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Creative Zen Vision:M--a second look

Creative Zen Vision:M--a second look

Before the upcoming full review, of course (here's our First Look). Our black one scratches a bit, though nowhere as much as the iPod--we recommend a nonblack model for scratch haters. The screen is outstandingly bright and colorful, as well as lovely from all viewing angles. Photos pop off the screen, and video is plentiful on our Media Center box; plus, Starz Vongo and others are coming. We're fond of the snappy performance and the excellent new touch pad, but we're sour when it comes to the USB/power/line-out adapter. Additional observations:

  • Headphones are OK (standard Creative)--you should definitely substitute these.
  • Screen completely darkens only when the device is in hold mode. If not in hold (and we think this is cool), the LCD dims when not in use.
  • Controller buttons can be a tad stiff for some; we think they will wear in nicely.
  • The thin buttons encrusted on the sides of the touch pad are brilliant, providing tactile control with little space.
  • Using in a sea of iPodders on the San Francisco Muni: refreshing and original.
  • Works near flawlessly with subscription services and Windows Media Player; will be a nice fit for upcoming Windows Media Player 11.
  • Solid-feeling in the hand, but it's nothing like the silver-backed 30GB iPod; it also transports well.
  • Would love Audible support--and why not OGG?
  • Recorder is good and useful.
  • Replaceable battery would have closed the deal for many.
  • Sound is nice. We've heard reports otherwise, but we're pretty impressed.
  • Custom key is great. We use it for volume, but we wish it could take us to EQ.
  • Software available for warping photographs and having them pulsate to the beat of a song.
  • Carrying case is kind of a joke (so is Apple's, but this one gets more style points).

    Come back for more. In the meantime, discuss your experiences with the Zen Vision:M, which we think (obviously) is a significant entry into the market.