Conclusion: The ZEN Stone Plus, at 2GB, has twice the storage of the original ZEN Stone, a screen, FM radio, and voice recording. This is about as cheap as it gets for a reliable 2 GB player (the screen-less 1GB iPod Shuffle is $80), but if storage isn't your main priority, the 1GB Sansa Express is better solution (and costs $10 less).
Pros: Small and lightweight. FM radio. Voice recording. Stopwatch and clock. EQ options. Can delete songs on device itself. Snazzy date/time display.
Cons: Short USB cable. So-so earbuds. Annoyingly long start-up time. No way to monitor voice recorder.
Conclusion: I had my hopes up when i heard that the Stone Plus was getting an upgrade, especially since I ruled against it in the Stone Plus vs Sansa Clip showdown . I was hoping that Creative would fix all the flaws in the previous model and really make the player a good alternative to the Clip, but unfortunately they did not. First of all, the music browsing should have been fixed, and it wasn’t.
Pros: Speaker is both loud and useful, Excellent battery life, Nice set of included accessories, Lots of features for the price, MSC
Cons: Menus are still slow and awkward, Weak radio reception, Lacks more speaker related features, Volume scale would be better with more steps, Equalizer is poor
Summary: A superb package that has 'value for money' written all over it, Creative's Zen Stone Plus With Built-In Speaker is pretty much an iPod shuffle plus a screen â€“ and the bonus of a small speaker. It looks great, does everything you ask and costs just Â£42. Highly recommended â€“ just don't expect too much from that speaker.
Conclusion: First I would like to say I am a fan of Creative’s Zen line of MP3 players. Although they have their issues and deficiencies like any MP3 player, overall they are a solid product line. The Zen Stone Plus has some good things going for it such as MSC data transfer, solid build quality, a nice design, and a decent set of features in a small package. However, personally, the Stone Plus disappointed me. There are two main reasons why the Zen Stone Plus was a disappointment.
Pros: Solid Build, Small form factor, Nice selection of optional accessories, MSC (any OS)
Cons: Awkward interface, Cannot browse individual songs, Lagging interface when music is playing, Poor FM reception
Excerpt: Designed to be an iPod Shuffle beater, the Zen Stone succeeds on several fronts. It’s got a tiny screen so you can actually browse tracks, assuming your eyesight is especially keen; there’s an FM radio built in; and it’s cheaper. Oh, and there’s a speaker on the back of the MP3 player , so you can delight fellow passengers on the bus with your exquisite taste in hardcore ragga.
Pros: The Zen Stone’s sound is a lot more involving than the iPod Shuffle’s and it supports drag-and-drop addition of music, rather than forcing you to use iTunes, WMP or some proprietary nightmare software. It’s tiny but the screen is still usable and build is generally pretty satisfactory. There’s also a mono recorder, which comes in handy for memos, but is perhaps not quite up to the task of satisfactorily bootlegging Radiohead concerts.
Cons: If you get this tiny plastic lump out in public in 2009, people will think you’ve either fallen on hard times or fallen through a time warp from about 2006. The FM radio is not really worth the bother, and if you use the horrible, tinny little speaker in public, you deserve to be defenestrated. There’s no clip of any kind, so gym goers will have to clench it between their steely buttocks instead.
Excerpt: Targeting the iPod shuffle on its own ground, the Creative Zen Stone Plus brings a petite chassis, 2GB capacity and bargain price tag to the party – and trumps its Apple rival with a built-in speaker and screen.