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LEAK: Creative Zen Vision - it's the "PMC plus" and compact at that
Posted by Arne Hess - on Friday, 10.06.05 - 14:26:14 CET under 01 - General News - Viewed 12025x
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I'm a big fan of portable media solutions since - I have to admit - they better fulfill my portable media requirements than a Windows Mobile Pocket PC or Smartphone does. Sure, a Pocket PC or Smartphone can also play music and videos and it's a question of getting the best in class device for my requirements (which is the reason why I prefer Pocket PC Phone Editions over Symbian UIQ and Smartphones over Series60 devices).
My portable media needs are fulfilled with an Apple iPod (for music) and a Creative Zen PMC (Portable Media Center). As good the Creative PMC is (in cooperation with a Windows Media Center Edition) it lacks (by Portable Media Center specification) some features I would like to see with these type of devices.

Looks like Creative also noticed it and they are going to introduce a new kind of "Portable Media Center" device which isn't - however - not based on Microsoft's Windows Mobile PMC concept.

Australian online shop has accidentally leaked the device images and references to it and before they've pulled the plug, DAPReview was able to scribble down the details:

Ehm, this is new to us. Creative seems to be busy keeping itself busy (huh?), these days. After the Neeon and the 20GB Zen, there's this portable media player called "Zen Vision". Looking for Australian price levels on the Zen Neeon (yeah, we get the strangest requests through e-mail every now and then), we stumbled upon this particular device while browsing some Ozzie shop called "mp3direct".

The current Creative PMP, the PMC-120, never really caught on with a large public. It's priced pretty steeply, doesn't really do all that much and it's not any pocket-friendlier than the bulk of its competitors. Creative wanted some revenge, we guess.

So what is known about this "Zen Vision" then? Named website lists a bunch of (preliminary) specs and features, so let's just sum those up.

  • Capacity Size: 30GB HDD, 1.8-inch
  • Built-in Compact Flash slot
  • Audio Formats Supported: MP3, WMA, and WAV
  • FM Radio: Yes, Internal
  • Enhanced Sound: 8 Preset EQ
  • Voice Recording: Yes, Direct Encoding: No, FM Radio Recording: No
  • Video formats Supported: MPEG4, WMV, Dvix, XviD
  • Picture support (JPEG & TIFF)
  • Display: 640x480 pixels 64,000 Colour 3.7-inch TFT-LCD Display
  • Interface Type: Buttons, multi-directional control
  • Connectivity: USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Backwards Compatible)
  • Internal Microphone: Yes
  • Battery: Internal Lithium-Ion Rechargeable
  • Battery Replacement: User Removable,. Rechargeable: power point or USB
  • Unit Dimensions: 124.2 x 74.4mm x 20.1mm
  • Unit Weight: 232 Grams (with battery)

Seems it still doesn't support video-recording, sadly enough. However, it's way more compact than the PMC-120 ever was (144 x 80.7 x 27 mm), as well as pretty lightweight (PMC weighed 340g, so the Vision weighs about one iPod Mini less). In fact, this makes it one of the more compact video players around, and that while offering a 3.7-inch screen and all. Weird thing: it's also some 40 bucks (well, 50 Australian bucks) cheaper than its predecessor, while offering 10GB additional storage capacity. We're talking about a price just below 700 Australian Dollars (435 Euro while we're at it).

Looks like that this device will come available at the end of June. We'll keep you posted if more information pops up.

Wow, looks like a sweet device and feature-wise it mostly includes everything I miss with my Creative Zen PMC like the built-in CF slot (which is pretty handy if you want to use the PMC in holidays to watch the photos you snapped during the day - without synchronizing them first from your Notebook to your device). But, sad enough, it doesn't inclludes Wi-Fi to use it for media streaming (which is another reason why I still use my Pocket PC for media access).

Cheers ~ Arne

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Posted by Marcio on 14.06.05 - 19:19:14

I sure hope that Creative introduces a lot more accessories for this device than what they introduced for it predecessor.  Also i hope that the display can compete to the resolution that the Sony PSP has.  I have a Creative Zen PMC and the display is bad because you have to have the device at a certain angle otherwise you cannot see the display while the Sony PSP display is so crisp that you can view it at any angle.  Following is a brief history of me with Creative and how I have grown to be weary of the Portable Media Centers.  I have a Creative Zen PMC and when buying it i beleived that it would fullfill all of my portable media needs.  Well, it turns out that a lot of media, especially video, has to be converted in order to load it into the PMC.  So movies, sometimes can take a while to synch to the PMC since the conversion delays the synch process.  Audio files have to be tag correctly, otherwise if you have "mixed" singles that you ripped from various albums, you are not going to have them in one catergory list or the same playlist you had on your WMP10.  All audio files must have the same Album listed otherwise some files will go into one folder and others will go into another, making it difficult if you are looking for a specific song and no knowing in what folder it is.  I had my Zen for about 3 months and then it went into Error 5.  Which is a hard disk error and you have to contact Creative in order to replace it since there is nothing that you can do to have this problem corrected.  You have to ship the item yourself and pay for shipping, wait about 2 weeks and then get a replacement.  My replacement also got Error 5 in about 2 months and this time Creative gave me the hardest time to get a new replacement.  I called and emailed them constantly always waiting for a supervisor call back which never happened.  I finally got a hold of someone and they approved my replacement, i sent the player again and waited for the new one.  i now have fear of using the product because it might once again  go into Error 5, and maybe this time Creative wont replace it.  One of the Drawback of this player is that Creative has very little support and accessories for it.  They give you the hardware but will not support any type of Creative or third party Software to use the device with.  No updates have been made in the Firmware since December of '04.  I believe that they just gave up on this model and started fresh with the Zen Vision.

Posted by Arne Hess on 14.06.05 - 20:27:08

Marcio, thanks for sharing your impressions and beside Error 5 (which I haven't seen yet - knocking on wood), I fully agree with your impressions in terms of the display (320x240 only half that good and crisp as todays Pocket PCs) and the angle problem as well as the limited accessories. Maybe it's a general problem of the PMC concept?

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