Creative Technology CEO: Nomad Jukebox Zen ‘better looking’ than Apple iPod

“In a bid to get a head start on a budding recovery in the global economy, Creative Technology is flooding the stores with a staggering 90 new products between now and the end of the year. Most will be personal digital entertainment (PDE) devices, such as MP3 players and cameras,” Bryan Lee reports for The Singapore Straits Times.

Lee reports, “Chairman and chief executive Sim Wong Hoo said yesterday: ‘We are moving away from a heavy dependence on the sound card and personal computer markets.’ Holding up one of its latest models – the Nomad Jukebox Zen – he proudly declared the slim, silver aluminium pocket-sized device was ‘better looking’ than rival Apple Computer’s pert but pricier iPod.”

Full article here.


  1. Well, Mr. Some One Who has always wanted to get a BIGGER disc.

    I guess he got confused and thought that Apple (Computer) was Apple Adult novelties of Bellingham, WA.

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  2. WOW! It’s got USB 2 in it, the ‘ultra fast’ solution for transfering media!

    Now that I have taken my tongue out of my cheek….. It looks OK, has decent battery life, has an autosync type function, and is fairly light. It should sell well if Creative immerse the market.

    Still…. it’s not an iPod, and never will be. The Creative site doesn’t mention whether it can be used as an external hard disk drive, or if the OS is upgradable, or how the battery is charged.

    Keep working at it Creative, you are copying faily well, but you still need some more work.

  3. I’m sorry, but nothing is ever going to compare to the ease of use as an iPod. The scroll wheel design is fantastic and makes navigation a breeze. The Nomad would be a great alternative if the iPod didn’t exist, but the iPod will always beat it (Now, if Apple would just lower the price, they would have the market cornered!)

  4. Well, he’s entitled to his opinion, but in my personal opinion, the Zen doesn’t come close to the iPod…and this is coming from a PC user. I’ve been absolutely thrilled with my 15GB iPod and wouldn’t trade it for a Zen plus $100 any day of the week…

  5. The Nomad Zen is definitely not “better looking” than the iPod. It is, however, “better” than the iPod. That’s because it’s half as much money for the same storage space, supports the superior Windows Media Audio format, and offers much, much better battery life than the new iPods. So you eletists can keep yammering away, but it’s a better product for most people.

    And yes, Birdseed, Creative’s site DOES mention that it CAN be used as an external hard drive. Twice the capacity at half the price, you know, power for the rest of us. And it’s not “much bigger” than the iPod at all, Nick. Normal pockers work just fine.

  6. Everyone who thinks the iPod is easy to use obviously doesn’t have a new model. The new scrollwheel is too easy to hit by mistake, unlike the old-style mechanical version, causing all kinds of mayhem and frustration during playback unless you “lock” it, which isn’t always what you want. The Nomad Zen, predictably, doesn’t have this problem. Yet another area in which Creative is outdoing Apple.

    Oh, and by the way, Creative was the first company to release a hard drive-based MP3 player. You might say they “innovated” the category (you certainly would if Apple did it first) and that Apple is playing catch-up. The iPod is a great machine, but the Nomad Zen gives the lead firmly back to Creative, obviously. Or it would be obvious if you opinionated people had actually USED these devices.

  7. WMA is superior eh? How come there are so many complaints about the trax having static, DRM up the arse and poor sound quality. Doesn’t sound superior to me.

    Besides, the Zen isn’t all that easy to use and still has syncing problems. Give it up…

  8. Paul,

    The Nomad Zen and Nomad Zen NX both weigh significantly more than the iPod and both are substantially larger than the iPod. Creative fails in the most important feature for a portable music player – portability.

    As I have used both extensively and own both versions of the iPod, it is extremely clear that the iPod is significantly easier to navigate and use, but beyond that, the interface is much, much more flexible. The Creative interface is convoluted at best.

    “…supports the superior Windows Media Audio format…” Well, that’s been debunked time and again. Every independent sound quality analysis has proven WMA to be sorely lacking in depth, high-range reproduction, and clarity. WMA is a pathetic proprietary format that only you Wintel fools promote. No readers of MDN are stupid enough to listen to your blabbering on this subject – you are obviously out of your element.

    By the way, it’s not “eletists”, it’s ELITISTS. Now troll back to the unwashed masses.

