Prizefight: iPod Nano vs. Creative Zen V PlusThe iPod Nano and the Zen V Plus are two mighty (and tiny) flash players! Who will come out on top?
[ music ] ^M00:00:07 >> Hello again everyone. Welcome to Prize Fight. I'm Veronica Belmont and today we have one of the most heavily requested match up in Prize Fight history. The iPod Nano versus the Creative Zen V Plus. I'd think that by now you people would be bored with all the Apple talk, but apparently you love it. Everyone wants to know how the Creative done against the perennial favorite the iPod. I'm revising my scoring a little bit now. It'll be harder to get a 5 these days and scores might be a little bit lower as a result. Let's get this match rolling with round one. Sexiness. I've always been a fan of the iPod's sleek design. I think it usually puts most other players to shame. It's decidedly taller than the Zen V, almost by about an inch and about half as thick as you can see here. The only controls on the front are built into the click wheel right here in the center and the scratch resistant finish is attractive and doesn't smudge with your fingers. The Zen isn't douty looking either. It fits comfortably in the hand and I like the rounded edges. Plus the players themselves are two toned like this one is pink and white which adds a little visual interest. Now the screens are the same size as well, 1.5 inches diagonally, which is okay considering their size. But I can see how some people would say that the Nano is awkward. At least to hold. For this round I have to say the odds are in the Nano's favor. It's pretty stylish so I'm going to give it a 4 and the Zen V gets a 3. Neither were perfect, but let's delve deeper into the experience of using these devices. Interface is next. The iPod and the Zen V Plus have a similar interface system, at least in terms of the menus. There are folders for viewing photos and videos on the Zen, but I didn't really see any kind of an advantage to that. It's just a different way of organizing things. Navigating through the menus is pretty easy on both, but I found the joystick in the center of the Zen V Plus to be a little stiff. The circle around it doesn't do anything either. The Nano has the typical iPod scroll wheel with the menu forward and back buttons like I said earlier, built right into it. The Zen has the forward, back, play, pause buttons all on the front and a combo hold switch and power switch here on the side. Volume controls are right here and you can change the orientation of the screen if you wanna use the layout horizontally. Now once again, the Nano wasn't perfect because I wish I had more control over the play lists and tracks, but I'm giving it a 4. The Zen didn't feel nearly as comfortable to me when I was actually using it and my thumb kind of cramped up when I was pushing the back button. Just a little too hard to push. I'm going to slap it with a 3. How with these tiny players do in round 3, features? This round is where the Zen V Plus really does some damage to the iPod Nano. It has photo and video playback, although video is a little tough to see on this tiny screen. But the option is nice and FM tuner with 32 presets, more than most car stereos by the way. Voice and line of recording and an alarm clock. Both players can be synced with Microsoft Outlook for calendars and contacts, although not if you're using the Nano on a Mac and there's a little more rigmarole to go through if you're using it on the Windows side as well. The V Plus also comes with software that lets you convert and transfer video files and they're very own podcast aggregator called Zen Cast. The iPod needs iTunes to organize music and download Podcast and you can only get iTunes online. Saves on packaging I suppose. And as a purely aesthetic touch, you can make photos the background of the Zen V Plus. Something I would love to do someday on the iPod. The poor iPod as usual gets trounced in the features round. I'm giving it a 3 and the Creative Zen V Plus a 5. Ouch, somewhere an Apple fan boy cries. The score is tied here at 11, up next is compatibility. Now this round is pretty important because if you're not running a machine with Windows XP or Vista on it, you might as well not bother with the Zen V Plus. While the iPod works on both Mac or PC running iTunes. I think it's time for the handy file format chart. They each play MP3, wave and audible files and both handle jpeg images for the photos. Now that's where the similarities end. The Zen V Plus plays WMA, including subscription and AVI natively. WMV and MPEG4 can be transcoded with the included software. The iPod Nano will also play AAC lossless, protected AAC and AIFF files. Okay, back from chart land. Now I think the flexibility is a little bit better with the Zen, but the Nano does let you use it on a Mac or a PC. You know what, both of these are really restrictive. I'm gonna give them both a 3. We've got one more round left and that's performance. We still have a tied match, so this is the deciding round. You're never going to get the best sound out of the included ear buds that come with these players, so we tested them using a pair of Ultimate Ears, my personal favorite. The Nano sounded okay, but the bass could have been a little more well, bassy. The Zen V Plus sounded a little better in that regard to me at least. As for the battery life, the Nano has come a long way since the first generation. They've almost doubled it to nearly 24 hours. As for the Zen, it lasted for over 20 hours, which was more than the rated 15 hours that Creative claimed. The one thing that drove me nuts on the Zen was how long it took everything to transfer over from my PC. Using iTunes to transfer music was a total breeze, but using Windows Media Player felt kinda sluggish and bloated on the Zen. For this final round, the Zen gets a 3 and the Nano gets a 4. We have a winner. The Nano brings it home today by one more point. But you have to consider what aspects are most important to you. If you really want those extra features, the Creative is a strong option. If you wanna send in suggestions for a future show or send along some feedback to me, you can write in at PrizeFight@CNET.com. Thanks for watching, I'll see ya next time. ^M00:05:42 [ music ]