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“The Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra ain't that pretty,...”

Written on: 13/01/2005 by themilkyone (2 reviews written)

Good Points
Huge capacity, cheap (for what you get), simple to use, good features/specs, solid construction

Bad Points
Bulky, no remote, not pretty.

General Comments
The Creative Nomad Jukebox Zen Xtra ain't that pretty, but my god it does the job well.

This is my first Hard Drive player, and I did a lot of research before shelling out my hard earned. Thus I do not make any comparison with the technical specs of other players as I've never used one. Some folk out there are anti-iPod. I am not, I just believe this suits my needs better.

OK, let's get the bad out of the way - this is no fashion item. It ain't the prettiest in the world and it could be seen as a bit bulky (though I've never tried walking round with any other players on the market). Also, lack of remote on the headphones can be a bit of a drag. However... it does the job SO well!

For £170 it's 30gb capacity is absolutely the best deal out there.

It accepts Windows Media and MP3, which are the formats the average non-techie (like me) is likely to use.

I have ripped CD tracks using Windows Media Player, Winamp, Nero and Creative's own software and all work on this player. Also tracks downloaded from the internet work fine.

Sound quality is good, with a variety of equaliser settings (inc personal). Creative make PC soundcards and speakers so I would expect this.

Battery life is good. But more importantly, the battery is user-replaceable so if it does run down you can just get hold of a new one and fit it yourself.

Solid constrrction, and a semi-hard case, gives you confidence (2 spills to date and no probslem!).

The provided earbud headphones are of a decent quality (though better ones would be an idea) - and also don't mark you out as a potential mugging target (allegedly the case for iPods).

Easy to use. For loading the tunes, you can just drag and drop from Windows Explorer into Nomad Explorer. Not sure why Creative didn't just make the Zen appear as an extra drive, but it's really no huge hassle. The player is simple to use - I have only just looked at the manual after a month, and there are no features I've not already mastered.

Large, clear display lets you set the contrast to suit (so you can preserve battery life by setting it light).

You can create and save playlists on the move. Search by album, artist, genre etc etc. You can choose to play any combination of tunes (eg play "Classical" genre, or all "Dido" tunes, irrespective of which album they're filed under).

Overall get this if it's an audio experience you're after with ease of use, and you don't care about the looks (or like me you keep it in your pocket 95% of the time).

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