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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Mobile

Damn near perfect...

Damn near perfect...

When I first saw the Creative Zen Portable Media Center at CES 2004, I was pretty excited. Of course, my excitement was tempered by some glaring drawbacks in the device's design. Not to malign the good folks up in Redmond, but many of the shortcomings in Creative's first PMC could be laid squarely at the feet of the Windows Mobile operating system that Creative used. Nevertheless, I still managed to find the device useful; that 20GB hard drive held most of my digital music, and its battery life was amazing. I didn't even mind how huge it was.

With change being the only constant in life, Creative's latest Personal Video Player (PVP), the Zen Vision, abandons the Windows Mobile OS and uses a proprietary OS that gives Creative more freedom to customize the device according to the kinds of things that users like. And since getting my hands on one a week or so ago, it's safe to say that I'm in love with it. Because it's not a Windows-based product, it has support for a plethora of audio and video formats, is actually pocketable, boasts a 30GB hard drive, and like the Palm Life Drive, has the ability to sync with your Outlook PIM data. While the preproduction software that I'm using has a few wrinkles to be ironed out, I can't wait to get my hands on the final device.