MP3 PlayersReviews

Review: Creative Zen V Plus

True to its name, the Creative Zen V Plus (ZVP) is literally the "plus" version of the Zen V flash-based digital audio player. The ZVP has all of the features of the V . . . plus an FM tuner and video support. I mentioned in my Zen V review that although I had no interest in either function, the announcement in late October of an all-pink version of the ZVP changed my mind. The thought of watching videos on a 1.5-inch screen used to be unappealing to me, but apparently a simple coat of girly paint is what I consider to be adequate compensation for a little eyestrain.

Zvpbox

Unlike the standard ZVPs, the limited-edition pink one is only available with 2GB of internal memory. The others, as noted previously, come in 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB configurations (UPDATE 8.7.07: 16GB model now available). I actually don’t mind the limited storage capacity, as I would have selected the 2GB model (to match my 2GB Zen V) if given the choice anyway.

Since the main points in my Zen V review are still applicable here, this review will focus on only those features that are unique to the ZVP. For a reminder of both players’ common features, as well as my thoughts on them, please have a look here.

System specifications
Storage capacities: 1GB, 2GB, 4GB, 8GB, 16GB
Supported audio: MP3, WMA, WMA-DRM, Audible, WAV
Supported video: Motion JPEG (15 fps)
Extras: FM tuner, photo viewer, voice recorder, line-in recording, organizer, removable disk
Dimensions: 2.7" x 1.7" x 0.6"
Weight: 1.6 ounces

Note: Items in boldface are exclusive to the ZVP.

Box contents
Except for the color, the packaging and presentation of the ZVP are identical to that of the Zen V.

Zvpbox2

The included accessories are identical as well: oversized velvet pouch, line-in cable, lanyard, earbuds,  and USB 2.0 cable. It’s worth noting here that Creative bundles its black V and ZVPs with black accessories, and its white and now pink players with white, cream, and gray ones.

Zvpcontents

Also included are a user’s guide and software CD. Unlike the Zen V, which comes with "Zen V Media Explorer," the ZVP ships with "Zen V Series Media Explorer."

Zen_v_me

Zen_vseries_me

They’re identical in every way except that the latter has a video conversion option. If you have both the V and ZVP, you can just install "Zen V Series Media Explorer" to transfer content to the players; the software recognizes both devices. "Zen V Media Explorer," on the other hand, only recognizes the V.

Closer look

Here are some close-up shots of the ZVP to give you a better idea of the color. To be honest, this is the first time I’ve ever been disappointed when seeing a gadget in person. I normally expect a device to look better in person than in official press shots, which is part of the reason I bought the ZVP in the first place. I wasn’t particularly impressed with what looked like a magenta or fuchsia player online, but I was confident that it would look much better once it was in my hand.

Zvpcolorcomp

Now correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t these two shades of pink completely different? In official pictures, the ZVP looked okay. In person, it’s heinous. It’s like a combination of neon Pepto Bismol and tacky nail polish.

Zvpfrontoff

Zvpright

Zvpleft

Zvptop

Zvpbottom

Zvpback

I suspect that Creative had a lot of leftover material from its equally unattractively colored MuVo N200.

Zvpmuvon200

Here’s the ZVP among some other pink stuff I have around the house.

Zvppink

Zvpsharpie

Oh, and perhaps I’m just really immature but doesn’t the joystick look a bit obscene?

Zvpjoystick

I know the player was released in the U.S.  in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness month, but this is pushing it.

FM radio
Just like on the Zen Vision:M, the FM tuner is a nice extra feature for folks who either listen to a lot of radio or who bore easily with their personal MP3 collection. Reception varies depending on location (and possibly according to headphone), but it’s great in Honolulu with a pair of Sennheiser CX300S inner-ear monitors.

Zvpradio

Noticeably absent from the ZVP is the ability to record from the radio. Creative may add the feature in a future firmware update, but as of right now the radio is listen-only.

Video
Like the Zen V, the ZVP is equipped with a 1.5-inch OLED that fails to impress.

Zvpfronton

Zvprotate1

Zvprotate2

Zvprotate3

Video playback is actually relatively smooth (despite the limited 15 fps), but it’s still not exactly a pleasurable experience. Creative preloads a few sample video clips, so you know right away that going through the process of converting your files to the supported Motion JPEG format (which, by the way, produces large file sizes that are unfriendly to a 2GB player) isn’t worth it.

Zvpvideo Zvpvideo1

Zvpvideo2 Zvppanda

Zvppanda2

I can’t imagine viewing anything longer than a few minutes on a display of this size and quality, but I guess it’s better than nothing.

Conclusion
Because of the FM radio and video support, the player is more expensive than the barebones Zen V, though not by much. In general, the ZVP costs only about $20 more than its simpler sibling, which is an incredibly reasonable price.

Zvpscreen

Even though video playback leaves much to be desired, it’s such a secondary feature that it really doesn’t take much away from what is otherwise an excellent device. The ZVP offers more bang for the buck than other flash DAPs in its class, including the Zen V, and reinforces what I said in my Zen V review:

The player shines in the area that matters most: sound quality. Screen rotation, line-in recording, and other extra features make the V (and ZVP) not only a notable contender in the flash DAP market but also a holiday gift that’s sure to please just about everyone on your list.

Just don’t get the pink one.

