Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Zen Vision M - Beyond Music, and the Ipod

The ZVM is arguably the best 30GB DAP on the market today, although the new generation of ipods and Microsoft's "ZUNE", as well as the ZVM 60GB are due this fall, but I won't hold my breath. With a vivid 2.5" 262k color LCD, it’s not only an mp3 player, rather a legitimate video player, unlike the ipod with its less than stellar screen and battery life. I won't list the specs here, because I don't just want to write reviews such as the objective ones other sites write, rather give my own in-depth opinions on why this audio player is the best bang for the buck around.

First, a bummer, no removable battery, although the ZVM's 14 hour long battery life more than makes up for that shortcoming. The colour screen is absolutely mesmerizing, even on just 10% brightness. The ability to customize your wallpaper and menus are a real plus, as the old blue and white ipod menus are getting old, fast.

Newer ZVMs (in the smaller packaging without AC adapter) come with an updated scratch resistant coating. Yes, it's true! Finally a manufacturer takes note that people don't want to be carrying around their DAPs that are all scratched up, although I give credit to Cowen and its I-audio X5, a highly scratch resistant player.

Case and Scratch Protection Recommendations: While they may be scratch resistant, they are not scratch-proof. Your ZVM will get scratched - that is unless you buy a little clear, sticker like film called "Best Skins Ever". It will protect you player, and keep it looking like the day you got it, nice and shiny. Amazing stuff, works beautifully on my player, see picture. It’s very cheap (about $5.00), and should be used at the bare minimum, with no case.
As far as cases go, there are basically two options - silicon and leather / book-style. I won’t bore you with all the filler, so here are the best brands:

Silicon : If silicon is your thing, get the Capdase silicon case, seen right. Although not the most aesthetically pleasing, it is of very high quality, makes the touch-pad considerably easier to use, has a 360 degree rotating belt clip (removable), stylish cutouts. Of course, like all silicon cases, it attracts a bit of dust.

Leather Bookstyle: The clear winner here is the Podsplus Leather Stand case, and yes, the stand is removable. It is of high quality, and has great protection, the only drawback being that it adds a bit of bulk to an already chubby player.

Headphone recommendation (no amp): For a player to be truly portable, it can't encompass the use of a headphone amp (a small ipod-sized device delivering extra power to the headphones. If you don't know, don't worry, it's irrelevant). My personal Favorite is the AKG K81DJ, a closed can. It can be found for about $55-$65 dollars online, and is a very good closed phone for the price. If you want the best sub-$100 open phone, meaning sound will leak out and in (not good for subway, etc., check out the Grado SR-60 for home listening, $69.00). The AKG K81 DJ folds up nicely for traveling, and has tight, accurate bass as well as excellent lows and liquid-like mids. If your used to the crappy stock earphones that come with players these days, you will be pleasently blown away.

Overall: 9/10

Links to buy discussed products (please be sure to bookmark this site as well!)

Where to Buy:
Zen Vision M (30GB)($269.00):
Best Skins Ever ($4.99):
Capdase Silicon Case :
Podsplus Leather Case ($29.99):
AKG K81DJ Headphones ($59.99):
Canada -

1 comment:

Patrick said...

They say that they have best headphones, may be they are right...