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Just got my Creative Zen Micro - Page 2

post #16 of 630
Thread Starter 
Here are pics of the csae. The case itself is pretty nice. White plastic with rubber around the edges to firmly hold the Micro inside. The stand it neat too.


Bling bling in the dark


Closeup of the case.


Case with the stand attachment, which slides into the groove on the back of the case.


Case with the belt clip attachment inserted. I would personally never wear anything on a belt clip - way too geeky/nerdy.



Micro perched on its stand.


The top of the case provides access to the headphone jack, power/hold switch, and USB port.
post #17 of 630
Pretty nice. Was it worth the upgrade from the Mini given the lack of iTunes support?
post #18 of 630
Thread Starter 
Yes, it was worth the upgrade. Creative MediaSource works ok and has a sync feature which is easy to use and easy to understand. To put music on the Micro, I first added tracks to the library and then synced. By luck, I put almost exactly 5GB of music into the library and didn't have to deal with deleting songs from the library so they'd all fit onto the Micro. With the iPod mini in the same situation of having more music than can fit, the solution for me is to make a playlist with all the songs I want on it and sync that single playlist. If there isn't enough space free, then I just go thru that playlist and delete songs until it can all fit. I can do the same thing with the Micro in the future, so it's all good.

I just finished a battery test. Creative gives a 12 hour estimate based on...I have no idea, the specs are vague, what does "64kbps WMA / 128kbps mp3" mean? But I got 10.5 hours playing my entire library on random, 80% LAME APE ~256kbps, 10% 192kbps, 10% 160kbps. The battery has only been fully charged once, so it may improve after a few uses.
post #19 of 630
I've been weighing up the features vs what I'd lose. The smartlisting is really a huge advantage for me with the library I've got. The way that playlists / drag & drop works is just exactly how I want to use it on iTunes. I'm not convinced with Mediasource, and definitely not convinced with Notmad (I have the Universal version).


But the voice recorder is really, really handy. So's the battery life / spare battery capability on the ocasions I forget to charge it. Arrrgggg... Let us know how you get on with it. I'm really, really tempted.
post #20 of 630
Just out of curiosity, where in San Diego do you live Taphill? I'm in Rancho Penasquitos.
post #21 of 630
That things the dogs danglies to look at-i want... Does it have a line out facility though?
post #22 of 630
Does the Micro support OTF playlists? If so, are they like the other Zens (modified on the fly, permanently saved)?

Pony
post #23 of 630
Thread Starter 
I'm in La Jolla, about a mile from UCSD where I'm a grad student (for the time being, anyway).

No line out.

The touchpad has acceleration and coasting. If you move your finger faster, the cursor moves faster. Coasting is where if you scroll and keep your finger at the top or bottom of the touch pad on the edge/border you can physically feel, the cursor will continue to move in that direction, which is helpful for moving up/down long lists or scrolling thru a song. The touchpad also acts as a button. So you can scroll up and down, or tap it to select.

The new UI/interface is absolutely amazing compared to the NJB3. It's fast, efficient, and requires little thinking or button pressing. Yes, the Micro as OTF playlists. What's really nice is that it's embedded in the "now playing" itself rather than being a separate "on the go" playlists like the iPod.

So let's say you want to play an album or artist. Go to the album or artist and hit play. Then say after that album, you want to add another album or artist. You can add it directly onto the currently playing music, so there's no need to stop what you're playing and make a new/separate OTG playlists like on the iPod. Or like before you can just immediately play another album if you want, there's no need to actually "clear" the current playlist. You can also save playlists on the player. What's also nice is that unlike the NJB3, when selecting an album or artist with the touchpad, you don't have to press the button again to open the folder, since selecting it will open the folder by default. If you want to add it to the currently playing rather than open it, there's the menu button to bring that option up.

Since OTF playlist is embedded in the now playing, if you select "now playing" from the main screen, it shows you the currently playing song (like the iPod). If you then pres the touchpad, it brings you to the current playlist. This feature is really HOT! Because on the iPod, if you're playing an album or playlists and you go out to the main menu....you can go to now playing but that will only show you the song that's playing. If you want to see the actual list of songs that are being played, you have to go find that album or playlist (if you remember what you're playing exactly) by going thru the artist or playlist listing.

Since using it as a USB drive require selecting a partition size on the player itself, if you don't have enough free space, you can delete songs on the player itself to create free space. Nice to know.

You can scroll thru songs by either holding down FF or RW, or scroll thru a song using the touch pad, a la iPod.