  9. *Laugh*

    ” Holding up one of its latest models – the Nomad Jukebox Zen – he (Sim Wong Hoo) proudly declared the slim, silver aluminium pocket-sized device was ‘better looking’ than rival Apple Computer’s pert but pricier iPod.”

    That’s funny, what’s he supposed to say? “Well it’s not a good looking as the iPod, but we’ll hope you like it…”

    Personally I don’t think the Creative devices hold a candle to the Apple ones, despite any price difference. You usually get what you pay for. If the cheaper models work for you, then that’s great, but I certainly find a difference.

  10. Paul, you obviously don’t actually have a new ipod, or you would realize that the ‘sensitivity’ problem you describe doesn’t exist. With the old model (and all other mp3 players) any object in or out of your pocket can push in the mechanical buttons. The new buttons in addition to keeping out lint/sand/etc., only respond to human touch. Which means there is a much smaller chance of interrupting playback of a song.

    Furthermore, with the new button layout the three button that will interrupt playback (<<, >>, and >/||) are all arranged in a line rather than stretching around the scroll wheel. This means they occupy smaller space and are thus easier to avoid with your fingers.

    The new ipod is the most elegant and easy-to-use mp3 player out there, period. That explains why it’s selling better than the zen even though it costs more.

  11. Has anyone tested the Nomad Zen jogging? If it can’t play well while I’m in motion its no good.

    Also, what is the quality of stereo playback. You can argue about codecs as they stand, but how good are the electronics on this device?

    And, 50% heavier is a big deal.

    And, does it have a software program that automatically syncs up playlists?

  12. The new Zen NX is smaller than the original Zen. As far as the electronics, the quality is unmatched as far as the output goes. 98dB signal to noise ratio – iPod is far below that. As far as one critical point though – no Mac drivers or AAC support. It really sucks not being able to use the Nomad players with iTunes. The exception here would be my Nomad MuVo and Jukebox original. I am trying to get some 3rd party people the stuff they need to make an iTunes plug-in, but I doubt it will happen. Especially with all of the PC related online service releases. Notice the player of choice on There are several other services coming too that will work with the Nomad players. As a side note, there is a contest on where you can win speakers and a MuVo NX. I am trying to get the raw video to encode it into QuickTime so we don’t need Real Audio or Windows Media. If I can get it, I’ll post it to my .mac account:


  13. Did any of you both to check the specs before posting. I would not normally get into a product pissing match, but your info is way off the mark.

    Zen NX:
    4.4″ x 3″ x 0.86″ – 7.9 oz with the battery

    iPod 30GB:
    4.1″x 2.4″ x 0.73″ – 6.2 oz with battery (?)

    Check for yourself:

    BTW – notice that Apple does not give you the audio specs on the iPod. Rumor has it that the SNR is only 86 or 87 dB.

    ZEN: (Right Out There Where You Can Find It)

    Signal to Noise Ratio: up to 98dB
    Channel Separation: up to 75dB
    Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz
    Harmonic Distortion Output: <0.1%

    87 to 98 dB might not seem like much of a jump, but remember this is a linear number. An easier way to picture the difference would be to add a zero to the end of each number. Now this is more in line with your other figures you were using for the size. Even my Nomad MuVo has a 93 dB SNR.

    Charging is performed on the power cord (included) or the USB port.

    The original Zen had 1394 and USB, but feedback from our target PC audience said they wanted faster USB and would not use 1394. We found that even with all of the Audigy cards we sold with 1394, only about 4 to 5% of the potential market had 1394. Even Apple has figured this out since they added USB 2 to the doc on the new iPod. In fact, they are touting transfer rates up to 480 Mbs. 1394A = 400 Mbs / USB 2.0 = 480 Mbs – even though you will probably never see the 480 Mbs and 1394 is better.

    The new Zen NX can have the user replace the battery too. I believe someone told me it is like $200+ to get Apple to replace the battery.

    I would agree the iPod controls are very intuitive, but an additional 5 to 10 minutes moving around the Zen is all you need to get up to speed. You will be creating play lists on the PC most of the time any way. Did Apple ever add the ability to create play lists away from the PC?

    The DSP functions of the Zen are well beyond the capabilities of the iPod – including the noise canceling capabilities – it enhances the frequencies where the jet engine or what ever would interfere with your listening experience.

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