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Creative ZiiO review: Creative ZiiO

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Creative ZiiO ports
The ZiiO has a full-sized SD card slot that can accept cards of up to 32GB in size.

Creative has heavily customised the Android operating system, adding a bar at the bottom that contains shortcuts to the browser, notepad and ZiiExplorer file browser, as well as the ZiiPhoto, ZiiMusic and ZiiVideo apps. These apps are pleasantly designed, with user interfaces that have been tweaked to look their best on the tablet's display.

Above the dock, there's a clickable arrow that calls up the app drawer. The whole system works reasonably well, but the fact that the Android buttons remain static at the bottom of the device, rather than moving location as you switch from portrait to landscape mode, is something of a design oversight.

No Android Market

Another problem is that you can't access the Android Market. Instead, you have to rely on Creative's ZiiO Space app store, which in reality is just a web interface that allows you to download APK files. It's poorly laid out, difficult to use and not that well stocked.

Resistive touchscreen

The biggest problem with the ZiiO, however, is the touchscreen. The screen's viewing angles are very tight, with the result that, if you tilt it slightly out of the sweet spot, you'll find it really difficult to read text.

The touchscreen also uses resistive rather than capacitive technology, so there's no support for multi-touch zooming, which we really missed, especially in the Web browser. Also, while the display is more sensitive than some other resistive screens we've used, it still feels sluggish when you're used to a good capacitive display. If you own a smart phone, the chances are you'll already be using a capacitive display.

The touch-sensitive buttons mounted beneath the display are also irritating. They're ridiculously contrary, sometimes working without any problems, and sometimes ignoring your input.

Conclusion

While the Creative ZiiO has some good points, its flaws make it difficult to recommend. The lack of support for the Android Market, poor screen and frustrating touch-sensitive buttons are difficult to stomach. The end result is that it's ultimately not much fun to use.

Edited by Charles Kloet 

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