creative zen x-fi 2 review

The big difference with the Zen X-Fi 2 is that it does away with the fiddly buttons of previous Zen models in favour of a resistive touchscreen interface.

The screen itself has thus increased in size to three-inches with a fairly average resolution of 400 x 240 and the only button on the front of the device is an Apple-like 'home' button that takes you back to the home screen.

creative zen x-fi 2 review

Battery life has also been improved due to the inclusion of a bigger cell - over 24 hours of music playback is now possible, with 5 hours of video. And the on/off/hold button has changed as well. It's now flush to the chassis like on the iPod touch, and to unlock it you have to drag a bubble off the touchscreen - also touch-esque.

creative zen x-fi 2 review

The X-Fi sound processing is also retained and improved. X-Fi basically up-mixes audio to try and replace the fidelity lost in compression. MP3 compression, for example, tends to push most music into the midrange, muddying cymbal crashes and blunting deep bass.

creative zen x-fi 2 review

X-Fi seeks to restore the peaks at the high end while deepening and smoothing out the bass. It's worked brilliantly in X-Fi soundcards for years, but in the original X-Fi MP3 player the results were a bit hit and miss.

We'll see how well X-Fi is working in this model on the next page.

The X-Fi 2 is available in 8, 16 and 32GB flavours and it also has the ability to playback video through a TV or monitor - you'll need an additional AV cable for that though.

creative zen x-fi 2 review

CHANGES: The Zen X-Fi 2 is slimmer, but also longer than the original Zen X-Fi

And the file format compatibility is what you'd expect, with support for all the usual formats including DivX and Xvid, as well as lossless FLAC music which will please the audiophiles out there.

creative zen x-fi 2 review

Other misc features such as organiser, calendar, FM radio and clock are all present and accounted for.

Features that have disappeared from the original Zen X-Fi include the Wireless networking that allowed you to stream audio over a network from PCs and other Zens. Did anyone actually use that feature anyway?