I guess you could see it one of two ways: either as a rival to mid-range players like the Samsung YP-Q1 and Sony NWZ-E436F, or as an attempt to eke a little more out of the existing Zen range before Creative launches products based on its much-anticipated Wii processor. The screen is also very solid, the 320 × 240 resolution is perfectly ample for the size, and the support for a full 16.7 million colors is still quite impressive nearly two years on from the first Zen’s launch.
The control layout user interface seems unchanged from the earlier Zen, which means it has its upsides and its downs in terms of usability. The FM radio seems to have decent reception and a working auto-tune feature, while the voice recorder manages to get acceptable audio quality from what is, after all, a tiny built-in microphone.
The only way to get it there is through the bundled Creative Central software, and to make matters worse this refused to operate on my main machine, though it would on a notebook I keep handy. This is a little irritating, and may put off those who have a sizable library of video files they want to make portable, and no wish to convert them into a proprietary format.
With a pair of Grade Sr60is plugged in tracks from Rico Kiley’s superb Under the Black light came through with great sounding vocals, lovely musical baselines and clean, chiming guitars. Wading Through, from Terence Blanchard’s A Tale of God’s Will, also sounded brilliant, with crisp, sparkling piano, gorgeous sweeping strings and sweet, articulate acoustic bass notes.
Accusations, from The Juan Maclean’s The Future Will Come, provided evidence that more synthetic, electronic music isn’t a problem either, and the only weak point I can find is that rock and hard rock tracks, like Mastodon’s Divination or Pearl Jam’s Deep, don’t sound quite as rich and beefy as they do on other players. Overall, the Zen MX’s fine sound quality and respectable cash/capacity ratio is good enough to keep it in the game against the Samsung and Sony competition, but only just, and it’s a shame that some corners have been cut to hit the aggressive price point.
It’s a credit to the Zen that, nearly two years on and in a cut-down form, it’s still a contender for your hard-earned dosh, but I’d take a good look at the YP-Q1 or the NWZ-E436F before pushing my money its way. The cut-price Zen is let down by a few cut corners, but the design hasn’t dated badly and capacity and sound quality are both very reasonable for the money.
Say what you will about the patent dispute between Creative and Apple, both companies make some darned good MP3 players. In both lines, each model includes a voice recorder, a line-in jack, and a 1.5-inch organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screen that displays photos with great clarity indoors but doesn't offer the best outdoor visibility.
With a five-band equalizer for tweaking audio, the Zen V Plus also sounded great in my listening tests playing a variety of high-bit-rate MP3 files. Though the device ships with Creative's Video Converter application for down sampling clips to the right format, watching anything that runs more than a minute or so on the V Plus's 128-by-128-pixel, 1.5-inch screen just seems silly.
The extremely responsive interface lets you quickly move through stored tracks, photos, and video clips. In addition, you can customize menus, build and save playlists on the fly, choose from among several built-in color schemes, and set a stored photo as a background image.
The V Plus includes a standard mini-USB port on top of the device--a nice design choice in a world where so many manufacturers use proprietary connectors. With its integrated battery, the Zen V is rated for a respectable 20 hours of audio playback.
Note: When you purchase something after clicking links in our articles, we may earn a small commission. Floyd Central offensive tackle Zen Michelson.
They allow you to store tons of mp3 files on them, making it easy for you to enjoy every run with great music in your ears. This year you have even more choice when it comes to mp3 players, they can stream music from your favorite apps, load audiobooks, or even be part of your running watch.
Finding a mp3 player made specifically for running may seem simple enough, but there are many factors that come into play. You’ll want a mp3 player that is small enough, that integrates with your favorite apps and that can carry enough songs/books to last your entire run.
Mighty Vibe Spotify and Amazon Music Player Load from Streaming Apps Tiny Very Light You can download up to 500 songs, which means you can skip to the next track your whole run, for even the most indecisive runners.
Large navigation buttons means no fumbling with a touch screen. Back to menu Similar to our top pick, this is a running mp3 watch you should closely consider.
You don’t have to charge this watch every day, and it connects to your phone and your headphones via Bluetooth. This watch syncs with your music streaming services including Spotify and Amazon Music Unlimited. The 7-day battery life is something I enjoy with the Garmin watches, which is why I’m mentioning it again.
One feature I love is integrating with Spotify premium, and if you’re like me your running playlist does not change drastically month-to-month so! 4: Do not connect your mighty vibe back to the computer until you’re ready to pay for Spotify again.
With this you can safely load any playlist you want onto your device, which is a benefit you won’t see on any other top music player on this list. We liked the large, 2.4-inch screen, Bluetooth 4.2 technology, and it has decent battery life (up to 50 hours at medium volume).
At the end of the day, when choosing a mp3 player, make sure it has the connection option you need. You may have used an iPhone, an iPod shuffle, or a version of the NATO in your past, but those are not the best options on the market today.
Back to menu Many options now can be worn on your wrist, and include many more features than a traditional mp3 player. A running watch will be more expensive than a traditional portable music player, but the features can be worth the extra spend.
If those features don’t appeal to you, without a wearable mp3 player you can easily pick up a running belt or armband, and still get all the functionality you need. Back to menu Size matter when's it comes to MP3 players made for running.
You want the mp3 player to be small enough to tuck into a pocket or on your waistband without it being an additional source of weight to carry around. Small space will leave more room for running gels, snacks, and other things like keys or credit cards.
You definitely don’t want this happening, so you’ll certainly want to check out the battery life before committing to purchasing a mp3 player. Back to menu Waterproof MP3 players can make somewhat of a difference when you plan on taking them outdoors.
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