Summary: Another marvellous offering from Creative, the nice-looking Creative Zen Stone 2GB With Built-In Speaker takes the iPod shuffle's winning formula, boosts the battery life, lowers the price (the 2GB shuffle costs Â£45) and adds a small speaker. It's not quite as user-friendly as Apple's market-leading gadget, but this is an excellent purchase.
Excerpt: MP3 players seem to be getting smaller and lighter with each new model. Some may lack features or just not have any, but hey, all I want to do is listen to music. What's next – an MP3 player that fits directly into our ears and plays music? But truth be told I’m all for miniaturization of gizmos provided, of course, they can live up to a certain standard. The Zen Stone (it should have been called the Pebble considering its smooth curved surfaces) is just this.
Summary: The Creative Zen Stone is a fantastic choice as a secondary MP3 player or for first timers on a budget who want a simple, great-sounding device with limited features and a bargain basement price tag.
Pros: The Creative Zen Stone is an exceptional bargain, and it comes in a choice of six colors. It offers good sound quality, is easy to use, and includes a standard mini-USB port for syncing and charging. It supports Audible files and has a Skip Folder function that makes it easy to skip through groups of tracks.
Cons: The Creative Zen Stone has no screen, no extra features, and no built-in clip like that of the iPod Shuffle. The rated battery life is unimpressive.
Conclusion: With a $40 USD price tag, the Creative Zen Stone is a pretty bare MP3 player . Those looking for digital audio players with advanced features like audio enhancement and OGG support will definitely want to look elsewhere, as will those who desire a OSD (on screen display) to control their entertainment experience.
Pros: Quality sound from a budget player; can be used as a USB mass storage device; easy to use
Cons: Cannot play while charging; included earbuds are uncomfortable; where's the software?
Conclusion: The Zen Stone is an extremely basic screenless 1GB MP3 player. Without a screen, Creative added some nice features that allow you to easily and blindly navigate your tunes. The Zen Stone works with all modern operating systems and doubles as a standard data flash drive, making loading music and other files as easy as it gets. I really have a hard time finding a reasonable complaint for a screenless MP3 player priced at $40.
Summary: Like its Zen Stone Plus sibling , the Creative Zen Stone 2GB With Built-In Speaker is treading on Apple's toes: specifically, it's gunning for the iPod shuffle. And we think it should fancy its chances.