Monday, August 08, 2005

Creative vision?

A couple of interesting new portable media players on the way from Creative (the nearest thing Apple had to a competitor in the MP3 player market until Sony belatedly got its act together with the NW-HD5).

First up, the Zen Vision, which aims to right the wrongs of the Zen Portable Media Center (PMC) and get a decent portable video player to market before Apple's announces a video iPod (although you could argue Sony has already beaten them both to it with the PSP).

The first thing Creative had to address was the brick-like weight and dimensions of the PMC. The Vision is not only smaller across every axis it is also 100 grams lighter. In terms of technical spec, the Vision offers double the screen resolution (640x480 pixels) and 10GB more hard disk space than the PMC. It's also extended its video format support beyond Microsoft to include MPEG and thrown in an FM radio for good measure. Unsurprisingly, the trade off for the sleeker dimensions and new functionality is a shorter battery life (4.5 hours of MPEG video playback versus the PMC's 7 hours). It's only available in the US at the moment so haven't been able to get my mitts on one yet.

Creative's other new player is aimed squarely at dethroning the daddy of them all: the iPod. Fractionally smaller, fractionally lighter and fractionally cheaper than its ubiquitous rival, the Zen Sleek boasts a 20GB hard disk, Windows Media playback and an FM radio and its looks, well, kinda sleek. Like the Creative Zen Micro only less cuddly. Inevitably it's no iPod killer but it certainly deserves a decent slice of the MP3 player market pie.

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