I've had this player since Tuesday, and I love many things about it. First, it looks very classy. You really need to see it in person to see how nice it is. Second, like all other Creative hd players, it sounds great with good headphones. Third, I really like the fact that Creative used push buttons because you can feel around to activate a function instead of having to look at the player like with the micro.
Now what I don't like about it...
The screen. The screen is probably the biggest that I've seen in a Creative player, and much bigger than the micro's, but I honestly think that Creative took a step backwards with this screen. The problem is the darn blue backlight. The micro has a really nice contrast setting, but instead of emulating the micro's screen, Creative decided to incorporate a screen that is only a hair better than the one on the Zen Touch. Get rid of the blue backlight already!
Power adapter. This is more of a slight annoyance than an actual problem. The adapter connects to a proprietary connector...kind of like on the ipod. The problem is that the wire that connects the power adapter to the connector is rather thick and unwieldy. I think Creative could have spent the extra 20 minutes or so to think of a better design. But again, not a big deal.
The software. I'm familiar with Creative's software since I've owned several Creative players before, and I haven't had too much of a problem. However, I think Creative is entering into dangerous territory. I've always used the media explorer to transfer music as a simpler alternative to MediaSource, but the version that came with the Sleek seems very bloated. The media explorer programs I've used in the past weren't too far of a departure from windows explorer, but the lastest media explorer looks like it wants to grow up to be like its big brother, MediaSource.
FM radio. The radio sucks. It's as simple as that. I thought that since the Sleek was bigger than the micro that it would possess a better radio, but it's pretty weak. The X5's radio stomps all over the Sleek's radio.
Battery life. This is the biggest problem. Some folks here have stated a battery life of 16 hrs. The box says 18. Now, I've been through countless DAPs, and I've had enough experience to know that rarely does a player match the stated battery life. However, unless my player is defective, I'm finding that the battery life of the Sleek falls waaaaay short of Creative's claim. I'm using 192kb/s mp3s, backlight on for 5 seconds or so, volume at about halfway, playing albums straight through, and I think I'm getting around 7-8 hours of battery life. That's less than half the claimed battery life. That's absolutely terrible. I completely discharged the player last night and then recharged. I started up the player and within 45 minutes one bar of battery life (out of 3) was already gone. Maybe the battery meter is just unreliable. Maybe I need to cycle the player a few more times. Who knows. But if I get 7-8 hours again tonight, this player will go back to Best Buy even though I'm very fond of it.
If the battery issue clears up though, I think this is a nice effort by Creative. It's a little behind the times compared to other recent DAPs, but it's a nice alternative if you're looking for a music-only player. It has great looks, feels sturdy, sounds nice, and finally is about the same size as an ipod.