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Creative Zen Stone
MP3 players seem to be getting smaller and lighter with each new model. Some may lack features or just not have any, but hey, all I want to do is listen to music. What's next - an MP3 player that fits directly into our ears and plays music? But truth be told I’m all for miniaturization of gizmos provided, of course, they can live up to a certain standard. The Zen Stone (it should have been called the Pebble considering its smooth curved surfaces) is just this. But does it live up to the standard? Let's see.
What can I say about this player? Not much really. It’s small, and extremely light weight at a mere 0.65 ounces. Its entire dimensions are 2.1 x 1.4 x 0.5 and with its smooth curvy surface it makes for a simple yet cool design.
On one of it’s slim sides, Creative managed to fit a 3.5mm earphone socket (thank goodness!) with a slider that allows you skip folders, and shuffle the order of tracks to play randomly. On the other side is a mini USB port to connect to your PC for data storage and transferring your music.
The front is not too different from the iPod Shuffle - by that I mean the new clip version. The difference is, it has embedded buttons with the Play/Pause key in the dead center. This key also doubles as the power switch. All you need to do is keep it pressed for a couple of seconds to either switch it on or off. There is no Hold switch, which I found a bit odd, but then again, the buttons are placed in such a way, it’s not easy for the keys to get pressed my mistake if it’s in your pocket.
I do like these earphones. They may look like any ordinary pair but they have very slight protrusions at their top corners that make them sit in your ears a little better. The little extension and the rubber exterior surface of the speaker actually helps them stay put without falling out. There is also a provision for a strap in case you'd like to hang it around your neck. It'll end up looking like some sort of an ornament more than an MP3 player though, but what the heck.
The Rolling Stone
I was quite impressed with the functioning and quality of this wee little player. All I had to do is simply copy paste my files onto the player and even create folders if I wanted and I was good to go. It’s as easy as the player is simple. Acceptable formats are MP3, WMA, and Audible.
The output is loud enough to drown out the world’s existence but at peak it’s a little bit out of whack and tends to be mite distorted. Should it sound that way, just lower the volume a bit and it’ll sound good again. I also found that the quality of the sound mattered hugely on the quality of the file (obviously). So just make sure you take care of that problem.
The Creative Zen stone also comes in 6 colors including red, yellow, pink, white and blue. They’re all 1GB models at the moment. I hope that capacity increases soon though. The battery life of this product is amazing. I clocked it at 9 hours and 56 minutes of nonstop playback. Now that’s impressive.
The Bottom Line
This really is a great little player. It’s so small and light that you may not even realize it’s with you, except that you’d probably have the earphones in your ears to let you know, so scratch that. But you get the point. The Creative Zen Stone, 1GB is priced at Rs. 3299 and it also comes with a key-chain strap that’s worth approximately Rs. 500 and I think that it’s well worth all that.