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  #1  
Old 12-11-2009, 08:08 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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Default Zen Vision M to Zen XFi2 convert/ XFi2 Impressions/review.

So my XFi2 16GB came in today afternoon.

I'm not posing an in-depth impression/review for the moment.

I'll start off with the packaging...the player came in a heavy plastic packaging...better get a cutter/pen-knife to remove it from the bottom...& be careful! I almost cut my fingers off while removing the plastic film.

Seriously Creative(other companies also) could do much better than using such hard plastic!

The player looks great. The looks department it's a real head turner. Maybe it's just me I totally dig black/silver combination.

But the text engraving at the bottom is soo cheap! It's perhaps the cheapest engraving I've seen ever...the engraving is nothing compared to the Zune or even the old gen iPod mini!


The included USB cable is ridiculous it's not even 10 cm's long maybe 5-7 cms. How can one manage to connect the player to a computer is beyond my thinking ability.

Creative botched up BIG time on giving such a ridiculously small cable!

Luckily the USB cable of the Vision:M connects perfectly fine to it. So I'll look this one off no problem.


There is no driver CD or manual CD. There's just a quick start guide inside with the EP-630 in-ear phones.

Why they chose EP-630 when they've made a new model EP-840 is beyond me, again! Anyway forget that EP-630 do sound fantastic I already own a pair of them.

The transfer speed when doing file/music transfers is seriously pathetic.

For the player it's 3.10 MB/sec maximum fluctuates between 3.01 - 3.10 MB/sec when transferring stuff.

For the microSD card. I tried a Sandisk basic 2GB Card it goes 3.40MB/sec - 3.89MB/sec

microSD slot has a greater transfer speed than the player! Makes me think Creative is using real cheap NAND Flash for such slow transfer rate!

Firmware upgrading was easy as pie. Just connected the player, double-clicked the Firmware downloaded file it did it's job...no restart nothing. Two thumbs up for that!

I use WMP for transferring music & I'm like wow! This player is an EPIC FAILURE for Album Art support.

All the Album Art which shows up in WMP won't show up in this player.

The only way this damn thing will show the Album Art is if it's embedded in the ID3 tags.

eg. like iTunes embeds it for iPods.

I used winamp even for embedding Album Art...it won't load it through that.

Then finally I gave that stupid iTunes which I hate like no other a shot.

You know what it worked! I just dragged & dropped a music file from the player to iTunes then opened the files properties & pasted a cover art. Then saw it in the player it was showing it!

Go FIGURE! This damn thing is iTunes dependent! If I needed that I would've gotten a freakin iPod nano.

I know for sure there would be a program for adding album art in ID3 tags.

Anyone have any good suggestions for adding album art programs? Thanks.

FLAC support is pointless. If you put in the same file/album in mp3/FLAC this thing is lost...it only shows the MP3 files.

It does play FLAC files though but it didn't play my Linkin Park FLAC files which is at 48 KHz instead off 44 KHz. So it can only play 44 KHz FLAC files.

I don't use AAC but it did play it fine for testing purposes.

Videos XVID/Divx5 upto 640x480 res. & 968 kbps bitrate it plays fine.

But for some reason I tried copy of G.I. Joe obtained through *cough*

Here's the info of that G.I. Joe, rip -

ViDEO:.....: XviD 709 kb/s/2,353 aspect ratio/23,976 frames per sec/ 640x272 res.
AuDIO:.....: Mp3 112 kb/s/2 chnls/CBR/44100 Hz

This can't play this file...it plays but its jittery for some weird reason.

TV-Out worked with some old cables of mine just make sure your TV-out cable has a 3.5mm connector & Your good to go.

But it's pointless, you can't Strech the video to full screen on your TV like you can for the Vision:M

And the player's screen is always on when you've connected it to TV-out, Vision:M used to shut it's screen off.

This will be a classic battery drainer.

TV-Out is also Fail then.

