Creative Zen V 2It seems to me that every time Creative release a new player, the tech sites proclaim it “the iPod killer”. Yet that never seems to be the case…

Well, they’re at it again. This time they head for the nano spot with their Zen V. Catchy name.

I’ll base my opinion on a news article/preview [norwegian], rather than a press release. The headline reads: “iPod not best in test”. Followed by “Creatives latest player is probably the worlds most attractive mp3 player”.

The first thing that hit me was “iPod not best in test”? What? What test? Ease of use? Design? Feature set?
We all know the Creative players has a larger feature set than the iPod, and a near identical user interface. Two things that don’t seem to matter, seeing as how their share is lower than ever. So that leaves design.

Well, if you thought the previous models from Creative looked bad – wait till you see this. Chances are if you read this, you already saw the picture. It looks as fisher-pricey as Windows XP. Targeting the device at five-year olds might work, but somehow I still don’t think that’s the target audience for Creative.

The Zen V packs up to 4 gigs of memory, which is right in line with the nano. It also features a 1.5″ OLED display, which I reckon would be far superior to the LCD of the nano. Then again, would it really matter for such a tiny screen?

Now here is the interesting part: there is also a Zen V Plus version, which features an FM radio and video playback support. Both models sport sound recording, through the built-in mic, or the line input.

Creative Zen V 2“The player is a bit thicker than the iPod nano…”
I can already tell the player is doomed. So far the preview has been positive, but they lost me here. I have no idea what part of “this is no iPod” the folks at Creative don’t get, but I think it’s time to realize that it doesn’t matter what “extra” features you add to your player, if it can’t beat the iPod in the areas where the iPod really shines. People don’t give a crap about an FM radio or a voice recorder – and even less video playback on a screen smaller than a stamp. If the player is BIGGER and BULKIER than the nano, it doesn’t stand a chance. Once you make something that equals the iPod nano, THEN start adding all the little extras.

Girls seem to love the Zen V, something this picture from Creatives umm, creative marketing department clearly shows. And the article agrees. “One of the girls to whom we showed the player proclaimed “Awww, its so cute!””, which leads them to conclude: “This shows that Creative for once nailed the design”. “One girl loved it – thus is has to be great”. Whether she was on drugs or anything goes unsaid… we can only imagine…

Oh, and they switched their patented “scroll pad thingie” with a joystick. All of us who have this on our cellphone (who doesn’t?), know very well the great quality associated with the stick (sarcasm). Way to go creative – now we can throw our player away even more often!

What if I had to choose between the Zen V and the Napster player? Scary thought…



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