Portable Media Centres – the Zen Way

For the past week I’ve been playing around with a new toy, a Creative Zen Portable Media Centre. I hadn’t bought an iPod, the amount of music I normally listen to in any journey easily fits onto one or two CDs so did not see the need – and I don’t jog so a jog-free system was not important. But in this case, the ability to carry a lot of my other media in the one package attracted me.

I first saw it at a local Advertising/NewMedia conference and had been looking out for one since. In this case I had picked it up in Singapore so if I get an issue with it returning it to the vendor may be a wee problem. Especially as when I first plugged it in, the batttery light did not want to show – so there was no indication it was charging.

The first thing that went on it were all the holiday photos – great for taking into work and showing friends and colleagues. Far more easier for me than getting photos printed; I;ve still got films that are 5 years plus old, for some reason never something that I get round to, so digital is far easier. Next were some videos I had on the PC, to check for quality and then finally, a variety of MP3 downloads – mainly podcasts. Everythings works great so far with some minor problems.

  • The screen is far too shiny, so looking at in any kind of glare is a problem – plus it quickly picks up many curious fingerprints.
  • One of the earlier problems noted in reviews about lack of stand has been rectified, partly, through a case with a hard cover that acts as a stand – but does not offer enough positions to anchor in it on anything but the flattest of surfaces.
  • The menu and categorisation can sometimes get confusings – at time seem to go round and round the choices instead of up and down the directory. This will go with time and practice.
  • Interface to WMP10 works well; the only little issue I had was accidently shutting down the PC whilst still connected seems to freeze the software. Only removing the battery got it working again.
  • the volume resets it self to 0 when switching between headphones and speaker – very annoying habit

So far though, I’m loving it. Next wish – a remote control on the headphone cord. The connection point is there, just can’t find the device.

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