Unfortunately, while the pad is effective at quickly scrolling up and down, we had trouble getting it to nudge up or down one selection at a time when set to its default sensitivity. You'll need to dig into the player's settings and change the touch pad's sensitivity to High to remedy this. The other touch-sensitive areas also tend not to respond well to light finger taps. In short, while the Zen Micro handles navigation fairly well, particularly after you get accustomed to the interface, it still can't quite match the Mini's ease of use. We predict that some users will love it while others will hate it. We recommend that you definitely give it a test-drive.
The display is easy to read with its blue backlight, and the Micro also ships with a removable lithium-ion battery--a design decision probably influenced by the problems users have had with the iPod's built-in batteries.
In addition to the Micro itself, your package will include some nice earbuds, a polished, white wall-wart power adapter, a USB 2.0 cable, a stylised belt clip and stand, a pouch, and an installation CD. You can buy a wired remote control. We recommend this option as it's both well designed and useful, and it includes dedicated volume buttons.
The overall design of the Zen Micro deserves kudos. Its various zesty colours, its rounded corners, its touch-screen interface, and some uncommon features make the player a breath of fresh air.
FeaturesWhile the iPod Mini may top the Creative Zen Micro in terms of overall design, Creative trumps Apple in feature-set quality. Similar to the Rio Carbon, the Micro packs 5GB compared to the Mini's 4GB, which works out to a couple hundred more songs that can squeeze onto the Micro's Seagate drive. The Micro supports MP3, WMA (including protected WMAs from download services such as Musicmatch or Napster), and WAV files.
Unlike the Mini and the Carbon, the Micro features a built-in FM tuner and recorder that supports as many as 32 presets. Reception is typical for a digital FM tuner, which is to say mediocre, but it saves you from lugging around another device if you're a devotee of Sara Cox or Zane Lowe.
Keeping pace with the Carbon, the Micro also has a built-in microphone for capturing voice recordings. Note that the player records both FM and voice recordings as WAV files--as opposed to the smaller, compressed MP3 files--which can eat up big chunks of the hard drive. Creative claims the Micro will hold 10 hours of voice recordings.