Before we begin, I'd like to get one thing straight. Although it can display photos slideshows, play music, videos and extract data from a CF Card, the Zen Vision W IS NOT an Epson P-4000 (or P-2000) equivalent. The Epson was primarily designed to be a photographer's portable storage device with the video and music player as additional features. The Zen Vision W, on the other hand, was designed, or being marketed primarily as a portable video and music player with data extraction from a CF card as additional feature.
Rubber flaps protecting the A/V Out and A/C socket.
I've suspected that after seeing it's technical specifications wherein it supports a variety of music and video formats but for photos, it supports only the JPEG format - no RAW, not even TIFF or BMP. It also has only one slot for CF cards although multi-card reader adaptor can be bought as a separate accessory.
Power switch and volume control on top of the unit.
I bought the Zen for the purpose of portable storage for my photo shoots during the 15th Asian Games. My 2.5 Gb worth of CF cards are usually sufficient but shooting sports is different - this is when I use my camera like a machine gun and when 2.5 Gb gets easily used up. So when I bought the Zen, I made sure that it is up to the task. The video and music player function is not that relevant to me but a welcome bonus, nevertheless.
iPod lovers will perhaps hate this gadget. But how do you fit 4.3" screen into a body the size of an iPod? The screen dictated its size. The layout is very well made packing the screen and essential control buttons into a device that is made as compact as possible.
The 16:9 inch screen is a delight. Bright and clear, watching videos or photo slide shows is great. It's like a "mini LCD HDTV". Viewing photos here is much, much better than in any camera's built in LCD screen.
USB Port at the bottom and an expansion for a soon-to-be-available cradle.
The essential buttons are located at the right occupying the most minimum of space. Their use is intuitive and you almost don't need to read the manual to get how it works. They are well made and sturdy. Pressing the directional buttons is a tiring activity especially when you have to click it a hundred times to go through a folder of photos. The two volume control buttons are on top of the unit. They are conveniently located although I still feel that they should be in front along with the other buttons.
Control buttons are mostly located on the right front. The layout along with the menu system is intuitive and one almost don't need to read the instructions manual.
While the other buttons are tightly fixed, the power slide switch is unbelievably loose. It' already starting to rattle. Not that it would break anytime soon but the rattling sound is just starting to get annoying.
Many will not like the single, CF-card-only slot of the Zen vision W. It has been the same design as its predecessor the Zen Vision. I believe that Creative should have accommodated other card formats with this model instead of selling a separate adaptor. Nevertheless, I bought this gadget to extract data from my CF cards so I'm not complaining about it yet.
- End of Part 1