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MP3 Players

Creative Zen Neeon 2: Neet beat

Creative has just launched a new version of the Zen Neeon with video playback and a CSTN colour screen. Unfortunately, it's not coming to the UK just yet

Sim Wong Hoo is not a Chinese phrase berating a mobile phone for breaking down, it's actually the name of the man behind Creative Technology. This Singapore-based company became famous for its Sound Blaster cards for PCs, but is also well known for its MP3 players.

One of its most popular music gadgets is the Creative Zen Neeon and there's now a second edition, aptly named the Creative Zen Neeon 2. The new version not only plays music, but offers video playback on a 38mm (1.5-inch) colour screen. Other improvements include a 4GB (rather than a 2GB) capacity and a slight reduction in size -- it's 5g lighter and 3.5mm thinner.

There's no denying that this device is pitched at the iPod nano market, due to its size and capacity. However, there are a few noticeable disadvantages to this device compared to Apple's. First off is its weight: the Neeon 2 claims to be light at 50g, but the nano only weighs 42g. Then there's the issue of depth: the Neeon is 12.5mm thin, while the nano is almost half that at 6.9mm thin.

But those are the only negatives. Unlike the nano, the Neeon 2 allows drag and drop, so you don't need to install any software to put music on it. It has an FM radio and a voice recorder and it will let you record off practically any device via a 3.5mm stereo jack cable. The battery life is also impressive at a quoted 20 hours playback time, compared to the nano's 14-hour life.

The Creative Zen Neeon 2 has just been launched in the US. We're not sure when it will make an appearance over here, but hopefully before Christmas. There are no details on pricing yet, but we'll keep you updated. -AL