Date: October 11th, 2005
Article by: Zhenya Semikhodski
Edited by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
<--SHOP FOR A ZEN VISION 30GB PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER IN NORTH AMERICA <--SHOP FOR A ZEN VISION 30GB PORTABLE MEDIA PLAYER IN EUROPE
PRODUCT HARDWARE WALKTHROUGH & PICTORIAL (cont'd)
Opening this rubber flap reveals the power source connector and the A/V out. The A/V out is a standard RCA connection that plugs directly into your TV or A/V Receiver. This functionality will be looked at later in the review, so bare with me.
Starting from left to right we can see the microphone, the power/hold switch and the volume buttons. The power/hold switch is a switch that you can slide (to the right) to turn the player on or off and slide to the left to lock the player's buttons. Your first thought may be that if the player is locked and the switch is in the locked position, won't pushing the switch towards the right (off position) might switch the player off instead of just unlocking the buttons? This isn't the case because to turn the player off you have to hold the switch in the off position for a bit in order for it to switch off. Personally, after quite some use I haven't had any problems at all. In fact, I think this is quite an intuitive use of buttons that has been executed flawlessly by Creative, yet again.
Finally, the left side of the player houses perhaps one of the best features of this device. A full featured Compact Flash slot that accepts both Type I and Type II storage media. This is not all, if you were to purchase the 5 in 1 Compact Flash Adapter accessory (yet again, it's available separately) you can use it to connect other media such as SD, MMC, xD, Memory Sticks and TransFlash.
Unfortunately I don't have any Compact Flash storage media yet, (Sony Memory Sticks seem to rule the roost in my household, meaning I'll definitely be buying that adapter) so I cannot take pictures of that but above is a very good one by Creative themselves showing a Compact Flash card inserted.
Shown above are the player controls. From top to bottom we see the IR wireless remote receiver followed by the Back and Options buttons. Then the control pad with the OK or select button in the middle. Then you have the standard Play and Fast Forward/Rewind (these also function as skip forward and backward buttons). Finally right at the bottom is the speaker. The performance of the speaker is adequate for something that small but I did find I had to turn up the volume to the max to hear a decent output. Don't expect it to produce heavy bass or be of amazing quality. Trust me, unless you want a train carriage full of annoyed passengers you're going to be using headphones all the time. Having said this, the speaker is quite good for what it is. Imagine laptop speakers, flat sound, and no bass. At least this one doesn't have distortion at full volume, mind you, if there's any loud noises (such as on a train or in a car) this speaker will soon become swamped and inaudible even at full volume.
The back of the player has the Zen logo. It is a 3D ripple effect and the back of the player is actually the battery itself. To save space and cut down the size instead of having the battery concealed inside the player with a lid Creative opted for making the battery part of the design. The black button you see there is the release button for the battery. Pushing that and sliding out the battery can be quite tricky at first because you're trying to hold the entire player without touching the screen while removing the battery. A few tries and you'll soon master it. The battery is quite a tight fit and at times if it weren't for the metal casing I would be convinced that I would snap the player in half when putting the battery back on.
As you can see it is a very thin 3.7V 1.65Ah Lithium-Ion Polymer battery made in Korea . Lithium-Ion Polymer batteries can be manufactured to a much thinner profile than standard Lithium-Ion batteries, which is what was required here. Creative specifies that the standard battery can provide up to 13 hours audio playback and up to 4.5 hours video playback. You can purchase extra standard batteries or you can buy the extended battery. The difference between the standard battery and the extended battery is that the extended battery provides (according to Creative) an impressive 26 hours of audio playback and up to 9 hours of video playback, however, this does come at a cost since the extended battery pack is bigger and will make the player bigger but by not all that much – a mere 0.16”. It will also cost you in weight (again, by not much) and, most importantly of all, the extended battery pack is almost twice the price of the standard size. I must say, I am impressed by Creative's move to offer two battery sizes. You can either purchase more standard battery sizes or you can simply buy the extended battery packs and bring those on holiday with you and only use the standard size when you don't need the extra running time. You may ask, however, why they didn't just do away with the standard battery pack altogether and simply use the extended battery pack. Well, for one thing, the extended battery pack, being bigger, may not be as aesthetically pleasing as the standard thinner battery pack (since the extended battery pack, being bigger, would stick out and will not be flush with the player's casing) but most importantly Creative thinks that you'll yearn to get your hands on an extended battery pack therefore for the extra running time it offers and Creative can therefore make even more money off you. Clever, huh? Battery packs are available in both black and white to suit your Zen Vision color.
Here is a photograph comparing the Zen Vision to the iRiver H-340 (far left), the Sony Ericsson S700i mobile phone (right of the Zen Vision player) and finally the legendary Creative NOMAD Jukebox 3 (far right). As you can see the Zen Vision is a decent size player accommodating a large screen and all that goodness inside while still keeping up a slim form factor.