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iPods & MP3 players Reviews
15,670 Reviews PC Advisor Gold Award

Creative Zen Stone Plus 2GB With Built-In Speaker

£42 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Creative

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

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.

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.

With its cute, rounded body and range of attractive colours, the Creative Zen Stone Plus is obviously designed to appeal to the fashion-conscious gadgeteer. But it's also a practical item, fitting neatly into a pocket or clipping to clothing with a supplied detachable clip. A touch bigger than the also new Creative Zen Stone, the Stone Plus has a screen and an FM radio where its sister product has neither.

The Creative Zen Stone Plus is slightly bigger than the iPod shuffle, too, but there's a good reason for this, as you shall see.

See also:

iPod shuffle review

Firstly, the Creative Zen Stone Plus, unlike its lower-spec Stone sibling, incorporates a small monochrome screen. This makes navigation easier (although, as is generally the case with this market segment, it's still not a dream, thanks to the simplistic folder structure) and adds something to the look of the thing, which is important in a gadget.

More intriguingly, there's a speaker built into the back of the Creative Zen Stone Plus. Which is rather exciting. Admittedly, this isn't the most powerful speaker in the world – a block party is probably out of the question, what with the shortage of bass oomph – but it's still nice to have for light picnic accompaniment. (Or annoying grown-ups on the bus, more likely.)

The rest of the Creative Zen Stone Plus package is thoroughly respectable: 2GB capacity (a decent complement, and possibly too large a volume of music to be relying on such a basic navigational structure); USB 2.0 connectivity; FM radio; voice recording; dedicated volume buttons. The claimed battery life is an excellent 20 hours, comparing favourably with the iPod shuffle's 12 hours.

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Creative Zen Stone Plus 2GB With Built-In Speaker Expert Verdict »

Creative Zen Stone Plus 2GB Scores 8.6 out of 10 based on 53 reviews
Portable audio player
2GB capacity
MP3/WMA/AAC (unprotected only)
speaker
FM radio
microphone
USB 2.0
claimed battery life 20 hours
64x64-pixel display
1-year limited hardware warranty
55x18x36mm
21g
  • Build Quality: We give this item 9 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 8 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 10 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

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 – and the bonus of a small speaker. It looks great, does everything you ask and costs just £42. Highly recommended – just don't expect too much from that speaker.

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    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.

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    Creative’s Zen Vision W, being larger-screened and chunkier, is designed for video above all other functions, but the Apple iPod Video sits elegantly on the fence. It’s an oversized music player but smaller than your average full-blown portable video player. Whether this is a plus or a drawback depends on your point of view.

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    SanDisk first showed off its very small music-only Sansa Clip player last summer, no doubt because it was when new iPod designs were being launched.

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    Creative and Apple have long been arch enemies in the MP3 player market. Now it looks as though Creative fancies another go, snapping at Apple's foreshortened Shuffle.


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