I'll be stopping for now but one quick thing,

If you've used iPhone or iTouch or any other capacitive touchscreen device this thing is not for you.

I don't own any iPod's my brother has a iPhone though I tinker with it occasionally.

The touch-screen on this player is miserable. I know it's resistive but Creative should've supplied a stylus pen I wouldn't mind using it!!!

Anyway the touch-screen has a real big learing curve you have to be very slow while scrolling it's like how you drag n' drop files in windows...have to be precise.

Even when you know you've got a hang off it...after a couple off hours you'll be disappointed again.

But the Touch Screen is not that bad either still you need 2 hands to control this player you can't JUST CAN'T control it with 1 hand or 1 tap, you have to drag n' drop!

If you can do that then great or you'll have to get used to it like me hehe.

One last thing,

When your adding files to the Now Playing list from an album.

In the Vision:M if you selected Track 1 & then Track 4 & then Track 2 for an album.

The Vision:M plays it in the order you selected i.e Track 1, Track 4 & Track 2.

But this thing plays it in Track order instead of selected order, i.e Track 1, Track 2, Track 4.

In short if you select Track 4 before 2 it won't play Track 4 first it'll play Track 2 first!

Wow that's an EPIC FAILURE! It made me wanna throw this thing on the wall! I guess you'll have to make playlists then for your album order but you can't manage to do that on the player.

Yes you can make/delete playlists on the player but it's pointless it'll do the same thing in Track order. That sucks big time!

So my BIG 2 Gripes with this player is that problem & the Album Art problem.

Those 2 are real downers for me. I can get used to the Touch Screen I suppose.

Why Creative didn't make this device a MTP one is beyond me! I mean no one owning a Mac will get this player as far as I know.

This player not being MTP is perhaps the only reason for the Album Art screw up.

The players screen seems to be off glass or very hard plastic. It hasn't scratched it's been in my pocket but the screen is doing great so its the back plate.

All in All, I'm very disappointed in Creative for making such a shoddy product.

I was one of the guys who supported them through the whole Sound Blaster driver fiasco & always had a soft corner for their products but they're treating their consumers like guinea pigs now. I'm afraid I can't take that.

Still I haven't given up on this player, the new firmware puts in a new theme with colored icons & it looks fantastic.

Forgot about the sound quality -

Sound isn't that bassy it's pretty warm with a treble sound.

With X-Fi off, Vision:M beats it in sound quality but by just a slight bit.

With X-Fi on this player sounds FANTASTIC! There's no distortion whatsoever...I Tried even some cheap Sennheiser MX360 ear buds they didn't sound this good!

My X-Fi setting is, Crystalizer 5-10%, Expander 40-45%.

The player is loud enough but with X-Fi off it isn't that loud. Max. vol is off 25.

That's all I can come up with for now.

Thanks for reading, I'll be posting some more views. If y'all have any questions ask away. I'll be glad to help.
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  #2  
Old 12-11-2009, 10:41 PM
Maudit Maudit is offline
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I'll Agree on the album art deal, I've tried mediamonkey, WMP, even adding a jpeg with the name folder or cover in the same folder, it just randomly displays album art when it wants to...
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  #3  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:49 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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It picks up album art if you put it in iTunes.

I even dragged & dropped album art in WMP11 still it doesn't pick it only iTunes one's it picks up for some weird reason.

I'm tinkering with it once again & the touchscreen is becoming responsive for some reason or the other being able to control it through 1 hand now lol. I guess like I said touchscreen will take some getting used too.

Rest of the problems presist though!

It's good it picks up USB chargers...I put in my Motorola RAZR USB charger & it charges like a charm through that.

And no it hasn't crashed for the past 10 hours now. I've used it for a while in the past 10 hours no crash. I haven't added anything to the player either. I'll add some more stuff again & see if it crashes. If it does crash after adding new stuff then I suppose the Firmware/OS is buggy.
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  #4  
Old 12-11-2009, 11:55 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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One thing I wanna add is about the memory card. Everytime you close the microSD option & launch it back again it always asks to rebuild microSD library!

