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Creative Zen Vision

Introduction

After the reasonably successful launch of its first mobile audio and video (AV) player, the Zen PMC, Creative now attempts to add sexiness to mobility with its second attempt - and the final result is not bad at all. A sleek design, a brushed-metal finish and extreme compactness all add to the Zen Vision's seduction. Think of it as an attempt to capture the iPod's look and feel, except it is a video player as well as an audio player after all. And what's more, this is the lightest A/V player we seen - only 8.4 oz. (238 grams) including battery, which represents a real design feat.

Creative also had the very good idea of dropping Microsoft's PMC (Portable Media Center) along with all of its shortcomings by developing its own proprietary interface. In theory, the Vision is recognized as a removable disk, with no need for a driver, as soon as you connect it via USB 2.0. I say in theory because that's what Creative claims; but with the version we tested, we still needed to install software for it to be recognized. And the bundled file-transfer application is a mess. It makes you wonder if the software has been tested under actual use conditions. Selecting, transferring and organizing files on the player were all much too complicated. On the other hand, as usual, Creative also bundles MediaSource 2, which is an excellent music-management application.