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The View: Video Display Hardware and Software
Video Monitors and Media Players for field or studio use (all display technologies).

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Old March 6th, 2009, 10:42 AM   #1
Inner Circle
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Billericay, England UK
Posts: 4,711
The big fat MP3 player

Here's a toy Ive had for a couple of years now, and I thought Id give a quick write-up. In reality its a 16:9 screen bolted to a 60 gb hard drive, and you can fill the drive up with any sort of computer files you like. You can store music, pictures, video, data you can even chat into it. You can plug a Compact Flash card into the side (and a small adapter lets you plug in any other type of flash memory card, too) and view your pictures on the excellent screen, and at the same time download the files onto the HD for safe keeping.

The player supports WMA (with DRM), MP3 and WAV; video formats MPEG (1/2/4), DivX, XviD and WMV; plus the JPEG format for stills. The Creative Zen Vision W offers a very crisp and clear 480 x 272 pixel, 4.4-inch, 16:9 format, colour widescreen TFT display. Playback of media is very good and the screen, which is now considerably larger than Sonys PSP, can be viewed in direct sunlight and has many different brightness levels.

60GB on the hard drive means you can get 120 hours of digital video or tens of thousands of photos, and the ability to carry up to 15,000 songs in your pocket. Unlike a lot of other MP3 products this one comes with a removable battery, so you could carry spares or more importantly buy a replacement in 5 years time.

I find no fault with the audio, and a nice pair of Aiwa noise-cancelling phones gives wonderful sound. No quarrel with the image quality either and with the screen on 100% brightness I know my pictures will look good in any light. Just maybe the colour balance is a bit cool, but that's no big deal, and the slide shows are a great way of showing off your work - especially as you can have WMA files playing alongside the pictures.

What grieves me about the machine is this. Movies I've made and films I download are never really smooth, and pans and tilts show this up as quite a fault. I've tried encoding at various frame sizes, quality levels and using different file formats - all to no avail. I may be getting a bit picky here (Im generally known for it), but it is worth mentioning to anyone out to spend 245. Remember that this is half the price of a (much more cumbersome) lap-top, but even so it gets an 8 out of 10 from me. And when you hand the unit to someone, clamp headphones around their head and push play, youll give it top marks for the way people are mesmerised and drawn into the films it is able to show.

This is a lovely piece of kit - no two ways about it. The picture isn't quite as detailed as the much thicker Epsom for the same money, but the 16:9 aspect ratio screen was the clincher for me. Excellent sound quality through the supplied phones and an intuitive menu that lets you access anything with speed and ease. The picture's big enough for Gran to see and the James Bond trailer has people gasping as they watch, so intimate is the experience. It's a bit of a lump if all you want is MP3 music, but if you're into making movies (as I am) then it makes YouTube look like rubbish.

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