It takes only 2 seconds for that but still it asking everytime to rebuild is annoying!
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  #5  
Old 12-12-2009, 01:39 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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I must say I've started liking this player much more now.

My 2 gripes of Album Art/ Song selecting are fixed.

Song Selecting I just do this now -

For an album I select Track 1 then Track 4 & press select, then again select Track 2 & Yes.

So song selecting is fixed.

Album Art I've also fixed in WMP...

Firstly I use winamp to make the album art the size off 500x500 pixels. Winamp automatically creates a jpeg in the album directory on your hard-drive.

Just drag n' drop this jpeg on the album art showing in WMP, then transfer it to the player.

It picks it up!

Touch Screen is still annoying though.

I don't have nails I get them done every week...you need pretty thin fingers or a grown nail to control the volume to be perfect. eg. I can't manage to keep it 23 then 22 goes to 20, 18.

I dug up my old drawers found a Sony Ericsson P800 stylus. I'm using that stylus to control this player & it's extremely precise & perfect!

So for anyone if touchscreen is a concern get a pointed edge stylus it'll work as a charm.

I won't blame the player for the touch-screen mishap...I knew it was a resistive touch-screen & those things are pretty hard to control via fingers.

Note made to self always buy capacitive touch screen players in the future!

Sound Quality of this thing is amazing! Just flat-out amazing even with X-Fi turned off.

I'll take my words back...the sound quality is about the same as the Vision:M in loudness as well with X-Fi off. With X-Fi on it gets even louder & has 0 distortion on EP-630 IEM's on peak volume.

I ripped my old CD, Bon Jovi - Cross Road - Always. Ripped it in FLAC, mp3 320 kbps & mp3 128 kbps.

Even at mp3 128k it has no distortion at max. volume, well there's a slight bit difference if you compare it to FLAC but distortion I can't hear any!

Good new's is also that it hasn't crashed on me for a day now.

So all in all I'm pretty satisfied for the moment after figuring out all it's perks.

There's still room for improvement though at other areas, I don't think the touchscreen can be improved anymore. This being a resistive one a stylus is a must for precise control.
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  #6  
Old 12-13-2009, 01:01 AM
Maudit Maudit is offline
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Why should I go through all the WMP album art fix when ALL my rips/download have album art already in them? Foobar and even WMP displays it perfectly, why can't this player? My girlfriends Zune sure can, my old ZV:M sure can...




Could you explain this part "Just drag n' drop this jpeg on the album art showing in WMP, then transfer it to the player "?
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  #7  
Old 12-13-2009, 02:15 AM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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Ok...

In WMP 11 which I use in the library view there is a "CD style photo consisting off the album art" next to it is the song name, duration etc.

So just drag n' drop the albums picture on this...even though WMP is still displaying it still drag n' drop, then the player picks it up.

I'm doing this though -

I just installed iTunes for this player...

I drag n' drop the files from the player in iTunes then go to the files properties & paste the artwork.

The player picks it up. I prefer the iTunes method more than WMP one. That WMP can botch up your album art on the computer also at times.

With iTunes I can assign a different artwork to any song. It's not restricted to an album.

That's nice.

Wanna post more views on this player will do later on.

Just wanna add, the sound quality(I'll explain it in-depth in the coming post) is just Fantastic & get a stylus.

Videos it picks up Xvid & Divx 5 vids upto 1.5 Mb bitrate @ 740x368 maximum. It lags at bit with the videos at a resolution greater than 640x480. It picks it up though & plays it albeit with the occasional skipped frames.
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  #8  
Old 12-13-2009, 08:58 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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I'll take my words off putting different artwork for different songs back. Apparently that does not work.

You can put in artwork for an album folder though which is what's done normally.

