Monday, May 31, 2010

Creative Zen X-Fi2

Creative Zen X-Fi2 - I finally owned one after researching and waiting for 6 months.

Creative Zen X-Fi2

This is the 4th media player I have got - previously owning Sansa Fuze, Apple iPod Nano and Creative Zen. In addition to these players, I listened to songs a few times on Apple iPhone, iTouch Classic, Sony S-series player, Microsoft Zune and Nokia N-series, etc. With all this experience, I would rate Creative Zen X-Fi2, the second on the list of music players I have listened. I said the second because the first is my Nokia 3300 Ngage series phone.

Nokia 3300

To begin, the first time I listened to the music was in late 80's and early 90's when my mom used to play old Telugu and Hindi songs on the Philips radio. Those were the golden days, which used to start with Vandemataram song @5.55 AM on Akashvani (AIR) followed by P.Suseela's golden voice on Aaraadhana & Bhaktiranjani and then, Janaranjani from 8.15 AM. I got introduced to Ghantasala, Janaki, SPB, Chitra and Ilayaraja on these programs.

Once dad brought Weston audio tape recorder from grandpa's house to get it repaired - on which, brother and I would play some random songs for some period. Later, we bought a Philips 2-in-1 and dad maintained a good collection of B&W songs from 50's to 70's and classical carnatic music. At that time, dad was learning flute and I came to identify some carnatic ragas.

Occasionally, we used to listen to songs on 2-in-1 stereo at relative places during vacation. My cousin and uncle used to have large collection of Ilayaraja and Rahman songs, where I came to know about 80's and 90's music.

An AIWA walkman bought by bro and Videocon Bazooka (woofer) TV brought a new dimension to my music listening on entering the youth. The walkman was the first entity that introduced me to the pleasure of listening on ear-phones and the Bazooka told me about the bass and how to play aloud the beat in the songs. I started listening and viewing private Hindi pop albums from the likes of Strings, Aryan brothers, Colonial cousins on MTV, ATN, V and SS Music(Southern Spice) channels.

Music listening had become a serious hobby and a habit when dad bought me a PC during engineering. I bought a Frontec headphone at that time and collected lot of albums, especially those composed by Ilayaraja and Rahman. I used to play around the presets in Winamp and the playlists being repeated till late night.

The first mobile I bought on joining job, Nokia 2300, was the best in low-budget (< 5K INR) phones to play FM in stereo.
When it was stolen, I decided to buy an MP3-enabled phone - I checked various models on Nokia, Sony Ericsson, Samsung and LG, out of which, I chose an INR 8K priced Nokia 3300, that was an early model of Ngage series. That was one of my best decisions in purchasing. It was a "Made in Finland" piece, supposed to be the best and the original unlike the widely available Chinese-made Nokia phones.

I would rate this phone as the best, over the ipods and zens. I still have this phone with me.

When I came to US on office project work, I did some research on music players and finally bought Creative Zen 4 GB player. I have also bought Apple iPod Nano curious to know about the iPods. Out of these two, I rate the Zen higher, not only on the basis of ease of use without the headache of iTunes, but also for the sound quality. I feel ipods are somewhat overrated and hyped comparing to other players. I also bought Sansa Fuze player to gift and it also sounded good.

I also bought a Plantronic Gamecom 777 headphone with $90, that plays 5.1 Dolby sound. My roommates were shocked with the price, but I decided to buy thinking it was a once-in-a-lifetime decision and I was not wrong, when I started listening to songs and watching movies with that.

After coming to US again, I decided to buy a media player again and started my research again. The news that Creative Zen introduced the new touch-screen X-Fi2 player, but I was taken aback by the high price, 130$ for 8-GB, when it was a simple player without any apps, unlike iTouch. In the mean time, I searched for other players, waiting for the right deal. I ordered V-Touch player for 50$ twice, but luckily/unluckily those were missed in post. In the mean time, Creative release apps and sdk for Zen X-Fi2 and the price came down by 20$ inspiring me to order Zen X-Fi2.

I am still not fully using the player - but will soon put a detailed review.

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