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Creative Zen Micro Review

Date: 2005-2-10

   A very short while ago we published a review of the Zen Touch (see our article called Creative ZEN Touch Player: Love Me Tender), a small-size digital audio player from Creative with mo...

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So, after the installation of the software pack from the CD you receive with the Zen Micro player, a tool for working with the player, called Zen Micro Media Explorer, integrates into the standard Windows Explorer. Here’s its screenshot:

Creative Zen Micro Review

You are supposed to use the exclusive software tool from Creative to transfer files

This file manager may suffice for transferring musical files (audio formats not supported by the player are automatically converted into a suitable format), but it is very awkward with data transfers. Well, especially for skeptics as I am Creative’s engineers suggested an alternative approach to file transfers. There is a “Removable Disk?item, on the Extras subsection of the player’s settings menu. When this option is chosen for the first time the user is offered to choose the desired capacity of the removable disk (128, 256, 512, 1000, 1500 or 2000 megabytes). After thus setting up the disk you can attach the Zen Micro to computers that don’t have Creative’s exclusive software installed (before this connection you should select Extras ?Removable Disk in the settings menu again). In other words, you can reserve a portion of the drive to be used a removable disk, and that’s the only way to get along with the standard Windows XP driver. This is certainly a progressive move on the Creative part, and I guess there will be fewer angry users. Note also that if the player is attached as a “Removable Disk? you won’t see your musical collection on it as it is stored on the other part of the disk.

The Zen Micro supports the same file formats as the Zen Touch does. The player also supports any MP3 and WMA files as well as certain WAV formats (lossless formats, i.e. without compression, are an exception ?the Zen Micro doesn’t work with them).

Next feature to be mentioned is the FM receiver now originally integrated into the player (in earlier versions of the player this function was only available if you purchased an optional wired remote control). The sensitivity of the receiver is rather average (some radio stations are rather noisy), but the very fact that Creative’s HDD-based players have acquired an integrated FM-receiver is praiseworthy.

The Zen Micro can also be used as a Dictaphone. The sound from the high-quality microphone is recorded in IMA ADPCM format (16kHz, mono) while the big capacity of the internal HDD allows to store a lengthy conversation. This format suits well for recording voice, but I can’t say the same about recording FM stations for which the manufacturer preferred IMA ADPCM (stereo) with a sample rate of 22kHz. I think it would be better to use MP3 encoding.

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