Creative Zen Stone with Speaker review: Creative Zen Stone with Speaker

CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good

Average User Rating

2 stars 1 user review
Review Date:
Updated on:

The Good Sound quality (through headphones); price; easy to use; battery life.

The Bad Speaker has limited applications; few audio formats supported.

The Bottom Line The built-in speaker may have few real-life applications, but it makes room for a more capacious battery, and it takes nothing away. For that reason, and because of its tiny price, we can't help but think this is a stunning alternative the iPod shuffle

Editors' Top PicksSee All

Creative's Zen Stone got a decent write-up from us when we saw it last May, but it's back in 2008 with a teeny speaker built in to its iPod shuffle-bashing internal cavity. Is this what the shuffle was missing, or was it absent for good reason?

Design
The Zen Stone looks more like a pebble than a chunk of stone, and Creative has done away with the gloss that coated the normal Stone, instead opting for a gorgeous matte finish. Aesthetically, it's identical to its speaker-less brother, but it's now 3mm deeper with that internal speaker.


The Zen Stone now features a speaker on the back, which teenagers on the bus are going to love

There's no screen, so navigation requires patient reliance on the player's ability to play appropriate songs for your mood. You skip through your little 1GB or 2GB collection of audible treats with four-way controls that are as pleasant to use as something of this size could be. Unlike the shuffle, there's no built-in clip, although a silicon case comes in the box as standard and includes a clip.

Features
Thanks to its ludicrously low price, the Stone's main feature is its distinct lack of features. It's a simple player that does a simple job -- playing music. There are no equaliser options, no playlists, no quirky extras. This really can be a positive thing, though. If you're after something where you can just hit play and forget about it, this diminutive little contraption may be for you.

Supported music formats are MP3 and WMA, plus protected WMA. Sadly, there's no love shown for DRM-free iTunes Plus downloads -- unlike the Zen Stone Plus with Speaker -- and Audible downloads are not supported, unlike the iPod shuffle. Still, songs can be added using drag and drop through Windows, or by using Windows Media Player, so that's something.

A little switch on the top of the player lets you shuffle the playback of songs or repeat them all in a pleasant continuous loop. The 'folder skip' button jumps to the next folder of music stored on the Stone, so if you don't want to hear an album you don't need to skip through all of its tracks to reach the next.

Editors' Top PicksSee All

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Where to Buy

Creative Zen Stone with Speaker

Part Number: CNETCreative Zen Stone with Speaker

Typical Price: £30.00

See manufacturer website for availability.