The menu options are very handy because you don't have to scroll thru menus to select options. For example, while a song is playing, you can press the menu button to:
- change the play mode
- view track details (shows artist, title, album, track, year, genre, playcount, bitrate - something the iPod really needs)
- remove the track from the now playing
- set bookmark
- "lookup artist" which automaticaly brings you to the artist page that displays all albums by the artist (very cool)

The screen on the Micro is sooooooooooo much better than the iPod mini. The resolution isn't much different, but Creative uses a smaller font. So for the song that's playing, you can see title, album, AND ARTIST along with all the normal info. If any of those are too long to fit on the screen (and they'd have to be really long because the screen is wide) then each will scroll, unlike the iPod where only the title scrolls. When searching thru artist or album, if one is too long, highlight it with the cursor will make it scroll (a feature Apple copied for the iPod Photo).

If you turn off the Micro while a song is playing, when you turn it back on it'll continue playing at that point.

Start-up time is as fast as the iPod. Wake-up time from sleep is instant (well really like 0.25 seconds). But I think it may actually "turn off," like the iPod after 48 hours of no use, where it goes into a deeper sleep state (shuts off power going to RAM to save battery), but I don't know the time limit for it. Boot time from deep sleep is maybe 10 seconds, much faster than any iPod. Shut down time is about 10 seconds, which I think is too long, but I'll probably just let it go to sleep on it's own after 5 minutes idle (user changable seting).

Right now, my only complaint is that at the top where it shows the name of the menu you're at and where the battery meter is, it doesn't show a play/pause/stop icon so you can tell if music is playing or not. But it's not essential since you can tell that if you have headphones plugged in.

Overall, I'm 100% satisfied. The Micro works well. On top of that, it's full of features. It's well-designed - the unit is physically sturdy, and the OS/UI is more advanced than the iPod's. Of course it won't be as simple as the iPod, but having all these extras doesn't make it much more complex, hard to use, or hard to understand.

At this point, I think the iPod needs to play catch-up. The iPod is still nice, but it's getting too plain and simple and boring looking (except for the color interface of the Photo). I'd really like if they would add the easy/simple things things like track info, lookup artist/album/genre, and DELETE into the now playing, so when you press the center button you can come across a listing of those options. Also, they need to start using a smaller font on all their iPods, so more info can be displayed. Cell phones have smaller text and I doubt people are going blind. Scrolling for album and artist also needs to be done, especially since the font is so large they don't always fit. Custom EQ??? And if you know Apple, when they add those features they will NOT add them to older iPod versions.
post #24 of 630
Thread Starter 
Did I mention the Micro sounds better?

I've been using it all morning with my HD600 (no amp). This was most apparent when I played 40' by Franz Ferdinand (great album, BTW). The bass in that song sounds much more alive and deeper than playing the same song on the iPod Photo, where the bass for that song is subdued and bland.
post #25 of 630
All right. I'm placing one on order as soon as it's in stock in the UK. Looks like about a 3 week wait.
post #26 of 630
it looks a bit thick...do you have any pics comparing it to the regular ipod (not photo)?

otherwise, nice review. looks like a great little player!
post #27 of 630
Well, I'm back to square one. I'd been considering the HP120 but that's discontinued. Then I'd thought I'd not be happy unless I went lossless. That had me looking at the 40GB iPod but then I though I'd not need to take ALL my music so I began to think I could be happy with just 20GB. I began to look at the Karma along with the iPod but oh, the Carbon is so sexy. Could I live with 5GB and mp3? Do I really need an amp with the portable? Line outs are hard to find and Austonia felt that the result of amping from the headphone out would be pleasing to most(or at least that's how I read that post). Could I be content with a Carbon+SuperMacro+ety 4p->s and mp3's? Yep but wait, this player sounds so enticing. It's got the look and everything sounds like it might be what I'm looking for......

Oh well, another travel season is almost behind me and I'm still with my antique NJB and unamped ety's. Maybe a clear winner will emerge by next fall. Have I mentioned how happy I am that I found this site lately??
post #28 of 630
Apple better scrap something up quick or else their Mini line is about to be overshadowed by these new units.
post #29 of 630
sweet, i was getting ready to jump on an ipod for something smaller than my njb3 and now creative releases a 5gig mini! I think i'm gonna check j and r out tomorrow during my lunch break and take a look at it, of course the fact that it has a removeable battery just about beats out the ipod.

(as a owner of the njb3, i'm sure the sound quality is up to snuff )
post #30 of 630
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by steel102
it looks a bit thick...do you have any pics comparing it to the regular ipod (not photo)?

otherwise, nice review. looks like a great little player!
The first set of pics was a iPod mini and Micro. Here are some other size comparison pics.



iPod Photo, 3G 20GB iPod, iPod mini, Micro


mini, Micro, Photo, 3G 20GB

The Micro is about 1mm thinner than the iPod Photo. It does look thick sitting on a table, but it doesn't feel thick when holding it. It actually feels smaller and lighter compared to the mini. Only at the Micro's widest point is it the same width as the mini.
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