There's a line-in socket on the top of the player and a built-in microphone, although sadly you're limited to a 10-minute recording per track. Voice-recording quality through the microphone is acceptable, but only a couple of steps up from telephone quality. Recording through the line-in socket, however, boasts a quality of up to 160kbps in WMA format.
Photo support is well implemented. Photo albums can be organised using folders on your computer, and are displayed as such on the player. Once you're in an album, photos are displayed as cute little thumbnails.
Additionally, there's a built-in FM radio tuner, support for your Outlook contacts, a simple calendar and even a basic to-do list organiser. These latter three are all managed using more bundled software. You can also set the player to act as a mass storage device to store data files through Windows.
Podcasts can be subscribed to, and aggregated, with the supplied Zencast software. Zencast will keep your podcasts up to date and will even transfer them to the V Plus. Once on the player, however, podcasts are simply sorted by the ID3 tags, so be sure to encourage your favourite podcasters to be consistent with their tagging, or you could be searching for a few minutes for each individual episode.
Finally, the inclusion of an audio equaliser complete with presets gets a very enthusiastic thumbs-up.
Creative says you can expect 15 hours of continuous audio playback, though our test unit pumped out just over 16 on a mid-volume setting. As you would expect, video playback demands much more from the battery. We got an acceptable 3 hours and 10 minutes of continuous video from a full charge.
The unusually large stock earphones are barely average, but this is to be expected -- standard issue headphones are never high-performing. When pumped through a set of high-end Sennheiser earbuds, both lows and highs are clearly reproduced, though with the equaliser switched to 'Rock', the lows are even more beautifully defined.
Video playback is glitch-free and videos start instantly.
The Zen V Plus is a flash player that the younger branch of music lovers will fall for immediately. It's cute, easy to use, fairly feature-rich and easy for little hands to wrap around with ease. If you're in charge of a child's musical devices, or if you're a child with parent's money at your disposal, you'll want to give the Zen V Plus a good considering before making any decisions.
Edited by Jason Jenkins
Additional editing by Nick Hide