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Creative Zen V Plus
I have been an iPod user for the past two years, and I firmly believe that Creative Mp3 players are the next in line to take over the portable players’ market. But they always manage to leave a few things amiss here and there. Let's check it out.Design
Creative has tried to keep the V Plus very compact and shiny. The result — what we have here is a player that is approximately as thin as the Zippo lighter. Although, I don’t like the black and shiny plastic finish, and makes the player prone to fingerprints and smudges. Also this makes it look quite cheap and unnecessarily shiny. Speaking of looks, the player that we got for reviewing has this orange band. Looks very tacky.
Going away from the conventional LCD screen these days, the V Plus is equipped with a 1.5-inch OLED screen that shows 128x128 pixels. This I believe helps a lot in conserving battery, which is also one of the plus points of the player (more of this later though). The OLED screen, however, has a very slow refresh rate and this kind of makes it a lot strenuous while watching videos or album artwork.
Below the screen you will find the four-way navigational joystick and the play/pause, back buttons. On the right side of the player, you will find some more orange — the volumes keys — and the record button. The buttons are a bit less responsive than I expected them to be. After a long while of getting used to jabbing the buttons twice at times, I lost faith in them.
Also the keys are placed on the right hand side, which according to me is lame. I’m right-handed and would have found it easier to have the keys on the left-hand side.
All in all a not so good-looking player! You also get the player in other colours. If you are buying this, then do go for the one in white. That one too has the orange banding, but it looks awesome.
To begin with, I had an immense dislike for players that aren’t loud. The volume stops at the measure of 25 units and the sound is very subtle for the racket out on the road. We live in a noisy world (at least I do!) and I would appreciate if players, irrespective of how good or bad they are, start boosting their volume. I would like to decide how loud I want my music to be played.
That apart, the music quality is good. The player picks up bass quite efficiently, and the sound is quite synchronized. Although, using the bass boost option can cause some of the more bassy songs to jar. You can make use of the in-built EQ presets and even manually set the equalizer.
Now what I don’t understand is why do music player manufacturers bundle such bad set of earphones. To begin with, I found the earpiece to be too big for my ear. It kept falling off, which means I can certainly not take it for a jog. I hate shoving the earphones right down my ear, but this one failed to even stay put. Also I tried my Sony earphones with the player and they played better than the creative earphones. Here I have to give it to iPod for making one of the best earpieces to come bundled with the player.
The player UI is quite simple, and navigation has been kept quite straightforward too. Although the player takes about 10-11 seconds to startup, which according to me is slow. Switching between songs, however, happens instantly.
The V Plus doesn’t allow drag and drop, so you will have to use the MediaSource 5 software. The software manages all the media files, and transferring takes as fast as copying the files would take. But the player could have done well without this compulsion. Apart from the MediaSource 5, you can also use Windows Media Player 10 or Winamp to transfer files.
FM works well indoors, although while traveling in the train I lost transmission continually. Also I have to mention that the player doesn’t support FM recording, which some may find inconvenient.
Voice recording is very efficient, and what I like about the player is the option to use the line-in to attach a mic and record. Awesome! This comes in handy if you have a guitar (like I do) and want to record something that you just made off your top. It saves all the recorded files in 16kHz mono WAV format. You can also select a portion of the 1GB space as a storage device.
You can also view videos and photos with the player, although its not something that the player is cut out for. It makes use of the Motion JPEG Video Codec to play videos, which means all the files that you convert into this format are blown to an exponential size. Also the 128x128 pixels OLED screen makes viewing videos and photos a little painful.
Battery / Conclusion
The battery life is said to be around 15 hours on the box, but I got just 10. This included a lot of screen usage. Ten hours according to me is decent. It used the Mini USB 2.0 cable to charge the player.
The player costs Rs 5,500. I like the size of the player, although I don’t like the finish. Also it does what it is meant to do well enough — playing music. My main complaint still is that the player isn’t loud enough. This alone is one of the reasons why I will not opt for it, but for people who stay or travel to/through a quieter side of town would not mind this compromise. If you are okay with this, go for it.