We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
Audio Reviews
15,670 Reviews

Creative Zen 4GB digital audio player

£100 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Creative

Our Rating: We rate this 3.5 out of 5

Creative's Zen 4GB is the sort of commendable digital audio player that would make serious waves in an iPod-free world.

How different life would be if Apple hadn't made its foray into the world of portable audio. Creative's Zen 4GB, for example, is the sort of commendable digital audio player that would make serious waves in an iPod-free world. Indeed, we were thoroughly impressed when we opened the deluxe packaging – until we placed it alongside Apple's most recent nano (Apple's most recent nano (reviewed here)

The Creative Zen 4GB is a neat-looking, portable device that fits comfortably in a trouser pocket. It's also reassuringly robust. Creative has gone for a gloss finish on the front and matte on the back for a fairly pleasing look that combines attractive shine with a non-slip grip. Yet the Creative Zen 4GB still looks cheap compared with the nano, which costs the same amount at this capacity.

The Zen's buttons are easy to use, but they have a distinctly plastic feel to them – not the worst crime in MP3 player history, but a black mark. The whole impression made by the Creative Zen 4GB is of a product that's competently put together but a year or two behind the nano.

Nonetheless, the slightly outdated-looking Creative Zen 4GB does everything you ask of it. The interface is simple and effective – the hardware layout, once again, lacks the clean minimalism of the iPod, but it gets the job done. There's no dedicated volume button – a bugbear of ours – but since this function is accessed by the rarely used up and down keys rather than a scrollwheel, the chances of a volume accident are reduced.

There are a couple of areas in which the Creative Zen 4GB gets its own back on the nano. First, it has a larger screen – 2.5in rather than 2in – although it has the same resolution (320x240), which means the iPod feels distinctly sharper in general use.

The larger screen is just about enough to make video playback a feasible option on the Zen – any sort of prolonged video watching on the nano is liable to instigate a headache – and it proved adept at playing sharp, defined moving images.

A second and probably more significant plus point is the Creative Zen 4GB’s SD Card slot, which allows you to significantly boost your memory allocation.

Verdict


A decent showing from Creative, but the Creative Zen 4GB suffers from comparison with Apple's ultra-desirable iPod nano. Video playback and the SD Card slot are plus points, however.

Creative Zen 4GB Expert Verdict »
Creative Zen 4GB Scores 8.8 out of 10 based on 79 reviews
Portable audio/video player
4GB capacity
2.5in LCD screen (up to 16.7 million colours)
supports AAC/MP3/WMA/WAVE
Audible
WMV/DivX/XviD 320x240 video playback
battery life 25 hours (audio)
5 hours (video)
built-in FM radio and microphone
SD/SDHC card slot
1 year limited hardware warranty
83x12x55mm
65g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 7 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 7 of 10 overall

A decent showing from Creative, but the Creative Zen 4GB suffers from comparison with Apple's ultra-desirable iPod nano. Video playback and the SD Card slot are plus points, however.

Price comparison powered by Reevoo

£190
  • Creative Zen V Plus media player

    Creative Zen V Plus media player

    The Creative Zen V Plus is an iPod-nano killer with a difference: it might actually be better than Apple's media player. Read PC Advisor's review of the the Creative Zen V Plus to find out why.

  • Creative Zen 8GB review

    Creative Zen 8GB

    Creative's superslim Zen has an attractive 2.5in colour display, an FM tuner, a built-in microphone, robust video- and photo-viewing capabilities and the ability to import contact management information. And the Creative Zen 8GB even plays music.

  • Creative ZEN MX review

    Creative ZEN MX

    The Creative ZEN MX is a good media player with generous features, and its software doesn't attempt to stage a coup against other media applications on your PC.

  • Creative ZEN X-fi Style review

    Creative ZEN X-fi Style

    The Creative ZEN X-fi Style is a compact MP3 player to rival players such as the iPod nano or Cowon iAudio 9.

  • Samsung S3 Slim review

    Samsung S3 Slim

    The 4GB Samsung S3 Slim fills the void that Apple and Microsoft created in discontinuing the iPod nano of the same capacity. This slick player isn't as feature-packed as the iPod nano, but it's very affordable and offers excellent sound quality.


IDG UK Sites

Where to buy iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in the UK: Launch day price, deals and contracts

IDG UK Sites

Is Apple losing confidence in itself?

IDG UK Sites

Professional photo and video techniques for perfect colours

IDG UK Sites

How (and where) to buy an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus in the UK. Plus: What to do if you pre-ordered...