Review of Creative Zen Style M100 MP3 Player
I used to love these MP3 players!
I have had about six of them starting with a 256MB MuVo.
They used to be great --
you put MP3 files in folders and the player played them!
Before the M100 I had a 100.
You had to use an awful Windoze GUI to build playlists.
That was a nuisance so
I wrote a shell script to build the playlists and then it was very
easy to use.
This one though is a real dog!
I hate it.
Here are just some of the things wrong with it:
You cannot even read the documentation without Windoze.
This wouldn't be so bad if it was in HTML but it isn't.
Perhaps Creative think none of their customers can afford iPads
and must be using Windoze.
Well, I run Linux; I do have an iPad and I don't have Windoze.
If you want to install a firmware update you need Windoze.
You can't even use a virtual machine to run the updater because it
disconnects the USB port between stages two and three of the update.
Confusingly, the update seems to work, even when the installer says it failed.
I borrowed a Windoze PC and ran it again -- just to be safe!
At least the previous Zen's firmware installer would run in a virtual machine.
The best feature of the Zens was their fast forward;
the longer you pressed the button, the faster the forwarding;
near the end of a 40 minute track it would be whizzing along.
The present one must have been written by the office boy;
it has only two or three speeds and takes two minutes and 15 seconds to
cover 45 minutes of an MP3.
The device has a touch screen.
These are OK for some applications but useless for an MP3 player.
You have to keep it locked at all times or you will breathe on it and
send it to the next track.
To pause it, you have to take it from your pocket, unlock it and press pause.
This takes two hands.
If you try and do it one-handed, you will accidentally touch one of the wrong
areas and leave your track.
And, it will take you ages to get back to where you were!
The touch screen "buttons" often stick, usually when you are fast-forwarding.
Also, they sometimes become totally inert.
In both cases,
you have to turn the player off and on to make the "buttons" respond properly
It is very difficult to delete a track.
The Zen will only delete the "Now Playing" track.
It will let you go through the motions of deleting a track from a playlist;
it will pretend to be doing something;
it will tell you it has done it -- but it won't have.
If you add tracks to a playlist the Zen won't notice.
Creative tell you to use the "Clean Up" facility before rebooting
when you add to a playlist.
However, the Zen will lose some of your settings if you do so!
It doesn't display playlists in alphabetical order.
My shell script has to copy the playlists alphabetically into a new
delete the old directory, and rename the new one to achieve this.
You can connect it to a computer to charge it but you can't use a
mains-powered USB charger.
It will turn on when you plug in the charger.
And, if you then turn it off it will automatically come back on again.
I've replaced it with a Philips GoGear Vibe
It too has some Windoze software to build playlists.
I don't know how bad / good it is because I haven't needed to use it.
You put folders of MP3 files on it, select an MP3 (from "folder view")
and it gets played.
It reminds me of my previous Zen Style 100 (no "M", no useless touch screen)
but with no playlist hassle.
Its only fault is that it too displays folders and files in physical order
rather than in aphabetical order.
I used some code from the toZen script to sort that out.
I'm going to get another one to avoid shopping when this one
falls off its perch.