Zen and the art of war: Creative Zen Vision:M

Has the Apple iPod met its nemesis? Is it time for Big White to lie gently on its own sword, a death worthy of a Samurai? Should Apple shareholders hand their stock directly over to Creative and concede the war is lost?

Cashing in wholeheartedly on the recent decision to award Creative a patent for a the navigation system used on the iPod, the Zen Vision:M looks and feels exactly like an iPod. The menu technology, that was reportedly developed by Creative back in 2001, was refined by Apple and is now co-opted by Creative again.

Divine justice or a cynical intellectual property land grab -- you decide. Either way it means that Creative's Zen Vision:M uses almost exactly the same interface as the iPod without the risk of litigation. This makes the player much easier to use and much easier to review.

The Creative Vision:M is considerably thicker than the new iPod video, but the video quality appears equivalent. We don't have an iPod video in the house to do a direct comparison yet, but we'll have those results in the full review. The absence of a Clickwheel makes the Vision:M a clumsier beast than the iPod video, but if you've been desperate to claw away from the land of Apple, this may be a serious alternative. Still not an iPod killer yet though. Come on people! This is the slowest moving MP3 player 'war' we've ever seen. The siege at Leningrad was less excruciating. -CS

Update: a full review of the Creative Zen Vision:M is now live.

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