Thursday, August 09, 2007

[mp3 player preview] - Creative Zen Stone Plus

Design and features:
Just like the Zen V series of players, the Zen Stone Plus manages to make itself look even more like a toy. While the original Zen Stone (released in May this year) sported enough looks to flatten the iPod Shuffle, the Plus version here has an additional circular screen, which is actually a square 64x64px blue OLED display.

I'm still uncertain that the circular screen would look good on the Stone Plus. I would've preferred a square screen at first choice, but I think they might've done the right thing in the design department. If you ask me, stay away from the red, green and pink colours unless you're feeling flashy, and avoid the white because of the similarities to the Shuffle. Keep to the blue and black versions for pure stylishness. :)

Professional reviews:
Anything But iPod review
CNET review

Current estimated price in Malaysia:
• RM260 (2GB Zen Stone Plus)
• RM160 (1GB Zen Stone)

As usual, I'm hoping that the price would drop until RM200 next year. When I bought my 2GB Zen V Plus in February 2007, it was retailing at RM550 (bought it at a RM500 bargain price) and currently it's selling at around RM400.

Creative thoughts:
Amidst its slumping streak when it comes to company profits, Creative keeps trying to chip away Apple first by introducing the Zen Stone Plus to challenge the iPod Shuffle, and second by releasing a whopping 16GB version of the Zen V Plus. Microsoft won't be pulling themselves out of their sinkhole anytime soon (Zune? Hah!), Creative is the only company who can pose a challenge to Apple's dominance in the market. It's just a pity that they keep registering losses quarter after quarter after quarter.

[Edit]: And oh, if you manage to get your Stone, remember to take a good sniff at it. You might be surprised. ;)

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