Creative Labs latest MP3 player, simply called the Creative Zen is a credit-card sized player ready to take on the nano. So does it? Pocket-lint was given access at IFA 2007 with the new player.

When they say credit-card sized, Creative really mean it, and in true fanfare style when we set eyes on the device for the first time, it was behind an American Express credit card.

So it's small, but surprising the screen is big. The little player (measuring just 55 x 83 x 12mm) boasts a 16.7 million colour 2.5-inch colour screen and will be available in models with 4, 8 or 16GB storage.

Somehow amongst the screen, the series of buttons down the side, Creative has even managed to fit in an SD card slot for expansion.

Couple the Zen with Panasonic's 16GB SDHC card or if you can get your hands on it from Japan, Toshiba's 32GB SDHC card, and you've got 10,000 songs in your pocket in a device half the size of the 5th generation iPod but with the same screen real estate. Impressive.

A particularly format friendly little fella, the new Zen will happily play music in AAC format (so it will play DRM-fee iTunes offerings), MP3 and WMA and likes tunes from subscription services.

On the video front it will play video in 320 x 240 resolution straight from MPEG4, DivX, XviD and WMV formats, software is provided to auto convert other video files.

Failing all that, there is also a built-in FM radio with 32 station presets (something the iPods still lack), a voice recorder, and a personal organiser, which can synchronise contacts, to do lists, and calendars with Microsoft Outlook.

First Impressions

So what's it like in the hand? Well from our brief play we were impressed. The player is small, but the memory and screen large.

While for us this is no iPod killer, it is a very, very good alternative to Apple's 5th Generation iPod and iTunes offering for those keen to use other services on the market.

The Creative Zen will be out in the next couple of weeks.