Creative Zen Micro MP3 Player Review Part 2
Features and specifications of the Creative Zen Micro
The Included Headphones are of decent quality and appear to have good bass output for such a small headphone, but whether you decide to use them or upgrade to a better set depends on your listening tastes. The provided pair are definitely a good start and such appease most users.
The Zen utilizes the USB 2.0 standard so transfers are about as quick as the iPod with a similar USB port. I had a Firewire iPod and can't really say that it was much faster than the Zen but I don't have any data to support my comments.
The top of the Zen has the required Headphone jack (which is located in the middle) it can also accommodate a wired remote that is sold as an accessory on the Creative site. On the left side is the Power/Lock switch which allows you lock the device to avoid you accidentally hitting any controls. On the right side is the Mini USB connector which serves double duty as the method of charging the device and transfer files. The USB cable allows you to charge the device while downloading music and the wall-wart adapter also charges through the same port. A nifty feature that tells you it's charging is the funky glow that fades in and out as it charges. Finally on the far right a small hole is where the integrated microphone is hiding.
One of the other features of the Zen Micro is the ability to listen to FM-radio. I wasn't looking for this feature but I may even use it more than one time to ensure it worked. The Zen is able to store up to 32 presets which you can custom name, it scans for radio stations but this didn’t work well as some of the stations it picked up were unlistenable due to excessive noise. I don't imagine this is a huge issue but I found it annoying that you need to go through all 32 stations before returning to the first preset, a feature to only preset the stations you want should have been included.
Overall the radio reception with decent signals was very good and would fulfill any desire to listen to the radio. The added feature of being able to record any broadcast to the Zen Micro was neat and could come in handy. The recording function on FM works well, though I'd like to see scheduled recordings added as a feature, after all if your going to record from the radio it would be nice to be able to leave it unattended while it records that special program you didn't want to miss. Zen records the radio at ADPCM 22KHz stereo, which has a bit-rate of 22Kbps. (ADPCM stands for 'Adaptive Differential Pulse-Code Modulation' and it gives you a 4:1 reduction in size over the usually required space needed if it wasn't compressed)
Another neat feature is is the ability to use the Zen as a 'Personal Audio Recorder', by using the ADPCM compression it should allow close to 10 hours of recording time (if your drive is empty).
There's now a feature that allows the Zen Micro to act as a USB 2.0 hard-drive, but you first have to activate the feature in the Micro's 'Extras menu'. You can select a partition size (128MB up to 2GB) then the Zen Micro formats the partition. The partition can be resized without losing any files on the existing partition. You won't be able to access any of your music stored on the Zen when it's in 'Hard-drive' mode, but you also don't need a special driver, it uses the Windows USB Mass Storage driver and functions as a portable hard-drive.
The included software allows you to Sync the Zen Micro with Outlook and you can then view your 'Calendar' and 'Contacts' right from the Zen. I have mixed feelings about the software but it allows you to accomplish whatever task is at hand so I can't complain to much about that.
You can transfer music using two methods but first you must update the firmware to
Well that's about all I can think of for now, so let's end this by stating that the Zen Micro compares pretty well against the iPod Mini and offers a full Gig of extra storage and an FM tuner. I've used mine for a month and can't find anything negative to say.
I shouldn't need to purchase a new Mp3 player until the Zen Micro Photo is released!
Hope this review was helpful
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