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Creative Zen X-Fi2
The Zen series is Creative’s offering in the personal media players market - consistent and decent little performers. We have their latest Touch screen model called the Zen X-Fi2, a sleek looking product which we hope will keep up to the expectations we have secretly summed up for it. Let’s check it out.
This PMP is easily in the higher echelons of superlatives. It's subdued finish and confident geometry of the exterior all add up to a brilliant aesthetic scheme. Color wise we have a glossy black front panel, and a gunmetal colored back plate. The surfaces are very clean, as the only button on the front panel is absolutely flush, with just a square outline contour. The on and reset button are on the sides, tiny little round push buttons that are mostly inconspicuous.
The screen also is glossy, and does attract fingerprints, so it’s not perfect. It’s a 3 " TFT touch screen with a resolution of 400 x 240. The videos playable are SD, with a max res of 640 x 480. Formats available for video are vanilla options: WMV9, MPEG4-SP, DivX 4/5 and XviD. For audio there is regular MP3, wma and also AAC and Flac, so at least in audio we have some options. Picture again is only JPEG and BMP. All this works on drag and drop, plus there is also a bundled software that allows video format conversion.
This model too has the X-Fi DSP inbuilt. Basically it's Creative’s proprietary technology that enhances the audio experience. I quite like it from previous use. It has an “expand” function that does well with movie soundtracks. Last but not least, there is a TV out function.
Performance and battery
The UI and its subsections are pleasant to view but not flawless to use. The touch screen is not oversensitive, rather it needs a harder touch sometimes. Multitouch operation like scrolling and tracking during a movie can get iffy sometimes. The response of the system is fine. The folders open quickly once touch is registered, even when the player is filled with data to the brim. There is no basic folder view; everything is arranged under music, video etc.
Audio quality is very good. It's loud, without distortion, and the bundled in-earphones do a great job. The bass is wholesome but not the tightest in timing. Still it provides a good rock solid foundation to the sound. Highs and mids too are leveled alright, the X-Fi can increase or decrease the sibilance levels as per required.
Video playback is also nice, in that we did not find any glitches in terms of frame coughing and hanging. The brightness of the screen is adequate for most lighting conditions, even broad daylight, while on commute. As for file formats they play all mentioned ones, but not QPEL encoded Xvids. It’s actually mentioned in the fine print in the literature. Battery life is basic, with 22 hours of music and 4 hours 20 mins of video.
At 8 GB for Rs. 8,999 MRP, the player would be a tad expensive. For about 1000 less the unit has good value, as the widescreen format and brightness offered is good. The looks are very impressive while overall audio performance is very good, thanks to the decent earphones bundled. It's still a recommend, but, if possible the touch screen should be test driven once before purchasing, as it tends to misbehave sometimes.