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Creative ZEN Stone review | Functions

Published on: Friday, June 20th 2008                   Written by: Martijn Kooijman - Photography by: Mark Peters

ZEN Stone vs Stone Plus

T he Stone does not feature a menu; it only offers a few buttons. The play/pause button (which serves as on/off button at the same time) is positioned on the front side together with the volume button and the next/previous song button in a nice circle. On the top side a slider bar is found with the following options: 'repeat', ‘repeat all’ and 'switch between files'. Unlike the Stone, the Stone Plus does offer a menu and the buttons on the front also serve to navigate through the menu. The menu offers just enough information: song information, time, timer and battery status.

Creative ZEN Stone review

 

Creative Zen Stone Plus

Creative Zen Stone Plus

Creative ZEN Menu

Many options such as 'repeat' and 'random' are also included in the menu, as well as a screensaver with date and time. The menu is well-structured with clear icons and although the operation needs time to grow accustomed to since it might work a tad different to what you expect, you will get the hang of it quickly. Furthermore, the Creative Zen Stone Plus has a different button position; the play/pause button is placed on the top side together with the on/off button for the external speaker. The button 'open/close menu' is placed in the circle on the front. In addition a small microphone is placed on the top and both MP3 players have a USB connection on the underside.

Creative Stone Plus equalizer

Creative Stone Plus equalizer

Creative Equalizer / Bass boost

The Stone Plus offers an equalizer and a bass boost. The equalizer has preset options; Rock, classic, pop, Jazz or manual. These options are well adjusted, you really notice the difference and it adds to the quality of the music genre. The bass boost however is of lesser quality. It even seems as if the sound turns down when a heavy bass is in the song. The bass isn't quite as good as I expected it to be, not even with bass boost on.

Creative Stone Plus radio

Creative Stone Plus radio

FM Radio functionality

The Creative Zen Stone Plus has an FM radio. The radio offers a function 'Auto scan' that automatically stores a preset of every station that is found. In my opinion the radio is not that well-developed. It is difficult to operate, and searching for the stations is rather difficult too. Also if you move some 10 meters from your spot, you’ll have to adjust the station again. The LCD monitor does not show which station is playing so you have to just search and aim, or simply listen until you hear a jingle. It works, but it is difficult to operate and takes up more time than I am willing to spend on a radio.

 

Creative ZEN MP3 player

N either the Stone nor the Stone Plus needs software in order to work. It is a Plug&Play device and very straightforward. Connect the MP3 Player to your computer through the included USB cable and drag your music to the MP3 player. That's all you need to do. You can make files to structure your music collection if you like. However, you can't place more than four files within one; otherwise the Stone Plus is not capable of showing them in the menu. Transferring the music is carried out quickly. It is a joy to transfer music without the use of software. You feel in control and you don't encounter any compatibility problems or other errors.

Creative ZEN Stone review

 

Creative ZEN battery

Creative ZEN battery

Lithium Ion battery

The Creative Zen Stone and Zen Stone Plus get their energy from a Lithium-Ion battery which guarantees 20 hours of listening with one charge, according to the specifications. This is the same time I experienced in practice, so the battery has a long-lifespan. I find that quite remarkable for a compact sized device such as the Creative Zen Stone Plus. Frequent use of the external speaker or extensive use of the menu and its functions will diminish the lifespan of the battery, of course. To recharge the battery you have to connect it to a pc with the included USB cable and this is the only possibility to recharge it.

Creative ZEN voice recorder

Creative ZEN voice recorder

Voice recorder & Stopwatch

A voice recording and stopwatch function, lacking on the Creative Zen Stone, are available on the Creative Zen Stone Plus. The voice recorder works fine. There is hardly any background noise and the captured recording is clear. It's a very convenient function to store a memo, a song fragment or a memory. These voice recordings are stored in WAV format. The stopwatch is a nice addition although not very functional. It shows the hours, minutes and seconds but it is not capable of showing lap times or anything like that. It is a nice extra, but that's all.

Creative MP3 speaker

Creative MP3 speaker

External speaker

Creative's CEO, mr. Sim Wong Hoo, speaks highly of this external speaker. I myself was pleasantly surprised. The sound coming from the speaker is excellent and I can hardly believe it comes from such a small MP3 player. It is a clear sound and hardly any distortion is heard. High tones are no problem for this speaker and even in the highest volume the sound is excellent. The Zen Stone Plus's bass is of lesser quality but that might be a logical thing for a speaker this small. It certainly lives up to the high expectations the CEO claimed. It is the ideal way of enjoying your music amongst and with friends.

 
 
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