This is my step by step procedure -

1. Get the album artwork picture (This should be 500x500 in size if this is larger than this follow step 2 or go to Step 3.)

2.Take any audio file place it in a folder eg. Desktop>NewFolder>Audiofile. Drag n' drop this file in Winamp now playing list. Right click on it select View info & paste your downloaded artwork. Winamp will automatically make/resize your artwork to 500x500 & place it in "New Folder" or where your audio file exists.

3.Open iTunes. Drag n' Drop the Album from the ZenXFi2 in iTunes. Select the entire album, right click & select Get Info. Check the Artwork box & right click in it & paste your file. Press Ok.

It's done.

Important Note - You need the artwork image saved on your computer's hard-drive in jpeg format. If you just "copy" an image from a website & select paste in iTunes, even though it will show in Windows Explorer that it's saved the Album art, the player won't!

If you use large image files, 800KB/800x600 resolution one's iTunes will add them without resizing! So the file size will also increase in your player & chances are it won't display it.

So I would recommend going the Winamp + iTunes route.

If you already find images in 500x500 (many of them are readily available by just a bing image search) then no need to use Winamp.

Hope this helps everyone having album art issues.
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  #9  
Old 12-14-2009, 09:25 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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So just trying various videos on this player. Gotta admit with the others it's a hit & miss! Make it a Massive Miss!

My thoughts on video playback -

It plays Xvid / Divx 5 vids (these are the only file types I have which the player supports & can convert for it).

It plays converted videos perfectly fine!

I use Xvid as the encoder, 480x272 resolution, 480 kbps bitrate, 96 kbps mp3 48kHz audio.

Plays these videos perfectly no lag no hiccups. 480x272 though doesn't fit on the screen fully there is a barely noticeable black border at the top & bottom.

Normal Xvid files obtained though t*****s are a Massive Miss at times.

The player supports Xvid/Divx 5 files upto 740x368 resolution at 1.4 Mbps, 192 kbps CBR 48kHz mp3. I can confirm that.

But there are hiccups -

The Hiccups occur only during fast paced scenes though when the camera moves way to fast.

These hiccups occur also for videos with 640x272 resolution @ 768 kbps!

It depends on the video you watch for TV shows, Big Bang Theory, Two & a Half Men, Nip/Tuck It plays them fine.

Action shows & movies Smallville, I tesed these movies (The Tournament, Staten Island, Pandorum).

There is massive lag in between scenes! At times the lag is so bad the picture freezes for 10-15 seconds but the audio keeps on going.

Then the picture starts moving again but the audio goes out of sync. Then after 1 min. it starts going again.

This makes me to think that there's a very LOW power CPU under it's hood! Maybe it's the same CPU of the old Flash based "ZEN". I can't confirm this though.

But then again if I fast forward in between scenes the player is quick to fast forward the scenes...there is virtually no lag maybe 1 second maximum!

So it could be a bug which needs to be sorted out! But since it's a flash based player the fast forwarding is fast compared to Vision:M's hdd.

I seriously hope this video playback gets sorted out or this player won't be that good a purchase after-all.

1 MAJOR Downer I came across (If y'all run into this let me know) -

I watched 2 movies, Staten Island & Pandorum.

Staten Island was 1hr.34 mins. Pandorum 1hr.57 mins.

But after watching Staten Island fully (didn't see the credits so make it 1hr. 26mins) at the volume off 20 with X-Fi & other audio enchancements turned off. Screen brightness at default 50.

Then while watching Pandorum upto 55 mins. the player started giving that annoying low battery pop-up!

I saw the battery indicator was on it's final green slot.

That's a shame it start's giving batt. low error so soon. It's SERIOUSLY annoying to the point you can't enjoy your movie anymore.

Vision:M did that only when the battery was on the red indicator i.e next to empty.

Still I kept on going & the player shut off at 1hr 06mins for pandorum.

