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Creative Zen X-Fi 2 16GB review

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : 130
inc VAT

Creative's Zen X-Fi 2 is a good MP3 player with excellent battery life that's let down by a very poor touchscreen.

Creative’s Zen X-Fi 2 bears more than a passing resemblance to the iPod Touch with its metal back and large touchscreen, but is designed to be held horizontally instead of vertically.

Unfortunately, the touchscreen is extremely aggravating to use. It’s quite sensitive but also very inaccurate, making it far too easy to choose the wrong song or menu option. The only way to compensate for this is to apply very firm, constant pressure instead of a light touch, which makes it a pain to use.

The included noise-isolation earphones are surprisingly good. The noise isolation isn’t as effective as from some third-party sets, but it works well in most noisy environments. Vocals sound clear and there’s a fair amount of bass, but the high end can be harsh and jazz and blues tracks are muffled. These faults mostly disappeared when we used a high-quality set of earphones, but bass still wasn’t as deep as we would have liked. An onscreen button gives quick access to options such as the equaliser.

Surprisingly, this model lacks built-in wireless networking, so it can’t be used to listen to music stored on a UPnP media server like its predecessor. The first model had an SD card slot for storing more music and copying photos off the card, but this model accepts only the smaller and less commonly used MicroSD cards. We had trouble getting static-free reception on the built-in FM radio, but when we did, the audio quality was clear.

One area in which the Zen X-Fi has improved over its predecessor is battery life. It lasted nearly 28-and-a-half hours when playing music – which is more than twice that of the previous model – and nearly six hours when playing videos, which is also a slight improvement over the first model. Video is very bright with plenty of contrast on the 3in screen. The Zen can’t play H.264 files, but it had no problem playing DivX and XviD videos.

There’s a lot to like about the Zen X-Fi 2, from its good audio quality to its long battery life, but its infuriating touchscreen heavily counts against it. Philips’ GoGear Muse 16GB is a better choice.

Details

Price £130
Rating ***
Headphone Rating ****

Hardware

Capacity 16.00GB
Formatted capacity 14.56GB
Interface USB
Storage medium flash memory
Battery and charge options Li-ion, USB
Size 13x10x58mm
Weight 75g

Features

Device has screen? Yes
Viewable size 3 in
Native resolution 320×240
Memory card support microSD
FM Radio yes
Audio record options microphone, radio
Video record options none
Supplied with headphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback) 28h 26m
Tested battery life (Video playback) 5h 51m
500MB transfer time 2m 50s
Audio MP3 playback Yes
Audio WMA playback Yes
Audio WMA-DRM playback Yes
Audio AAC playback Yes
Audio Protected AAC playback No
Audio OGG playback No
Audio WAV playback Yes
Audio Audible playback Yes
Image BMP support Yes
Image JPEG support Yes
Image TIFF support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playback Yes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playback Yes
Video WMV playback Yes
Video MPEG-1 playback No
Video MPEG-2 playback No
Video MPEG-2 VOB playback No
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD support Yes
Video H.264 support No
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio support Yes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio support Yes
Download compatibility WMA-DRM subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB 0.8p
Warranty one year RTB
Supplier http://www.amazon.co.uk
Details http://uk.europe.creative.com

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