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Creative Zen Stone review: Creative Zen Stone

Typical Price: £28.00
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The Good Price; sound quality; size.

The Bad No screen; short-ish battery life; lack of clip.

The Bottom Line For the price, the Zen Stone is a killer MP3 player with great audio quality. Its tiny size and minimal features make it perfect for people who want a second player, for when they don't need their entire music library with them

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6.5 Overall

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Creative's Zen Stone is an 'us too!' attempt to knock Apple's iPod Shuffle from the throne of teeny MP3 king. At just over £25, it's half the price of the Shuffle, but is it too cheap to be any good?

Update: Read our review of the new Creative Zen Stone with Speaker.

The Zen Stone looks more like a pebble than a chunk of stone, and the glossy finish is identical to that used on Creative's Zen V Plus. It's absolutely tiny, although marginally larger and heavier than the Shuffle at 13mm thick and weighing 19g.

There's no screen, which means navigation requires patient reliance on the player's ability to play appropriate songs for your mood. You skip through your little 1GB collection of audible treats with four-way controls that are as pleasant to use as something of this size could be. Unlike the Shuffle, there's no clip, although there is a hole for a lanyard.

Small and sleek: the glossy Zen Stone is attractively curvaceous

Thanks to its ludicrously low price, the Stone's main feature is its distinct lack of features. It's a simple player that does a simple job -- playing music. There are no equaliser options, no playlists, no quirky extras. This really can be a positive thing, though. If you're after something where you can just hit play and forget about it, this diminutive little contraption may be for you.

Supported music formats are MP3 and WMA, although copy-protected music files from online music stores are not supported. Like Creative's other players, the Stone will play Audible content. Audible is a popular online retailer of audiobooks, but they're delivered in a format compatible only with certain portable players.

Songs can be added using drag and drop in Windows, or by using Windows Media Player.

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