My player was fully charged before watching these 2 movies. I just heard 1 or 2 songs at 192 & 320 kbps mp3 for 3-4 times before starting the movies.

So all in all make it I saw 170 mins of video at 20 volume with everything else at default.

That makes it roughly 2 hours 15 mins!

So battery life off only 2 hours 30 mins. for videos sucks WAY too much compared to the quoted 5 hours!

Vision:M to this day gives me 4 hr 30 mins of video playback on full charge! for any video it supports bitrate doesn't matter!

Anyone else face these battery issues?
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  #10  
Old 12-15-2009, 08:32 PM
Maudit Maudit is offline
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Odd. you should try the sames settings with xfi disabled, I really can't say but I watched 2-3 episodes of the big bang theory so around 60 minutes and player didn't get to half of battery. Although I did have crytalizer on 10% and expander off.

+1 for the hiccups, BUT i think they can be easily resolved, we just need to figure out whether or not this player is massively underpower or not.
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  #11  
Old 12-16-2009, 01:52 AM
ThievingSix ThievingSix is offline
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I've had 0 problems listed on this forum with this player. I don't care about the album art, I care about listening to the music(that's what is important right?). However, the art works fine for me, using the supplied software that comes ON THE PLAYER. The setup file is in the player(the instruction manual says so).

I do my own video converting and think the TV-Out quality is great. That's the one qualm I have with the supplied software. The touch screen works just fine after the firmware updates(which are easy to apply), while not as good as the iPod it's cheaper because of that.

Sound quality out of the supplied headphones and internal speaker are great in my opinion.

The easy ability to create your own applications is the biggest plus to me. Same with the battery life even while playing videos. With XFi off and backlight(!!) to a lower setting I get more than 5 hours with the TV-Out feature.
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  #12  
Old 12-16-2009, 10:25 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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Well I don't know now I haven't charged the player in 2 days now & watched the "WWE TLC PPV" on it for about an hour heard some music for 3-4 hours. The battery is still showing half left now!

I guess then the battery issue is fixed on my end!

I use X-Fi occasionally for my favorite tracks some of them do sound great with it.

Xvid videos off these rippers "FxM, FXG, DoNE" are a massive miss. They just don't play even if they do they lag big time.

Suprisingly these rippers "Extrascene RG, BestDivx, TV Shows eztv play like a charm! Tried this movie 88 minutes that had a resolution off 704x288. It plays this movie just perfectly. The seek times when fast fowarding are just fantastic! It's instant like on the PC.

The feature by far which I like the most which they have retained from the Vision:M is the ability to "hide" particular folders. You can Password protect them & they will get hidden.

This comes in help big time when you wanna watch some *stuff* at times. lol

TV-Out is nice but I don't see the option to strech 16:9 videos to a 4:3 screen. It displays with black bars. That's my only gripe. Other than that TV-Out is perfect.


Touch Screen still I can't control with my fingers I can go through the menus rather easily now but increasing volume level to say 20 or 22 takes some work with the finger it shoots up to 25 or sits at 19 for me.

So I'm using a stylus for precise control. Not a big deal.


I did a side by side sound loudness check with the Vision:M today.

For now it seems the maximum volume is low compared to the Vision:M.

XFi2's max. volume 25 is comparable too Vision:M's volume at 23 or 22.

Of course if you turn on the X-Fi it blows your ears away but I tested everything at default with no EQ or Bass Boost or anything.

I tested on a pair off Sennheiser MX460, MX760, Creative EP-630 & EP-480 phones.

Backlight I've kept it on 35 now. Gotta admit this thing is freaking super bright at 50%. It's like the 100% brightness off the Vision:M at 50%!

I compared the brightness with my brothers iPhone 3G that was at 75% still the XFi2 at 50% seemed 20% brighter than the iPhone 3G!

That's great.

The screen goes grainy though when watching movies with "dark scenes" the blacks are all fussed up mostly. Well can't complain on that I knew the specs were 262k color screen, well it really isn't that bad for a 262k screen. Can't even tell a difference most of the time in between the colors compared with the iPhone 3G.

