computers, desktop and two laptops, both Vista and XP, with two different networks. The streaming would start, and then stop; buffering would take forever; all my media would suddenly disappear and I would have to reinstall the program; my licenses to play Napster got messed up; it was a week of hell.

    I returned it to Amazon, took my wife to a romantic date, and am considering a 32GB Sansa now.

    I am giving it an extra star since it is a sexy little thing and if you don't have a lot of music, and don't use streaming, you will probably not hate it. ...more info
  • Great sound and functionality, lousy firmware issues
    The sound and features are fantastic as promised, however I have had to wipe out all my downloaded files from my X-Fi twice in the month I've had it.

    I have no use for the Creative Centrale software that came with it since I use my subscription service for my files for the most part. I do like the Zencast Organizer feature for the most part, allowing me to import podcasts which is new to me.

    However I've had to reinstall my firmware twice in the month I've had the player after getting multiple transfer errors on my subscription service software (Napster) and error messages on my X-Fi. My wife who has the Zen hasn't had nearly as many issues. I'm also constantly having to press the reset button. But when it works, it works fantastically. When i call tech support pretty much the only advice I get is to reload the firmware, and upon calling Napster's tech support, their advice is the same after going through more troubleshooting steps....more info
  • Bringing a little Zen to your life.
    The moment I caught wind of the X-Fi, I knew I wanted it. It had everything I was looking for in an MP3 player, from the Creative tag right down the the built-in speaker. And, it hasn't disappointed.

    The Pros:
    1: Clear LCD screen
    2: Easily navigable User Interface
    3: Built-in Speaker (Not the best, but considering its size, can't expect too much)
    4: It's a Creative
    5: SD expansion slot
    6: X-Fi audio is amazing!

    The Cons:
    1: Creative Centrale is a headache to use
    2: There isn't an AIM gateway for the Online options.
    3: Player will occasionally freeze on song changes (easily fixed by the Reset button, though)

    All in all, if you don't mind dealing with the hassle of Creative Centrale, I wholly recommend getting one of these. 6 years with Creative products, and I haven't been done wrong yet....more info
  • Creative ZEN X-FI Software needs help
    The creative centrale software shipped with player is worse than useless. You can not create playlist in the order you want. Tried to force the order of the mp3 files, the software chopped the number from the mp3 title. The software takes control of the mp3 file tag information. Which can not control by you. The player does see the folders of mp3 files copied to the device using explorer. Called several time to tech support, they did not understand the issue. The orginal ZEN player is great, purchased the ZEN X-FI for the improved sound. The software with the ZEN is great, work perfectly, the way I want. Tech support did not understand the difference in the players software. If you a player the controls your mp3 files based on the tag info, the ZEN X-FI is for you. If you want more control over your player and mp3 files, the ZEN is for you.
    ...more info
  • Awesome player
    The Creative XFI is an awesome player, the music and speakers on it make the tunes sound crisp. The color is better than it has been than any other Creative player thats been out. I previously owned Creative Zen Vision: M and the color in comparison is alot different. Its small, and light weight as well. The keys are a little hard at first, but you wont accidently hit to go the next song if its in your pocket or the volume going up and blowing your hearing out. I'd recommend this player over any other MP3 Player....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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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