With almost every mobile phone sporting an MP3 player and expandable memory, the relevance of simple MP3 players are ever diminishing. But still they are useful, like while workout, to at least some of us. I hate to carry a phone on jogging for I like no distractions while on these simple indulgence with nature.
Creative have introduced their next gen Zen Stone. It is Zen Stone Plus. Here they have added a small but very nice display, thereby providing lot of interactivity. The display is monochrome, blue OLED which is very neat and pleasant to the eyes. ( I wish some one come up with a basic phone with such a display) With default setting, it goes off after a few seconds of input, saving energy.
In addition to the music player functionality, Zen stone plus is also armed with a FM tuner, voice recorder, time function and stop watch. Something fine for a workout accompaniment. Wish it had a pedometer.
The controls are minimal and quite intuitive. ( Display helps.) You need to hold down the power switch some 3 seconds to switch it on, and it takes another 3 seconds for the music to start. I think this 6 seconds is quite a long time. If you had just transferred some files it takes a little longer. Switching off also takes a few seconds of holding down. Little annoying until you get used to it.
A hold switch is notably absent. I can’t say it’s a must. But there is a shortcut switch which can be customized.
With the display added, we can now browse the music, not to the exact file, but to the folder. There are quite a few play options like repeat, shuffle and many combinations thereof. Again thanks to the display. Equalizer functions are also present.
The FM tuner doesn’t appear to be very powerful. I live at a FM fringe area and it doesn’t tune in anything, when bigger sets manage.
Though Creative provides some software, (need to download) it is not necessary. Once connected to computer, it behaves just like a drive. You can just drag and drop, copy and paste, delete, it is your wish. (use XP SP2 or
The sound quality is quite good, with good thump and not much of distortions.
The stereo headphone jack is of standard size. That will be of great help in case you require changing one. Another advantage is that, you can connect it to standard desk top speakers if you need your music loud to all. Means, you need not spend on specific accessory.
The build quality is quite good. True to its name, gives an impression that it is tough as stone in built. The switches are all neat and precise. The head phone connector is quite deep and well fitting, so no fear of getting it loose over time.
Creative suggests a 3hour charging before initial use. So a full charging may take around that time. They claim 9 hr 30 minutes use with a single charging. But I am afraid it isn’t that much. ( I don’t have exact value, but may be around 7 hrs.) Another thing, you need to charge from USB. This can be inconvenient, if you are not using your computer for long durations and quite frequently. A separate charger is available, but is quite expensive.
Unlike the iPod shuffle, it doesn’t have a clip or any thing of that sort to facilitate wearing. It is really a big handicap when you take it for your workup. Quite a few accessories are listed in rediff, like wrist band and clip, but they are all prohibitively expensive.
Price: A 1GB model cost Rs 1900 with bill and 1 year warranty. (Same time, shuffle cost Rs 2500) Creative have also introduced 2GB and another model with built in speakers.
If you are planning to buy a low cost MP3 player (honestly, I can’t find many reasons for that.) then definitely, Zen stone Plus will be a better option. May be even above iPod shuffle. (Except for the clip)
Read it at Mouthshut