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Creative Zen Sleek (mini Review-ish)

post #1 of 91
Thread Starter 
I've spent the last year going through many MP3 players and sadly being let down by all of them. My Iriver IHP-120 had amazing features and great sound but was a pain to use with all its extra tag editing and cumbersome navigation. My Sony VAIO Pocket seemed like a winner but It kept on freezing and the touch sensitive pad was VERY slow to use. So I then decided to go in for an Ipod becuase of its simple navigation and clickwheel, oh and its looks but I was aware of its almost non-existent bass even with Westone UM2's. I was planing on holding out for a Zen Vision but I'm very impatiant and I don't think it would be good for everyday portable use. So I picked up my wallet and walked to the nearest Currys to purchase a new Zen Sleek.




The player comes with the standard creative earphones that also come with previous players from Creative, USB 2.0, Installation CD, AC adapter and a fat Intruction manual with only 14 pages of English.
The MP3 unit was protected by stuff you you get when you purchase eggs, which did'nt impress me. And no dock or remote control, which also did'nt impress me either. Companies nowadays think added goodies are'nt important anymore.

The first thing I did when I arrived at my home was to quickly install the CD and get as much music onto the device so I could do a sound comparison with my VAIO pocket, and this is where my Hell began.
After installing the software with no trouble (so I thought) the install wizard just would'nt stop installing the software. I installed a total of 5 times before I pulled the plug on the whole damn thing. And to make things worse the software would'nt recognise my device and kept reading 'Creative Zen Nomad Organise' which I don't own. I'd had enough and uninstalled the software and re-installed the software this time with no issues at all.
Transferring music onto the device is suprisingly quick taking me just over an hour and a half to transfer 14GB worth of music onto the device, Unlike the VAIO pocket which took me a good 5 hours and another hour to update. After going through all this nonsense I was ready to compare sound qaulity with other devices.

After plugging in my Westone UM2's and lowering the volume ( A procedure you all must take ) I started to fiddle around with the EQ's. The device with the Flat EQ is not too bad, lacking in comparison to the Ipod But the Sleeks preset EQ's such as Pop, Rock, Jazz etc do not distort at all. The player has a 5 band EQ and most people should be able to find the right setting for themselves using this. The problem I had with VAIO pocket was its lack of adjustable EQ. The bass is deeper with with more punch but it tends to drown out the highs, it also has a more involving and fuller sound which I enjoyed alot. But the detail in instruments was poor IMO unlike the Zen Sleek which had a very balanced and accurate sound. I am able to hear a better separation with instruments and more detail than I could hear with my old IHP-120 and VAIO pocket. The Zen Sleek has a much more airy sound to it and combined with the UM2's I was able to find that sound I was looking for for ages. The bass is there and its really powerful but its not drowing out the highs as my previous devices did. Like I said before, Its balanced and accurate, I can hear everything without anything being overly emphasised. So for people who enjoy good sound quality I recommend this device.

Ok, Earlier I said that I liked the Ipods navigation because of that famous Click scrolly thing which helps you locate songs in a second. I cant say that The Zen Sleeks Virtual touch pad comtrol Is better but it certainly could be a competitor to Apples Click wheel if they fixed a few minor issues. The only problems that it has is the sensitivity of the touch pad, sometimes its not very responsive and sometimes its way too responsive. Its very easy to miss a selected album or song and you'll probably spend a while clicking on a selected song. There were plenty of occasions were I either touched and slide along the touch pad and missed an album or do something that would take me to a completly differant manu ( very frustrating indeed ). But I think anyone who is not familiar with Creative's and Irivers touch pad will probably find it difficult at first but as you come accustomed to its sensitivity, you'll be navigating like a pro. Oh and scrolling through ablums and song is quick.



The Menu's are pretty straight foward, nothing complex and no hidden menu's. You can either accsess a menu by tapping or pressing lightly on the key pad, it does'nt take forever to load menu's like it did on my VAIO pocket which is a plus when your use to waitng about 3 seconds for a simple menu to load.

This is one of the better looking players around IMO. It has a very nice brushed Alluminium casing, almost like the Ipod mini but more brushed. Its quite small, slightly smaller than the Ipod I think and is solidly built. Its quite heavy aswell, not heavy in a 'I cant carry this around' way but more in a way that you know its a quality and well built product.


Good Points
It sounds amazing, looks good, cheap-ish, its not an Ipod (If thats a good point), easy-ish navigation, FM tuner, 16 hours battery (Have'nt tested yet)

Bad Points
No colour screen, touch pad abit too sensative, no video playback, no remote or dock, cheap case, crappy earbuds

Conclusion

If your looking for a cheap, attractive MP3 player with FM tuner adjustable EQ and amazing sound quality then this is the player for you.
But if you need things like Colour, photo viewing, movie playback then you'll probably be dissapointed with this

Here's some Pics Enjoy!


post #2 of 91
Nice pics....from Currys? Impatient to look online for better price?

