While on a flight out to Philadelphia this past Monday I began thinking about the age of my current Digital Audio Player, Creative’s Zen Micro. The player is nice, and it does what I need and has a removable battery, which is a life saver for longer trips. I have this habit, however, which causes me to get a new portable audio device every three years. At the end of September, I will have had the Zen Micro for two and a half years. It’s time to look for a replacement. Playing MP3’s is good, but sometimes having the ability to play video would be nice. Transcoding sucks and I refuse to transcode my media files. Thus, many solutions out there today will not even be considered. In the real world, size matters, I need something that is about the same size as my current DAP, but a bigger screen would be nice. As a runner, I would like to run with my DAP. Hard drive based players are not ideal for any high movement conditions. Previously, the Zen Vision:W caught my eye, however, it fills the ‘full sized’ market, too large for my tastes.
Creative has a new player now, the Zen (a recycled name). It is approximately the same size of my DAP, but at about half the thickness, which should be really nice (the Zen Micro should be about a quarter of an inch thinner to appeal to a larger market). Flash based, and available in 4GiB, 8GiB, and 16GiB versions, this would be perfect for running. The battery is not removable, sadly, however Creative is claiming over 25 hours of battery life when playing audio. An added bonus is the SD slot for expansion, even though my 5GB Zen Micro still has about 1GB free, storage expansion is always welcomed, especially if it is hot-swappable (in contrast to the Nomad II’s SmartMedia slot). I’ll probably get the 8GiB version since the 16GiB version is 100USD more expensive.
[end of transmission, stay tuned]