Creative Zen Vision W media player - FIRST LOOK review

The Creative Zen Vision W is the company's widescreen media player and sees the Creative return to offering a widescreen display to make watching movies and TV content considerably easier than on its pocketable Vision M device.

Pocket-lint managed to get our hands on the new player at this year's IFA in Berlin, Germany.

Readers wondering if they are experiencing déjà vu shouldn't be worried. We've seen the Vision W before in the guise of the Creative Zen Vision launched at the tail end of 2005.

What Creative has done is expanded the hard drive space and expanded the screen to achieve that widescreen format.

A year on and the interface is still the same (it’s the same as the Vision M as well) and the compact flash card offering is still present.

Likewise the formats the player supports is also the same: WMA (with DRM), MP3 and WAV; video formats MPEG (1/2/4), DivX, XviD and WMV; plus the JPG (JPEG) format for stills.

Where the unit differs is the inclusion of that wider screen. The Vision W offers a very crisp and clear 480 x 272 pixel, 4.3-inch, 16:9 format, colour widescreen TFT display compared to a previous 3.7-inch 262K colour TFT screen (640 x 480 pixels).

Like before the screen is so dominating and clear that not only is there barely room for any additional controls on the unit but in our encounter with the player we kept wanting to touch the screen to access the controls.

Playback of media is very good and the screen, which is now considerably larger than Sony’s PSP even withstood the glare of stand lights at the show. Watching War of the Worlds on it was easy.

Like the company's Vision M, to access the content, Creative has opted for its own interface rather than teaming up with Microsoft as it did in its first incarnation of this style of device and it is easy to navigate around once you’ve transferred content over to it.

The Vision W gets a bump from 30GB to 60GB on the hard drive font and this means that users will get 120 hours of digital video or tens of thousands of photos, and the ability to carry up to 15,000 songs in their pocket just like the iPod Video.

Verdict

Movie downloading and watching on the go has become even more of a buzz word in the last 12 months and Creative's plan here is to keep at it in the hope that eventually it will succeed.

With Apple expected to announce a movie download store and with it a possible Video iPod with widescreen display Creative will be at the centre of a battle to win consumers' hearts when it comes to watching movies on the go. The offering is very similar to the Creative Zen, merely with a bigger storage space and a wider screen. When it launched in 2005 we favoured the Sony PSP for it had the added benefit of being able to play games as well as movies.

This time around and the same still stands, however now Creative is likely to have to battle against Apple and the iPod.

We like the Creative Vision W. It looks good, has plenty of storage space and a really great screen, we are just still not convinced this is the player to win over the movie download crowd to be crowned a Hot Product.