Creative unveiled their newest player, the Zen X-Fi3, at IFA Berlin. Resembling the ‘brick’ design of the iriver Clix or Cowon D2, it’s quite a departure from the looks of the older X-Fi and X-Fi2.
Being a bit late to the dying touch interface fad, Creative put some resistive touch buttons around the 2″ TFT screen, but luckily they didn’t forget about proper tactile buttons for volume control. Same as the older X-Fi models, the X-Fi3 comes with a MicroSDHC slot, making it possible to boost the internal 8/16GB capacity with an additional 32GB of storage space. The biggest complaint about Creative’s SD implementation in older players was that files on the card weren’t integrated into the database at all, they were only available via folder browsing. Time will tell if Creative fixed that flaw in the X-Fi3. Battery life isn’t overly great with a claimed 20 hours for audio and 5 hours for video, but it’s not too shabby either.
On the software side, the X-Fi3 is quite interesting. The best feature for sure is Apt-X Bluetooth audio connectivity. Apt-X can be either lossy (384kbps) or lossless (up to 24/96) – both being vastly superior sounding compared to regular A2DP audio and transparent to most people’s ears. Creative also added FLAC support to the usual array of audio codecs (MP3, AAC, WMA, WAV, Audible). For video it supports standard definition AVI/DivX/Xvid and WMV. Of course they’re also continuing to push their X-Fi Crystalizer sound enhancement technology. While it can’t really compete with Cowon’s BBE or Sony’s DSEE, it probably is better than nothing. FM radio, a speaker on the back, video-out (analog) and a voice recorder are present as well.
Thanks to Jbob182 for the tip. Official press release.
Looks like Creative has been busy cooking up some other players aside from the Zii EGG. The Zen X-Fi 2 is a touch screen second edition of their last Zen X-Fi. Models will come in 8/16/32GB and sell for $130/$180/$230. The press release doesn’t say when it will be available but says it will be available for pre order on Amazon shortly, so it seems it should be here in time for the holidays. Below is a list of features or you can see more at the X-Fi2 mini site.
Here is a patent [PDF] that Creative filed on January first of this year with figure #1 description saying, “…a perspective view of a media player showing our new design”. Could this be a new Zen Vision or one of the Zens that got axed?
It was rumored that there was a Zen that was to have Wi-Fi, Touch Screen, and GPS but was cut from the roster due to not being able to technically pull it off. That story would fit with the pictures and the date of the patent. Was or will be. We don’t know.
With all the features mentioned above plus what looks to be a camera and maybe a place for a stylus- you could probably call this a Internet tablet.
If your Zen is in need of repair or you just feel like looking at its guts, take a look at this simple guide. The method of opening the Zen is non destructive and can be opened with a few simple tools. You will need a #0 Phillips head screw driver, a slim pocket knife and/or a set of plastic pry tools. A credit card or driver’s license will work in place of the plastic tools.
The difficulty of this disassembly is moderate with nothing overly difficult, but it’s more getting the guts to dig into your fully functional Zen.
Update:Not only did Europe get the 32GB versions, so did the US. Priced at $330 at the creative store. Not bad at all.
Come Monday creative will be selling a 32GB version of the Creative Zen (Nothing). It will retail for €400 and be limited to 500 units. There may not be too many people interested in a 32GB flash player at that price, but I think it’s a great accomplishment of Creative in that they are the first to maket with a 32GB player. Now just add an 32GB SDHC card and you have 64GB of solid state bliss. Now only if they can sort out that wretched SD card library integration problem (read the review). In related news they will also be selling a 2GB version for €100, but no word on when the US will see them hit the states.
Creative’s new player, simply named Zen, adds another powerful player to the Zen family of MP3 and PMPs. With a really nice form factor, this Zen has a 16.7 million-color screen making a noticeable difference to video playback and photo viewing. I had my fingers crossed for a Zen Vision:M flash-based replacement, but to my disappointment transcoding is required for video playback.
Although the Zen is not a ZVM replacement, there is the same great interface with much more to like. Read on, and let me take you though a journey of Zen and let’s discover if the Zen is right for your next portable media experience.
Whether you’ve been scrutinizing the price tag of the ZEN and how it compares to contending players and need some further enticement before buying, or simply waiting for it to hit brick and mortar stores, you may be glad to hear that Creative’s latest player has already experienced a price reduction within one month of being announced.
The 4GB version is now going for $130 ($20 less than the original price) and $50 has been removed from the price of the 16GB ZEN, which is now $250. No movement at this time for the 8GB model which remains positioned at $200.
[Creative via Engadget]
Creative have a new player in store which has been given the concise name, the Creative ZEN. According to the earliest information to appear on this flash based PMP, its screen will be 2.5-inches and display 16.7 million colors. Storage will be offered in 4GB, 8GB, and 16GB of flash memory and be priced at $150, $200, and $300 respectively, while the potential for additional storage is provided through an SD expansion slot.
Further details are not yet known, but Creative will exhibit the ZEN at IFA before it is released this September.
Update: The amazon page has been removed, but the official page on creative is now up.
[Creative via epiZENter]