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
iPods & MP3 players Reviews
15,669 Reviews

Creative Zen X-Fi review

£95.72 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Creative

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The Creative Zen X-Fi is beyond question a better all-around digital music player than any of Apple's current iPods.

The Creative Zen X-Fi is beyond question a better all-around digital music player than any of Apple's current iPods.

The Creative Zen X-Fi has better sound, superb headphones, an amazing feature set, expandable storage via an SD card slot, an easy-to-use interface that will please users who don't want to work with a touchscreen, and - here's the kicker - the ability to stream and download music from your PC wirelessly. It looks great, too, and it costs about half as much as Apple's current Wi-Fi-enabled iPod Touch players.

The 16GB X-Fi sells for £149. And if that sounds like a bargain, consider that you can also expand the Creative Zen X-Fi player's storage capacity by up to 32GB, thanks to its SD Card slot.

A few features differentiate the Creative Zen X-Fi from the competition. Not only can you download music, video, and images wirelessly from your home computer to the player, but you can also stream media from your computer, from Creative's servers (which offer podcasts and free music), or from a computer on an open network.

Plus, you can fine-tune the already superb sound with the Creative Zen X-Fi's five-band EQ settings; save voice recordings; listen to FM radio; and enjoy the listening experience right out of the box without buying new headphones, thanks to the surprisingly good-sounding Creative EP-830 earbuds included with the unit. The earbuds, which Creative sells separately, fit snugly in the listeners' ears, and provide clear low-end audio, with midrange treble that aren't tinny.

Creative's highly touted X-Fi Xtreme Fidelity Audio playback goes far in helping this player sound amazing. Its signal-to-noise ratio of 83 dB is second only to the SanDisk Sansa Connect's 84 dB in our tests. And the X-Fi earned the best rating of any player we've tested in terms of harmonic distortion and noise - at a barely registering 0.01 percent.

What does that mean for your ears? Creative's X-Fi technology, coupled with the great out-of-the-box earbuds, delivered very deep, clean, well-defined audio. The player supports AAC, MP3, WAV, and WMA formats, as well as Audible audiobooks. You get an on-board speaker as well, but it pumps tinny, clock-radio-quality sound out of its single, small speaker.

NEXT PAGE: limitations

Visit Digital World for the latest home entertainment news and reviews

Creative Zen X-Fi Expert Verdict »

Creative Zen X-Fi 16GB Scores 8.0 out of 10 based on 14 reviews
16GB or 32GB capacity
Built-in Creative X-Fi technology
55x83x12.5mm
70g
SD / SDHC card slot
2.5in screen displaying 16.7 million colours
Built-in speaker
FM Radio with 32 station presets
Battery life: 25 hours audio (15 hours with speaker) based on 128kbps in WMA, 5 hours video
Supported audio formats: MP3, WMA (DRM 10), AAC (M4A), WAVE, Audible
Supported video formats: WMV9, MPEG4, DivX, XviD (320 x 240)
Supported photo format: JPEG (Baseline: Up to 16.6 Mega Pixels)
Voice Recorder format: IMA ADPCM (16 kHz, Mono)
Wireless LAN: Wireless streaming, Downloading of content, Emotive Text Chat with Friends
1-year limited hardware warranty
  • Build Quality: We give this item 8 of 10 for build quality
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 8 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

It's an outstanding digital music player that rises to the top with ease. The masses may continue to think iPod first when they need a new MP3 player - but it will be a shame if they do. The Creative Zen X-Fi is arguably the most innovative, feature-packed player on the market, and it's an absolute steal for the price.

  • Creative ZEN X-Fi2 review

    Creative ZEN X-Fi2

    The Creative ZEN X-Fi2 is the first touchscreen based Portable Media Player (PMP) from Creative's stable. It is a nice looking PMP that has many improved features over the previous X-Fi based players. But as a touchscreen device it may not offer the best experience.

  • 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.

  • 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 Xdock Wireless Music System review

    Creative Xdock Wireless Music System

    The Creative Xdock Wireless Music System is a wireless solution for the iPod that allows affordable streaming of audio around the house.


IDG UK Sites

Microsoft Band UK release date and price rumours, features and specs: Microsoft smartwatch unveiled

IDG UK Sites

Why Sony's PS4 2.0 update is every gamer's dream (well, mine at least)

IDG UK Sites

This Grolsch ad combines stop-motion & CG for majestic results

IDG UK Sites

Apple rumours and predictions for 2015: What to expect from Apple in 2015