“Apple Computer’s iPod remains the king of digital music players, but robust pretenders to the throne have begun to emerge in the Windows universe. One of them is the Zen Touch, from Creative Labs… which compares favorably with the iPod,” John P. Mello Jr. writes for The Boston Globe. “Selling on the Internet from $219 to $254, a 20-gigabyte model will put less of a dent in a bank account than comparable Apple units, which cost $289 to $299.”
“Its controls are more conventionally designed than the iPod’s. I found them more intuitive to use. Call me hopelessly reactionary, but I like dedicated buttons to turn an appliance on and off and to raise and lower the volume. The Zen Touch has them; the iPod doesn’t. I also found the Creative unit’s touchpad more instinctive to use. Its vertical shape better reflects its function — moving a selector up and down on its 2.1-inch screen — than the iPod’s circular arrangement,” Mello Jr. writes.
“While the iPod is wedded to one PC jukebox, iTunes, and primarily one music store, Apple’s, the Zen Touch can accept purchased music from a variety of Internet listening posts, such as MusicMatch and Napster,” Mello Jr. writes. “Better yet, the Creative music player is compatible with the recently released Microsoft Windows Media Player version 10. A nice feature of that software is that it supports multiple storefronts. That allows you to transfer tracks bought at several online stores to the Zen Touch through a single application.”
Mello Jr. writes, “The Zen Touch is a next-generation digital music player that gives listeners flexibility not found in the Apple universe. For PC users, it’s an antidote to iPod envy.”
Full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Who needs an “antidote to iPod envy” when one can purchase an actual iPod that works with Mac and Windows? Flexibility? iPod users have iTunes with the world’s largest library at the same or better prices. Some of us, gasp, even prefer AAC to WMA. Microsoft’s fouled up the PC world so much, do you want them to foul up your music, too? iPod’s control wheel is patented for a reason and it sure isn’t surpassed by a bunch of dedicated buttons; only the most hopeless Windows PC user would believe Zen beats iPod here. Since when does cluttered redundancy trump minimal elegance? Face it, if you met your friend somewhere and pulled out your iPod, he’d leave his Zen Touch securely in his pocket unmentioned. And that, dear readers, is just the way it is, no matter what John P. Mello Jr. scribbles.