Wednesday, April 14, 2010

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The Creative Zen X-Fi MP3 player could be the iPod killer for which you've been waiting.

When it comes to new MP3 players, the question everyone wants to know is, "Is it better than the iPod?" There has yet to be an MP3 player that has successfully challenged Apple's domination of the MP3 market with its line of iPod MP3 players-but Creative's Zen line of MP3 players comes very, very close.

Just this month, Creative launched the latest addition to its Zen mp3 player line: The Creative Zen X-Fi. At only $199 (retail price direct from the manufacturer), the Zen X-Fi is priced low enough for budget users. Surprisingly, the budget price didn't stop Creative from putting an impressive array of MP3 features into the XFi. These include both video and photo capability, as well as a wide list of MP3 player features that can't be found in the iPod: Subscription music support, an FM radio, memory card expansion, a voice recorder, better headphones, and WiFi wireless internet.

While the Creative Zen X-Fi doesn't have the iPod name, it definitely gives the iPod a run for its money. For less than the cost of the Apple iPod Nano, the Creative Zen XFi gives you double the capacity and a handful of very useful features that Apple doesn't include in its MP3 player line.

An In-Depth Technology Review of the Creative Zen X-Fi 16GB MP3 Player:

When you hold the Creative Zen X-Fi in your hand, you know it's different from any MP3 player. And it is. It's the first MP3 player in Creative's Zen line to have wireless Wi-Fi internet, and includes a dizzying array of additional features. Plus, with prices starting at $149, the Creative Zen X-Fi is Creative's best priced MP3 player.

The first thing you'll notice is the Creative Zen XFi's design, or lack of it. That's not to say it's ugly, but it's not Creative's most stylish MP3 player. The Zen F-Fi is rectangular-ish, and fits well in the palm of your hand. The first thing I noticed was its plastic casing, which feels kind of cheap. Regardless, it looks pretty slick.

The software interface within the Creative Zen X-Fi is simple and straightforward. Most people should be able to get a handle on it quite quickly. The video screen is crisp and clear, and is great for watching movies and viewing photos (which you can do while listening to music).

The Creative Zen X-Fi's true strength lies in the amount of features that Creative has managed to pack into the tiny MP3 player. There's an SD card expansion slot, perfect for transporting data from your computer to your Zen, or for expanding on the built-in memory. You can sync your Creative Zen X-Fi with Outlook on your computer, and carry your contacts and information with you. It also has wireless internet, so you can stream music actively onto your MP3 player (something that Apple should do on the iPod with the strength of the iTunes music player).

Also, as we already noted, there is a built-in recorder, subscription capabilities, a radio, and much more. The iPod, on the other hand, offers just music and video playback, making the iPod look sparse compared to the rich feature offerings of the Creative Zen XFi.

Should You Buy the Creative Zen X-Fi Instead of an iPod?

The answer: Yes. The Creative Zen X-Fi is the best 'iPod killer' we've seen to date. The Creative Zen X-Fi doesn't have the iPod's slick design, but it's not ugly by any means. It is also priced very, very competitively and should be at the top of your list if you're looking for a new MP3 player. It is the best-priced MP3 player on the current market, and gives significant value over the Apple iPod.

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