Forum member godbes was courageous enough to order a 128GB solid-state drive for his venerable Creative Zen Vision:M shot-in-the-dark style – for € 370. Not being sure if the fancy SSD actually worked as a replacement for the 1.8″ HDD with the rather dated hardware in the player, one can imagine how he felt before the story turned out to have a happy end after all. Who dares wins – in this case, probably the biggest, fastest ZV:M to date, with twice the capacity of the beefiest flash memory players available to date.
Similar to the Cowon X5 or the iriver H100/H300, the Creative ZV:M still has a cult following among dedicated users, despite not being Rockbox-able or otherwise overly future-proof. Many people still think it’s the best player Creative ever made, and everything after it wasn’t quite up to expectations. Be that as it may, those were the heydays for portable hard disk players, right before flash memory took over the mainstream with faster bootup and access speeds, slimmer form factors, and improved durability due to no sensitive movable parts – yet at the cost of much smaller capacities and higher prices.
Seems godbes gapped the bridge from the past to the present quite nicely – it’s definitely not a cheap mod, but it’s way cool and encouraging what one can do with presumed ‘obsolete’ hardware.
Read more details in the forum thread.
Take out your Creative Zen Vision:M and smell the bottom data port. What does it smell like? Bubblegum, blueberries, fruit, something sweet? You won’t believe it until you have smelled it, but it undoubtedly smells colorfully sweet. Really . . . go find a ZVM and smell it or better yet if you have one, walk around sticking your ZVM’s data port in other people’s noses and ask them what they think it smells like.
I would like to thank the first person who turned their ZVM upside down and pressed it so curiously against their nose. You have exposed a new
compulsion feature for all of us to enjoy. I will have to add this to the “Pros” section of the Zen Vision:M review: “Data Port Smells Good.”
Creative’s Zen Vision:M DAP and Vision W PMP have always been one of the chubbier players on the market. And up until now, we always thought Creative liked them that way. You know, more player to love, that kind of stuff. Well, it turns out that the company has fallen prey to the “thin is in” mentality and put the M and W on a rigorous diet and exercise regimen. It worked, too, because both 60GB players have shed 15% of their bulk!
Available in late March, the “slim model” 60GB Zen Vision:M is now 0.75″ thick (down from 0.87″); the Zen Vision W, now 0.87″ (down from 1.04″). Prices in Japan are set at about $295 and $380, basically the same as current models, so it looks like keeping up with the skinny Joneses won’t come at a price.
[Press Release (Japanese) via Akihabara]
Need a back-up OS while on the go? The Zen Vision:M’s ability to partition off some USB drive space makes it a great candidate for some flavor of Linux. The ZVM has the ability to set aside up to 16GB of space, but you really only need a minimum setting of 1GB.
Once you have your player partitioned, Knoppix installs much like on a USB drive with a slight tweak (see link). Many other Creative Zen players feature the USB partition option so this will work on those as well. What are you waiting for? Check out the guide below and grab yourself an extra OS to boot.
Where did this come from? We don’t know, but Creative’s gorgeous new X-Fi Sound System Z600 speaker system/docking station for the Zen Vision:M will already be available (in Singapore, anyway) on Friday. Priced at $400, the Z600 is the first sound system to use the company’s Xtreme Fidelity audio technology, which restores some of the quality lost during the compression process and therefore enhances and improves the sound of music.
The system comes with a compact subwoofer, two satellite speakers that can be mounted to a wall, and an infrared remote to control both the Vision:M and the speakers. The Z600 also includes AV-out jacks and supports any number of other gadgets via its auxiliary inputs.
Those who want to squeeze every bit of performance out of their MP3 players can now do so with these custom cables from appropriately named company Qables. These cables are unique in that they plug right into the proprietary dock connections of Creative”s Zen line as well as iAudio’s X5, giving you direct line-out to plug into your hi-fi setup.
But as with any quality cable, these come with a heavier price tag. Depending on the player and cable setup, mini jack or RCA, they can run anywhere from $60 to well over $100. If you are a hardcore audiophile, you may want to check them out. White-earbud-wearing kids need not apply.
A leather case for your MP3 player is a very good investment, considering that you are protecting a $300+ piece of hardware. Sure, there are plenty of leather cases available but they never seem to fit the player correctly and just feel cheap.
If you like nice things and are looking for a quality case for your Zen Vision:M, then the Vaja i-Volution Surya case is for you. This case is hand crafted out of high quality leather, and is totally customizable with your choice of 33 different colors or 1,089 color combinations of leather.
I know this intro sounds like an advertisement, but the truth is, I cannot be more pleased with this case. Read on for more pics and thoughts on the Vaja case.
The Vision:M is Creative’s newest creation poised with an impressive set of features. The most notable feature is the video playback file support which easily handles MPEG, DivX, XviD, WMV9, and Motion-JPEG. The video, as well as photos, play back on the Vision:M’s bright 2.5” 262k color 320 x 240 pixel screen.
Features and style aside, you cannot argue with the massive amount of quality content providers- Napster, Yahoo!, Rhapsody, MSN Music, AOL Music, to name a few, along with the upcoming content deals with MTV, Microsoft, BBC, TiVO, and others. When selecting a new MP3 player, this one should not be overlooked. It is a well built, well designed, easy to use player with lots of useful features. Overall I am very impressed with the Vision:M, despite some of its shortcomings.