Creative Zen Vision M : a quickie review

So my parents just came back from the states (a week ago) and I finally got to play with the loot I had them buy me over there. Near the top of the list is the Creative Zen Vision : M which I asked them to buy at the last minute when I saw it was on sale at circuitcity for $199.99, which is equivalent to a little below 10,000 pesos. That’s a pretty sweet deal, since these things cost about as much as an iPod these days, and can be bought locally at between 12 to 16k at your favorite retailer.

There are great reviews on this year-old player here and here, but I thought I’d do a good, bad, and ugly quickie review for anyone still one the fence about which DMP to buy.

The good

  • Multiple video formats. Whereas the iPod forces you to convert your videos to a single proprietary format before you can view it, the zen allows you to view formats such as the popular DivX without the hassle of conversion. You can actually still convert the video files to maximize the space inside your player, but I find it a waste of time since I can just delete a video file once I’m done with it. I suppose it might be useful for cramming a whole season of House and Heroes into the player though.
  • The Screen is beautiful, and on par even with the reborn 5.5g Ipod screen. The video looks fantastic, especially coming from the iRiver H320.
  • The touch pad isn’t as classy as the iPod’s but navigation and UI is sold, and looks very pretty. The ability to change themes is also pretty cool.
  • While you’re still required to install software in order to transfer files, it’s painless and easy to use, and usually operates like just another window on your screen. I much prefer this to Apple’s iTunes/iPod combo, because creative at least allows you to install the software on multiple PCs and gets files from them.
  • A programmable shortcut button, which I have yet to use.

The Bad

  • The iPod’s still way prettier, and I really don’t understand why creative thought that having color on the front of the player and keeping the middle and back white was a good idea. It may have been cheaper for them in the long run, but sometimes it just looks really off. This may explain why the black player was the only one on sale.
  • You know how the iPod is a scratch magnet? Yeah.
  • The included earphones are decent, but I can’t help but be a little jealous of the new apple earbuds.
  • It’s nice that Creative provided a pouch to carry your zen around in, but did they have to make it white?

The Ugly

  • At almost 2cm thickness, the 30gb zen is still larger than the already robust 80gb ipod, which comes in at around 1.5cm.
  • The proprietary dock makes absolutely no sense to me. Why make an extra accessory for the usb port, dc in, and a/v out when you can simply have these present on the player itself? It means that I have to carry the (arguably small) proprietary dock around with me all the time, which is kind of annoying.
  • The automatic file sorter means that I will sometimes not be able to find a song I want because it’s tagged improperly. This is only a problem if you download songs from bittorrent though. Not that I do that of course.


The Creative Zen Vision:M isn’t an iPod killer by any means, but the chances are you’ll find a good deal on it somewhere due to the iPod’s overwhelming popularity. It isn’t as sleek or stylish, but it does come close, and at least you won’t be like everyone else on the block. And if you download movies or tv series that are usually in DivX format, this player will make life so much easier for you.


One Comment to “Creative Zen Vision M : a quickie review”

  1. hey mate,
    i was wondering if you could possibly email me the driver if you are using win xp. My pc has deleted teh driver and I can no longer use my vision m 😥
    my email is r0pe_burn(at)hotmail(dot)com

    thats a zero in r0pe.

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