The Creative Zen V Plus is an iPod-nano killer with a difference: it might actually be better than Apple's media player.
When PC Advisor reviewed Creative's Zen V we were delighted to find a device that looked vaguely iPod nano-esque, but didn't feature the same fiddly clickwheel that dominates Apple's – and many of its imitators' – digital audio players.
Considering the Creative Zen V Plus' addition of an FM radio and video playback, and a tag just £8 greater than its predecessor, the Mac brigade can keep their iPods. The Creative Zen V Plus is a PlaysForSure player, meaning it's designed to integrate with Windows Media Player and any online music stores of the same ilk. You can record tracks from another playback device via the Creative Zen V Plus' bundled line-in cable, too.
But while we applaud Creative for spurning wheel-based menu navigation, we'd have preferred one to the cheap-feeling, five-way joystick with which the Creative Zen V Plus is saddled and that is guaranteed to gather grime.
Still, being somewhat stubbier than Apple's iPod nano, and at the expense of only a few grams, the Creative Zen V Plus feels meaty. It's simple to use one-handed, with buttons ergonomically positioned for the left thumb.
The Creative Zen V Plus is small enough to comfortably slip into a pocket and, although its polished casing is a magnet for fingerprints, it won't scratch easily. Creative supplies an oversized with the V Plus, but its hardiness means you won't need to use it.
With the Creative Zen V Plus you don't get top-end extras such as built-in Wi-Fi – something Microsoft's Zune player sports – but video playback on the Creative Zen V Plus' 1.5in, 128x128-pixel Oled screen will inspire envy.