Feeds
80%
Creative Zen Stone MP3 player (black)

Creative Zen Stone MP3 player

More of a pebble than a stone really

Security for virtualized datacentres

Controls are simple enough for even the most ardent technophobe: the central play/pause button doubles as on/off switch, with volume levels and forward/back skip replicating the tried and tested iPod design format. The top of the device has a sliding bar that allows you to choose standard play format, shuffle, or skip to the next folder of music. In fact, this is probably one of the key differentiators from the Shuffle, it’s nice to be able to store multiple albums and move from one to the other – which doesn’t make up for the lack of screen, but makes it a lot less of an issue, especially considering the low price of the device. While there is no limit to the number of folders/albums, there is a limit of 1000 files, which may restrict some users. Also, songs not in a folder will be played first.

Creative Zen Stone MP3 player (group shot)

The Zen Stone is a UMS/MSC type of MP3, which means it plays with any operating system without the need to download software – Windows, Linux, Mac, you name it – an all too rare moment of common sense from an MP3 manufacturer. This means folders/files can be simply dragged and dropped to the device, each album taking around a minute – mercifully quick and easy. As well as MP3s, the Zen Stone takes both unprotected and purchase-only WMAs.

Creative recommends users to download its Creative Media Lite software for the best user experience, which is up to individual taste really. It offers basic features like CD burning, music transfer, folder organiser and a battery-level read-out, together with a volume-setting function protected by password, which will surely only appeal to meddlesome parents keen to protect their little tykes’ eardrums. The device can also store other files on it if you want to.

The sound quality on this little number is pretty good too, at least it’s certainly good enough to compete with all the other wannabes on the market vying for a little chunk of Apple’s market share. In keeping with the basic look and feel of this product it doesn’t have EQs, but that’s no great loss.

Verdict

Whether you prefer this to the Shuffle really might depend on how many DRM-protected iTunes tracks you’ve bought. If the answer’s none/few, then it’s worth considering, primarily as a secondary player to take with you on occasions where you need something very light, and which won’t cost too much to replace if it gets damaged. In addition the folder-skip function gives it a big advantage over the Shuffle, and for something priced at under £30, it's certainly worth considering.

New hybrid storage solutions

80%
Creative Zen Stone MP3 player (black)

Creative Zen Stone MP3 player

Creative Shuffles up to Apple's door, Stone in hand...
Price: A snip at just £28 ($55/€41) RRP

More from The Register

next story
Apple iPhone 6: Missing sapphire glass screen FAIL explained
They just cannae do it in time, says analyst
Oh noes, fanbois! iPhone 6 Plus shipments 'DELAYED' in the UK
Is EMBIGGENED Apple mobile REALLY that popular?
Apple's big bang: iPhone 6, ANOTHER iPhone 6 Plus and WATCH OUT
Let's >sigh< see what Cupertino has been up to for the past year
The Apple Watch and CROTCH RUBBING. How are they related?
Plus: 'NostrilTime' wristjob vid action
Half a BILLION in the making: Bungie's Destiny reviewed
It feels very familiar - but it's still good
Apple's SNEAKY plan: COPY ANDROID. Hello iPhone 6, Watch
Sizes, prices and all – but not for the wrist-o-puter
Apple Pay is a tidy payday for Apple with 0.15% cut, sources say
Cupertino slurps 15 cents from every $100 purchase
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.