Zen Vision:M

Despite working behind enemy lines, when it comes to personal purchases, I'll buy what I feel is best suited for my needs. 

In this case, I was looking for a good MP3 player.  It needed to store a large amount of music, and if it could do video, all the better.  Several weeks ago, with many hours to spend on a plane (and, although I didn't know it at the time, many, many hours spent in an airport), I was leaning more towards a video model as it would pass the time more quickly.

I almost went for an Apple iPod that could do video ... but, after a lot of research and playing with the several devices, I went with a Creative Zen Vision:M.

The 30GB video iPod is nice, but I think -- given my requirements -- the Zen Vision:M is the better device.   The iPod is superior in size (smaller, naturally) -- the Zen is thicker, and if you carry the device in your pocket, the difference would be noticeable.

But, the Zen Vision:M's screen is far superior.  It's almost unbelievable how vibrant the images are.  Ripping DVDs or TV shows and uploading them is a snap.  The battery life is superior, too -- frankly, I'd give up the extra width to have the additional battery life, but not everyone would do so.

The biggest selling point for me, though, is the ability to use DRM-based subscription music.  (Now for a DRM rant:  I don't dislike DRM music conceptually ... I actually like it.  What I hate about DRM is the overbearing restriction and compatibility issues.  It can be quite annoying.)   It's no problem to download and transfer music to my device as part of my subscription.

The device is quite slick.  I had no problem with the volume watching a TV show I transferred to the device while on an airplane, and the extra battery life was crucial. 

I haven't always been a fan of Creative's products, but I think this one is a winner.

Comments (2) -

Michael K. Campbell
Michael K. Campbell
7/3/2006 8:10:06 AM #

Hook that pig up to Yahoo Music Unlimited. (I finally switched/upgraded to it from LaunchCast about 2 weeks ago - HOLY CRAP is it nice.) If you like LaunchCast, you'll LOVE YU... it's soooo cool to be able to just hear a song on your radio, then be listening to the entire album a few seconds later.

And, it keeps all of your launch preferences and ratings and the likes... it's SAWEET stuff. (I've been sorely addicted to it these past 2 weeks.)

7/3/2006 4:36:55 PM #

Dude!  Yeah, I got YMU.  Overall, it's great -- I'd definitely agree and when I traveled, I simply hooked up my Zen Vision:M, and transferred ALL of my music.  No problem.   Subscription stuff worked great.

I will now RANT on YMU.  First, the Yahoo Music Engine app that you've got to use is a bit buggy.  In some cases, it could really use some improvement in background worker processes, and I see frequent hang ups in the UI. 

Another complaint I have is: just this past week, my subscription lapsed (I've had it for the past year).  After re-upping, I've come to find that in order to continue transferring music to my portable device, I need the "to-go" service, which almost doubles the price.  This to-go service is fairly new, I guess I was grandfathered in when it launched.

Lastly, my other big complaint is that multiple machines cannot share a network path to store downloaded music.  So, my laptop, media PC, and workstation all must download their own copies of the songs.  This may be more of a DRM restriction with the way the licenses are stored, I'm not sure.  But it's sure annoying.

BUT, I still think it's a cool service.  And as a Launchcast customer (you got me hooked on that!) it's only a couple bucks more a month for the basic service, which is really great.  It was a killer move for them to include Launchcast Plus in their service.

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