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Creative has a killer music and video player called the ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN. Not only can you play music and videos loaded on the device but it also allows you to stream and download music, video and photos from your PC over your Wireless Home Network

But the market seems to be absolutely flooded with music players. Has Creative put something special into this player to make it really stand out from the rest of the pack?
To begin with the ZEN X-Fi appear to provide a breakthrough in sound quality for MP3, WMA and unprotected iTunes music with their X-Fi Crystalizer(r), a proprietary audio technology developed at Creative’s Advanced Technology Center that restores the highs and lows to music during playback that were lost during the ripping to MP3, WMA or AAC formats. This allows you to listen to your music at a higher quality than was previously possible on any MP3 player.

The ZEN X-Fi uses its wireless connectivity to introduce a highly flexible way to experience music in your home. The ZEN X-Fi’s wireless LAN capability enables you to wirelessly stream and download music from your PC to your player over your wireless home network, and play it back with X-Fi audio quality. From the living room to the patio, the ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN can access the music on your home PC, which can be played through the built-in speaker, a home speaker system, or even the ZEN X-Fi docking speaker system accessory, which provides room-filling X-Fi audio quality in a portable speaker. You can also stream and download your video files in supported formats and your photos directly to your ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN from your PC. In addition, you can stream a variety of ZENcast(tm) and podcast channels to the player.

With the ZEN X-Fi, you can really experience your music with the sound quality of the original recordings. To truly deliver the ideal music listening experience, Creative is including a set of premium EP-830 in-ear earphones with every ZEN X-Fi and ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN player.

The interface is the same as the rest of the ZEN series, with the addition of menu items for the new functions, and is arguably better than the iPod interface which has gotten very cluttered.

Conclusion

The ZEN X-Fi price(s) are certainly right and the enormously flexible hardware lets you get at the videos and music you want with a minimum of fuss. While I’m not enough of an audiophile to know if the ‘original’ sound quality has been restored, the signal processing done by the X-Fi really does improve the sound quality overall. Recommended!

The ZEN X-Fi and ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN also feature:

  • A built-in speaker so you can listen to favorite songs with friends
  • X-Fi Expand to move and expand the sound forward for a natural listening experience over headphones that simulates the sound from stereo speakers
  • An SD card slot so you can add more music, video or photos to the player
  • A vibrant 2.5-inch TFT display with 16.7 million color support for an excellent viewing experience with videos and album art
  • Built-in FM radio with 32 presets
  • Built-in microphone for voice recording
  • The new Creative Centrale(tm) application for organizing, CD and playlist creation, and transfer of a wide variety of video formats, including WMV, AVI, MJPEG, MPEG4-SP, DivX 4 and 5 and XviD. Creative Centrale also syncs the player with Microsoft Outlook – contact, calendar, ‘To Do’ lists and more
  • Exclusively on the ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN models, free instant messaging over popular IM services including Yahoo! Messenger and Windows Live! Messenger. Chat with friends wirelessly and express yourself using personalized emotive avatars by choosing different facial expressions and hair styles
  • Creative ZEN X-Fi Video Converter, which converts video files to formats suitable for wireless streaming, will be made available for web downloading early August 2008

ZEN X-Fi Accessories

  • ZEN X-Fi Docking Speaker System, available this summer for US$49.99
  • An elegantly designed leather case, available this month for US$24.99
  • A silicon skin which protects the player, available this month for US$12.99
  • An armband which holds the player, available this month for US$19.99
  • A three-pack of screen protector, available this month for US$7.99

Pricing and Availability

The ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN is available today in a 32GB model for US$279.99, and a 16GB model for US$199.99. The ZEN X-Fi 8GB model which does not include wireless LAN functionality will be available later this month for US$149.99. The ZEN X-Fi docking speaker system will be available later this summer for US$49.99.

For more information about the Creative ZEN X-Fi and ZEN X-Fi with Wireless LAN players visit www.creative.com/zenxfi.

Written by Kermit