With Apple launching a whole new range of iPods recently, including the iPod Touch, can Creative afford to be far behind? Not one to be caught shuffling around (pun intended), Creative has launched the Zen Stone Plus series.
With a player so tiny, we’d expected the Zen Stone to felt flimsy, but surprisingly it didn’t. There’s a small circular blue OLED screen—nothing special—and a Play button surrounded by a circular button that houses four controls—track shuffle and volume up / down. There’s a tiny button on the top of the player that has controls for the Menu and play / pause functions.
Available in 2 GB only, the Zen Stone features FM radio and supports up to 32 presets, inbuilt audio recording, and a stopwatch function—not bad for such a small device. Unlike iPods, there are no drivers required to connect it to your PC—just drag and drop, which is a huge relief.
Music quality is a mixed bag with the Stone. Firstly, if you’re even remotely interested in good sound, throw away the bundled earplugs. Once we replaced them with our Creative EP630 headphones, everything was so much clearer. Then we tried the Bose Intra Ear—our reference for PMPs—and things seemed even better. Punchy, tight bass, superb vocal tones, and a decent extended high-end makes the Zen Stone very suitable for rock, pop, jazz and reggae. If you listen to lot of classical music, you’ll need much better headphones to bring out the recessed highs. Bottom-line: the Zen Stone is only limited by its default earplugs—and most PMPs are.
Don’t let this stop you buying it—if you want something tiny, sturdy, and easy to use, the Zen Stone will suit you. If you want good sound, invest in a pair of decent in-ear earplugs.