Review: Creative Zen Stone 1 GB
Lots of good things come in small packages and the Creative Zen Stone 1GB MP3 player is definitely one of these. A miniscule little player with only basic controls, it definitely does the jobs it’s meant to do well.
With no interface to talk of, it is clear that this is a competitor to the iPod Shuffle. But in terms of looks, the Shuffle does stay a long way ahead. The capacities are same but the Stone is much cheaper than the Shuffle.
Looks and Design Rating:
The Stone is a clean looking MP3 available in multiple colours (black, white, red, green, blue and pink) and the control area on the front is also in the same colours except for the Play/Pause button that has a glassy look with white colour for the marking. Some would call this nondescript, but I have to say that it does look good. It’s not a ‘striking’ goodlooker rather a subtle and strong looking one.
With everything being minimalistic, it is tough to add too many features. But to their credit, Creative have given some of the most basic functions at least. There are some good features too, mind you! The ‘Skip Folder’ one, especially allows users to skip between folders effortlessly. This will work well if you have sorted your music properly, though. Speaking of which… it is incredibly simple to sort music into various folders. If you have ever used a pen drive (which we suspect you have), it’s no different to use the Stone. Just connect the USB cable and your MP3 player will show up as a drive. Start transferring by simple drag-and-drop and you’re done.
What the innocuous looking USB cable also does, is it starts charging your player as you transfer. Clever as that may be, it would have been better had this not been the only way of charging the player. I remember the Philips GoGear range having a similar issue and it just doesn’t make sense. Even a wall-adapter with a USB output would work but please don’t make me carry my computer everywhere just because I need to charge this thing!
The lack of buttons on the device may put some people off, but I have to believe that it may attract more people. The ease of use is marvellous and may even appeal to an older audience. One of the irritants with regards the interface (I’ll call it that since the front facia is what’s interacting the most with the user) is that there is only one LED for all statuses. There’s enough place to put in a couple of more for battery full or half, charging, etc. remembering which colour means what can be quite annoying!
Audio Quality Rating:
Almost always, I have a problem with the ‘bundled’ headphones that are shipped with cell phones or MP3 players or any other noise-making device. But for once, I have to say that I am impressed. It’s not like these are noise-cancelling crystal clear earphones, but they definitely have a good twang to their audio. Makes it fun to actually use them and not just wonder a month later which device they really belong to!
Value for money Rating:
It is rare that a basic player appeals so much to me. But the value proposition of the Stone is simply superb. At Rs 3,299 (excluding taxes), it has to be one of the best devices available. In fact, you could throw away your USB pen drive and use this (just create a ‘Data’ folder and limit it to say, oh, 256MB) and you have a dual-purpose device. Sweet!
Are you in the market for a cheap MP3 player? If you are and don’t much care for the Apple logo on your player, don’t think twice. Do remember the limitations however and buy this only if you want to playback music and nothing more. You think a radio would have been nice?
Tags: Creative, Zen, Stone, MP3 Player, 1GB, DAP
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