I'll go on again about the Sound Quality it's just freaking amazing definitely clearer than the Vision:M at peak volume even with XFi turned on. at 22-23 volume it sounds about the same like the Vision:M. At max.25 with X-Fi tuned it just blows you away!

Linkin Park, The Rasmus they never sounded this good! I heard one of the live albums & had instant flashback of the concert I had been too...it sounded that clear.

All in all to sum things up. I'm satisfied with my purchase. Glad I went with Creative again. Just hope all the minor hiccups & a couple of more features (vertical menu orientation anyone?) are solved/added in the future firmware updates.
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  #13  
Old 12-20-2009, 02:03 AM
BattleBrat BattleBrat is offline
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Default In order to have coverart!

In order to have coverart, you should use this program from Iriver called Plus 3, You can download it from their website, I'm having trouble downloading it now though. Last time I checked Plus 3 doesn't support AAC. But I used this program to apply coverart for my Zen Vision (640X480 native resolution screen bitch!) And it works WONDERFULLY! I'm working on getting my hands on a X-Fi 2 asap, I'm also working to get my hands on a Sony X-1000, I'm CRAZY about getting the best audio quality from my PMP's With modern smartphones you don't need an mp3 player with Wifi and all that crap, it just takes away from the sound quality.
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  #14  
Old 12-20-2009, 01:14 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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I use cu-cu-soft Video converter selecting encoder as Xvid @ 480x272 resolution @ 480 kbps bitrate. Audio I use mp3 96kbps. It works perfectly. I converted the "Family Guy" rip since it had AC3 audio. It played it perfectly fine.

Also the seek times while Fast forwarding videos are Fantastic, virtually no lag!


Audio quality is just flat out amazing as I said! This is perhaps the best sounding player I ever put my ears on.

All the best with your XFi2, let us know how it goes!
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  #15  
Old 01-04-2010, 01:11 AM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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Regarding the X-Fi sound enhancement,

I have it in between 35-40% for the Crystallizer & Expander.

For me it sounds great at those settings for mostly Acoustic/Blues/Classical songs.

Doesn't sound all that great for heavy metal.

Then again Pop/Rock a bit off Hip-Hop also sound great if they're at 128 kbps with X-Fi on.

Anything more than 40% in X-Fi distorts the sound...maybe I need some better quality EarBuds.

The EarBuds I used are, Sennheiser MX460, 760. Creative EP-630. SoundMagic PL-11 & Creative EP-480 (My Hidden Gem of EarBuds highly under-rated!).

Everyone has different music tastes so you're better off with different X-Fi settings which suit your style.

On the whole X-Fi on sounds great but it distorts some tracks (makes them sound hollowish & with less bass mainly heavy metal).
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  #16  
Old 01-05-2010, 09:51 AM
moosejoose moosejoose is offline
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Slpwly but surely if tehy don't fix teh movie on the player or to av out .. it doesnt make teh player worth it. My vivion m gave me no issues download movie transfer movie watch on t'v ... no special wires no convert video to special settings ..overall i ahvd teh 32 gig one and i really cant justify the 340$ im into it over all!!! If tehy fix teh movie issues it would be a great player1
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  #17  
Old 01-05-2010, 10:45 PM
skybluedream skybluedream is offline
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Well I surely hope they fix the movie issues sooner or later. I myself paid around $180 for the 16 giger. I wanted to go for the 32 gig myself but it was beyond my budget at the time.

Yeah my Vision:M played still plays Xvid's perfectly fine but I guess I'll trade in the extra screen size/portability anyday.

My eyes don't hurt that much now while watching videos on the XFi2.

I don't use it for av out purposes though, I used to use my Vision:M big time for that.

Got a Western Digital Live media device for the TV so Vision:M is in the drawer & XFi2 is near my bed.
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