The digital music player industry is similar to any other competitive industry. That is, there is always a leader and there is always someone ready to knock the leader off their perch. Enter the Creative Labs Zen Micro, the anti-iPod. Shasta to iPod’s Coke.
The folks at Creative have designed one of the most competitively priced and durable products on the market today. The Zen Micro comes in three different sizes, 4GB (1000 songs), 5GB (1250 songs), and 6GB (1500 songs). Put the sizes with the prices, starting at $179 up to $229, and you have a very viable option in opposition to the iPod monster.
Creative opposes Apple’s “clicking wheel” with a more traditional vertical touch-pad, customized to the consumer. The Zen Micro also has the capability to store 32 FM stations and record them on your demand, in addition to having a built-in voice recorder. The battery life of 12 hours is very competitive in the extremely aggressive market.
The smart people at Creative decided to pick up where Apple drops off by providing a more durable alternative to the ultra-fragile iPod series. The Zen Micro is a great option for someone looking for a workout buddy due to its more than necessary disk space and sleek design. It’s easy to navigate and even easier to load, without the same hurdles posed by the iPod formats.
The drawback of all of the Creative Labs products is the fact that they are seen as the “also ran” of the industry by retailers. You can easily find the hardware or ear phones, but when it comes to carrying cases or FM transmitters you have to search online. Retail electronics stores cater to the iPod crowd due to its success in the pop culture crowd, Creative Labs are the generic, “off-brand”.
Depending on your preference, this is a product that is worth a deep look or two. The product itself is tremendously easy to use and more durable than the iPod systems, but it’s sometimes like having a little-known, foreign car. You can find the accessories, but you may be looking for a while.