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Review of Creative Zen Mozaic 16GB media player

Review of Creative Zen Mozaic 16GB MP3 player

18 September 2008


A feature-packed and versatile media player.

Zen Mozaic Group


The Creative Zen Mozaic 16GB media player is a jazzy, attractive and lightweight media player.

It is also available in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB models and the selling price is around £50-£120.

It plays MP3s and displays video and photos.

The player has a good sound, and plays radio as well as MP3s.

The display is disappointing and the buttons are coloured square keys that are more cool looking than easy-to-use.

File transfer can be a bit fiddly but file navigation on the player is quick and easy and flexible.

NAVIGATION

Buttons


Navigation is done by a nine-button arrangement, - the ‘mozaic’ - which gives Creative players of this design incredible flexibility.

The buttons are very closely packed and too similar in feel to be considered thumb-friendly.

File Navigation


Music navigation is done by MP3 tags – artists, albums, tracks, genres. It’s also possible to bookmark tracks (up to 10) during playback and to retrieve these by using the bookmark menu.

Playlists and recordings also have their own navigation menus.

If a playlist is very long it’s possible to do a search for a particular name. Or you can rapidly flick through the list by selecting a specific initial alphabet letter.

When browsing large lists of MP3s, you can scroll either at one track at a time or keep the arrow keys pressed to get smooth fast scrolling. A progress bar on the right provides useful feedback.

The video menu has options for video, TV and Zencast. Videos are navigated using filenames, but there is no keyword search facility and thumbnails are not shown.

Photos can be browsed using automatically generated thumbnails.

Photos and videos dropped to the player in their original Windows folders can be browsed using the same folder names.

DISPLAY


The player has a 1.8-inch screen with excellent, easy-to-read menus and an easy-to-understand combined icon & text main menu.

Images are fuzzyish, lacking sharp detail.

Watching movies is only a slightly better experience, but the lack of definition and detail is still pretty obvious.

SOUND


The sound quality is excellent – with graphic equalizers, bass boost and smart volume.

The earphones are comfortable and good quality.

There is a tiny loudspeaker which can produce a surprisingly loud and crisp, but thin sound.

PLAYBACK


During playback, fast forwarding and rewinding happens at a speed which accelerates very quickly.

It takes about 5 seconds to get to the middle of a 3 minute song, 10 seconds to scan to the middle of 1 hour podcast and about 20 seconds to scan to the middle of an 8 hour Audible audiobook.

There is also a Seek To function which operates at a similar rate.

Files can be bookmarked during playback using one of the 10 slots available – very useful for long files.

Audible files are automatically bookmarked on exit. Audible files also display album art, and the longer files can be scanned using chapters during actual playback. The chapter locations are automatically labelled and accessible by pressing the centre button during playback.

There is a basic range of playback modes. And there is a sleep timer which is found under the System menu.

DATA TRANSFER and SOFTWARE


Data transfer and battery recharging is done via USB using a standard USB cable.

The initial charge is 3 hours and this gives a full day’s charge for music playback.

Recharging is fairly quick, and the speed of data transfer is impressive if done using Windows Explorer drag-and-drop.

The software provided is Creative Centrale which seems to be a good deal slower than ordinary drag-and-drop. Using Centrale can make filling the 16GB capacity a lengthy process.

The software scans user-selected folders and converts photo and video files before transfer. It also creates music playlists and photo slideshows.

BATTERY


Battery life is excellent. A full charge lasts pretty much the whole day for music playback.

Recharging is done via the standard USB cable. It takes about 3 hours for a full charge.

OTHER FEATURES & CONCLUSION


The player features FM Radio, a personal organizer and can be configured for data storage use.

A microphone is included and there is a programmable short-cut button.

The player is quite attractive, feature-packed and also allows full use to be made of the 16GB memory with it’s extensive file navigation capability and the organizing capability of the Creative Centrale software.

The Centrale software is a little slow in transferring data, but drag-and-drop is available too for music files, and is much quicker.

The player is very flexible and once the button functions have been learned is reasonably easy-to-use.

If the basic music playback features are excellent, the colourful, but low resolution display is definitely a bit of a disappointment at the price.

Plays:
MP3, WMA (DRM9 & 10), WAV, Audible formats
JPEG photo file format;
AVI movie file format.

USB rechargeable internal battery.



Versatile, Cute, Videolly-impaired

LITREV Rating 4/5

 

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