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MP3 Players

Hands-on with Creative Zen Stone: Pure cuteness

The new Zen Stone is Creative's obvious attempt to kill the iPod Shuffle. We've got our hands on one in the office and present to you, dear Cravers, our thoughts and feelings

We've been looking forward to getting the Zen Stone -- Creative's remarkably iPod Shuffle-like answer to the iPod Shuffle -- in our freshly washed, gadget-loving hands. And now we have. It really is as cute as a button. With pigtails. It's slightly larger than the Shuffle, but elegant with it. It feels like one of those lickably smooth pebbles you skim across the water in the Lake District.

The buttons are smooth too, and easy to press. One large difference is that it doesn't have a clip for your lapel. The Shuffle is easy to clip to your shirt or backpack strap, but the Zen Stone will need to reside in your pocket. There's no real downside here except it's more likely than any other player to fly out of your pocket during a run.

However, during a run is the ideal time to use this new player. Creative pitches it not as a replacement for your existing MP3 player, but as an alternative device to use while working out, performing covert military operations or participating in endurance spectacles that involve being upside down for extended periods of time.

At a mere £28 the Zen Stone is ideal, we think, for festival-goers too. We didn't want to take our 60GB iPod to Leeds festival last year because it's nothing but fodder for thieves and dirty rotten scumbags. Had the cheap-as-chips Zen Stone been around last August, we would've loved to have taken it instead.

The 1GB Zen Stone is on sale now for £27.99 and comes in an array of vivid colours. Look for CNET.co.uk's full review in the next few days. -Nate Lanxon