Let Zen entertain you

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1 April 2005 | 0

Technology, it seems, is having a bit of an identity crisis. Not only does it need to take care of all your entertainment needs, but it has to small, slim and sophisticated looking enough not to cause you embarrassment in good company.

The Creative Zen Portable Media Centre is he latest in a line of devices that wants to entertain you. Using its LCD screen you can view video, digital images or choose which music you’d like to listen to. The device stores thousand of songs and digital images, and
hours of video all on a device that will slip easily into a bag, but has a screen large enough not to give you eye strain each time you use it.

If you think the interface looks a little familiar, it should; Creative has teamed up with Microsoft, using it Windows Mobile Software for Portable Media Centres to power the Zen. It even has a Windows menu button to pop up the main menu.

Controls are simple; there is a play/pause button, buttons for fast-forwarding and rewinding video or skipping through images, and menu functions can be accessed from a single button.
The Zen comes with USB 2.0 to transfer files, so you aren’t left waiting around for hours while the entire last series of Friends or Sex and the City moves to your portable device. We thought the Zen Portable Media Centre would be perfect for travelling during the summer months; prototypes shown as electronics show Cebit this year had the capacity to store up to 80 hours of video – more than enough to keep you amused on long journeys.

Unfortunately, we simply didn’t have enough video recorded to test the capacity of the Zen – or, if we’re honest, the time to sit for almost four days without any sleep watching reruns of sitcoms. The Zen Portable Media Centre comes with a 20Gbyte hard drive at
the very least – more than enough for your music collection 
When we looked at the Portable Media Centre objectively, we were quite impressed. Ok, so some will object to the use of Microsoft software on it, others will find fault with the design, but our opinion is that it’s a good device for taking on the road. The LCD screen
is bright and clear, and with the addition of headphones, the sound is as good as you’re used to with your regular TV.

Creative Zen Portable Media Centre – Price TBA
Features: compatible with Windows Media 7, 8 and 9 files, Windows Media Audio 8, Windows Media Image, MP3, JPEG and TIFF files; stores photo, video and music files; 3.8in LCD screen; rechargeable battery

09/08/04

 

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