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Creative Zen X-Fi 2 16GB review

Alan Lu
13 Nov 2009
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.

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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

Capacity16.00GB
Formatted capacity14.56GB
InterfaceUSB
Storage mediumflash memory
Battery and charge optionsLi-ion, USB
Size13x10x58mm
Weight75g

Features

Device has screen?Yes
Viewable size3 in
Native resolution320x240
Memory card supportmicroSD
FM Radioyes
Audio record optionsmicrophone, radio
Video record optionsnone
Supplied withheadphones, USB cable

Test Results

Tested battery life (MP3 playback)28h 26m
Tested battery life (Video playback)5h 51m
500MB transfer time2m 50s
Audio MP3 playbackYes
Audio WMA playbackYes
Audio WMA-DRM playbackYes
Audio AAC playbackYes
Audio Protected AAC playbackNo
Audio OGG playbackNo
Audio WAV playbackYes
Audio Audible playbackYes
Image BMP supportYes
Image JPEG supportYes
Image TIFF supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AVI playbackYes
Video MPEG-4 MP4 playbackYes
Video WMV playbackYes
Video MPEG-1 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 playbackNo
Video MPEG-2 VOB playbackNo
Video MPEG-4 DivX/XviD supportYes
Video H.264 supportNo
Video MPEG-4 MP3 audio supportYes
Video MPEG-4 AAC audio supportYes
Download compatibilityWMA-DRM subscription and download

Buying Information

Price per MB0.8p
Warrantyone year RTB
Supplierhttp://www.amazon.co.uk
Detailshttp://uk.europe.creative.com

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