Should I exchange my Creative Zen 30gb for an Ipod 10gb?

I’m in a quandary. I received the aforementioned mp3 player as a Christmas gift, because iPods were pretty difficult to get at the time, but with the caveat that it could be exchanged for the iPod as they become available. I’ve read various reviews, and it seems that both players have their advantages and disadvantages. The bottom lines seem to be:

-Better audio output than iPod
-three times the storage space (30gb)
-Weaker interface, buttons are somewhat annoying
-Smaller screen

-Very slick design
-Excellent interface
-10gb space
-Shorter battery life
-Much lighter and lower profile than the Zen
-Larger display
-Better integration into your desktop (it appears as an actual drive, making it a better portable hard drive).

The two products are about the same price (somewhat annoyingly, as I suspect Apple’s profit margin is much higher than Creative’s), so that has no real bearing on the decision. If the iPod had the same amount of storage space, I would definitely go with it, but I’m wondering how quickly that 10gb will be eaten up.

So, has anyone used both products? Anyone have any strong opinions on which I should go for? Interface is pretty important to me, as is design/form factor (ok, I’m shallow). Also, this may be used while jogging/etc; will that affect the performance of either?

I think iPods are upwards of 40gb (20gb too) models now. Pricier though.

…Also, design factor doesn’t make you shallow. Design factor is a very important part of buying a product. And the iPod site says it gives you 25 minutes of skip protection. Sounds like a typo to me, but if it’s that good, i’ll be getting one soon.

occ: Jogging with a hard-drive based player is always risky business. While the drives aren’t exactly fragile, the sharp jolts it will be given during a run have the potential to seriously damage the player’s hard drive. As for your comments on the positives and negatives of each player, the Zen’s interface is nowhere near as bad as some claim. It’s no iPod, but I found the Zen interface to be fairly easy to use.

I purchased a 20GB Zen in May and it’s already full - I need a new player now to hold the 35GB of music I have on my computer! How much music do you have now? How often do you purchase new music? If you don’t have a significant amount, and if you don’t purchase new music too often, 10GB should be fine. But if you have a larger collection of music, you’ll want to take into account the fact that you might not be able to fit everything on that iPod.

How long will you be using the player without access to a power outlet? Under real-world conditions, my Zen goes for about 11-12 hours on a single charge. The iPod will likely last you about 7 hours.

Really, the choice is yours. If you plan to carry around a large collection of music, want better sound quality, and need long battery life, go with the Zen. If you want a lighter, smaller player with a somewhat better interface, and don’t plan to carry around a large music library, go with the iPod.

Quick note: the 25 min skip protection is not a typo. The iPod achieves its battery life by loading songs from the hard drive into a small RAM? chip for playback.

Otherwise I agree with cheddarsnax that it depends on how much music you wish to store. Though for me, using my iPod as a hard drive for things other than music has proved invaluable.

Lastly, rumors are that the iPod is due for a kind of refresh during MacWorld expo in January: rumors are new 2GB and 4GB iPods.

My guess would be solid-state flash memory, but don’t quote me on that.

Sorry, I know this is a little off topic but I have also been trying to work out which of these two I want to buy…

I’m thinking very much along the lines of the Zen but I was wondering could anyone tell me whether it can be used for anything other than music?

Sometimes I need to carry large files around (about 1gb) and it would be outragiously helpful if the Zen worked as an external hard drive

I have used an ipod before and they were quite fantastic but too small capacity wise and I’m not massively sure I’d be willing to pay that much for a version with more space…


Thanks in advance

We do not recommend jogging with a Zen. I work in Creative’s RMA department and a lot of the units we get in for repair need hard drive replacements. More than a few have messed up hard drives from people wearing them while exercising. The impact shocks eventually totally screw it up. And when your hard drive needs to be replaced, you lose your music. We get a lot of people cranky because we can’t save their music from their old drives. Don’t even get me started on some of the stupid things people have done to their Zens who then get cranky because we won’t replace it for free.

I have never heard anyone say a Zen could be used for storing anything but music, Furry Mongoose. I myself don’t own one, I can’t afford the prices on them. But I recall Dell having one in their catalogue a few months back that stored image files as well as MP3s and I think maybe even text files.

You can use the Creative File Manager software to put non-music files on the Zen.

Well, the iPod is THE mp3 player–everything else is pretty much second rate regarding functionality, portability, interface, coolness, and integration with your computer’s operating system. If you encode your mp3s or AACs at around 160 kbps then you should be able to store about 5 days worth of music on it. I also use my iPod to store digital photos using a separate media reader. You cannot view the photos, but you eliminate shlepping around a laptop to offload your camera’s memory card which is so handy on a vacation. Also, the integration with audio books is outstanding. The bookmarks hold, even after you listen to music.

I thought that I would fill up my 15gig iPod, but I keep it at around 10gigs and love to refresh my collection every two weeks or as whimsy demands.

The alleged sound improvements of the Zen is based on purely subjective reports. If you want an argument by authority about the good quality of the iPod’s sound, then check out Stereophile which gushed about the device.

The battery life is a non-issue for me as I use a car charger while driving to work now and then, and then stick the thing in the self-charging Firewire computer dock when I get home.

I am sure the Zen is a good device, but the iPod is great.

I don’t have either device, but I want to point out that I have 465 pieces of music in my iTunes playlist (a total of 1.1 days of music) and it only takes up 1.86 GBs. I think that it shouldn’t be too much of a hardship to keep your collection of MP3s under 10GBs. And you could always rotate and switch around. Certainly, with several days worth of music stored on your MP3 device at one time, you wouldn’t be worrying about not having something to listen to!

I don’t have either device, but I’ve heard from folks who’ve done day-long cross-country skiing with their iPods, without any problems. Jogging with an iPod is a non-problem.

Do check out the iRiver iHP-120 as well.