Creative do make good sounding players when they're on the ball. I don't care for video support though, what with my impending PSP.

The only faults you've listed I care about are colour screen, touch pad sensitivety and remote/dock >>>>

I suppose for a cheaper no thrills player, as long as it plays audio well, a colour screen isn't essential, if not desired. I don't care for a dock.

A remote, well.....not really natural for a 20gb player navigation wise? OK you could have a display but again I don't miss a remote with a HD DAP

So the touch pad is competent once you have familiarised yourslef?
post #3 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL
Nice pics....from Currys? Impatient to look online for better price?

Creative do make good sounding players when they're on the ball. I don't care for video support though, what with my impending PSP.

The only faults you've listed I care about are colour screen, touch pad sensitivety and remote/dock >>>>

I suppose for a cheaper no thrills player, as long as it plays audio well, a colour screen isn't essential, if not desired. I don't care for a dock.

A remote, well.....not really natural for a 20gb player navigation wise? OK you could have a display but again I don't miss a remote with a HD DAP

So the touch pad is competent once you have familiarised yourslef?
I looked everywhere online for a cheaper price but the best I could get it was for £189, It was £200 online.
And now that I have familiarised myself with the touchpad Its quite easy to navigate now. And my psp was also part of the reason why I purchased this device
post #4 of 91
yeah....rip off Britain eh?

I currently have a Sony HD3. While its competent, it has faults (OK what DAP doesn't?)

I'll wait till xmas/new year to see what 5th gen iPod + next Sony HDx is and others before I buy a new DAP

Whats the build like? Looks metal, but are the white areas plastic?
post #5 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by LFC_SL
yeah....rip off Britain eh?

I currently have a Sony HD3. While its competent, it has faults (OK what DAP doesn't?)

I'll wait till xmas/new year to see what 5th gen iPod + next Sony HDx is and others before I buy a new DAP

Whats the build like? Looks metal, but are the white areas plastic?
Yeah the white areas are plastic. I was gonna wait for the Ipod but I think it might be a PVP and I doubt they'll improve the sound to.
post #6 of 91
If Apple do go video.....I think they might have sep PVP line?

Some still just want audio or have no need for video. I think Apple know that and won't make ppl pay for what they don't need?
post #7 of 91
yeah, I'm sure if apple does release a video ipod, it would be a separate line of them and be a PVP. they will most likely still have a standard player just for music and photo's

nice review also
post #8 of 91
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by davidd
yeah, I'm sure if apple does release a video ipod, it would be a separate line of them and be a PVP. they will most likely still have a standard player just for music and photo's

nice review also
Thanks
I think that the recently released Ipods really were 5G but seperate from their new release's in september
post #9 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by Electric_Mofo
I looked everywhere online for a cheaper price but the best I could get it was for £189, It was £200 online.
And now that I have familiarised myself with the touchpad Its quite easy to navigate now. And my psp was also part of the reason why I purchased this device
So I assume you are planning to keep your Zen Sleek? What's the supplied carrying bag like? Does it protect the player very well? Do you plan on buying the optional remote and dock?

post #10 of 91
September? We've got a set release date now? I have not even read that on the rumor sites yet...

I was about to make a purchase but if that is the case - easily replaced user batteries and the 2G mini chip's widespread use - I may just have to wait a little longer D;
post #11 of 91
Does the Sleek add UMS compatibility? That would be news.
post #12 of 91
That looks super nice, I don't mind the fact of no color screen or video playback. I like it simple. If i want to watch videos on the road ill use my lappy or get a PSP, Zen Vision, etc... I don't need these things in a mp3 player
post #13 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman
Does the Sleek add UMS compatibility? That would be news.
I read that it's just like the Zen Micro. It's UMS for non-music (data) files but you still have to use Creative's software (or WMP10)to transfer music. You probably have to set a partition size first.

post #14 of 91
Quote:
Originally Posted by GSTom1
I read that it's just like the Zen Micro. It's UMS for non-music (data) files but you still have to use Creative's software (or WMP10)to transfer music. You probably have to set a partition size first.

The Zen Micro isn't UMS. (At least mine isn't) You need a driver even for data. I thought I read somewhere that there is a newer firmware that enables UMS (for data) without a driver, but I haven't had a chance to find and/or try it.
post #15 of 91
In the description of the dock for the Zen Sleek, it mentions that it has a line out port. This opens the door for a dongle to get the line out. Just like the iPod.
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