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Jenn K. Lee

Jenn K. Lee is the founder of Pocketables. She loves gadgets the way most women love shoes and purses. The pieces in her tech wardrobe that go with everything are currently the Samsung Galaxy Note II, Sony Tablet P, and Nexus 7, but there are still a couple of vintage UMPCs/MIDs in the back of her closet.

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49 thoughts on “Review: Creative Zen V Plus

  • It does have a certain kind of street girl quality to it.

    Reply
  • LOL, you said “pushing it”.
    Oh well…immaturity FTW!

    Anyhoo, I did love your S10 review though. Nice goin’!

    Reply
  • I have the white and orange ZEN V with 1 GB and i forgot my password to the sound restriction menu. Any ideas on how i can change it?

    Reply
  • Hi i just got mine but in black and blue… I just wanted to ask you how do you change the theme and make the menu go in different directions?

    Reply
  • To change the theme: Main Menu –> System –> Player Settings –> Theme.

    To change the orientation: Main Menu –> System –> Player Settings –> Orientation.

    You may have to upgrade the firmware to get the orientation option to show up.

    Reply
  • How do i get ZEN V Series Media Explorer cos the Zen when i got it from second hand shop didn’t have it…please hlp me?????
    I tried Creative but don’t have there…

    Reply
  • Avatar of ciara rowan

    i lost my zen installation cd, and no one i know has one, any ideas on where to get one? or how to download without it?

    Reply
  • Creative will send you a new CD if you call/email them, but I don’t think it’s free.

    Have you tried downloading the Creative Zen Vision Pack? As long as your player is connected and properly recognized, you should be able to install it. Go here: http://us.creative.com/support/downloads/ and select Portable Media Players –> ZEN –> ZEN Vision 30GB. Assuming your language is English and OS is Windows XP, the 47.72MB Zen Vision Pack (version 5.00.18) will be listed as number 6 under “Applications.” Media Explorer is part of the Pack. I’m not sure how outdated it is or whether it works, but the suggestion came directly from one of the official admins of the Creative Labs forum.

    You may also want to visit epiZENter.net for additional help (check out the “search” feature first). Excellent, friendly community over there.

    Reply
  • i got my zen v plus yesterday but i tried installing the cd and it would not work. Can anyone help me because i was waitin for one of these

    Reply
  • PLEASE CAN ANYONE TELL ME HOW TO TAKE THE VOLUME LIMITER OFF. i forgot my password, i reset everything, and it’s still there.

    Reply
  • Assuming that you have a EU model, have you tried installing the latest version of the American firmware? Doing this removes the sound cap on the ZVM, so I assume it works for the ZVP too. I don’t know for sure, though, so you may want to check with the epiZENter.net forums first.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Philomena

    i used to have a zen nano plus in pink. it looked like light pink in all the pictures and came to me the same color as the zen v. i was disappointed, but i’ve grown to like this color pink. i’m probably goin to get a pink zen v soon

    Reply
  • Hey I loved the review. It really answered so many questions because I’ve been thinking about getting a ZVP for ages but no one could answer the questions I asked, but you have! Also the pictures helped a lot because most pics are very basic and you don’t see everything. Thanks so much! But I’ll remember not to get the pink one!

    Reply
  • LOL! Yes, this particular shade of pink still hasn’t grown on me. I think the 8GB black-and-red and black-and-blue ZVPs are available now, too, so you have a lot of better options. :-)

    Reply
  • Avatar of ed_training

    a reply…

    hey,

    about the sound quality,
    What has better sound
    Zen V plus, or Zen Stone Plus.

    Plz help me.
    i hope v, but not sure
    ty

    Reply
  • Avatar of Ieva

    I have Zen V with 4GB, my computer had broke down and when i fixed it, I had to install Zen V series media explorer again, but i had lost the cd with programme, have someone any ideas what should i do?…

    Reply
  • hey, is this mp3 player worth it?

    Reply
  • hey does anyone know where i can get the download for the zen v plus 2 gb version on the zen is 1.11.1

    Reply
  • the download for the cd installer thing because i lost my cd ….

    Reply
  • Avatar of joshua

    my cd.rom is broken,hw can i install d software,zen v plus?

    Reply
  • Joshua (Oct 22, ’07):

    Get real! A cheap CD burner drive is $40 or less. Buy one and put it in yourself. It’s easy if you know which end of a screwdriver is which.

    BTW, I’m a straight guy, and I’m wanting to get the pink Zen V Plus. Why? One thing you’re downplaying in the review is that this pink DAP’s packaging says “Proud Sponsor of the National Breast Cancer Foundation”.
    The fact that I’m a guy and the player is pink just became irrelevant.
    Breast cancer has hit female friends very close to me. I love my female pals, and want them around for a long time. I believe in supporting this cause.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Rangga

    My player can’t connected to the computer.. I already have creative media explorer, but it don’t solve the problem at all. please help me..

    Reply
  • Hey, all you guys and gals who have lost the CD for this player, you can download an ISO copy of the CD here! Just use your CD burner software to burn a disk from the image, and there’s your replacement CD!
    (You’re welcome!)

    BTW, I got the player, but everyone’s sold out of the pink fundraiser one. :-(

    Rangga: sounds like you have a bad cable or a dead USB port.

    Greg

    Reply
  • Avatar of plaingalondastreet

    the ZVP may look different from whats there in the package… but its pretty cute ^_^

    Having to read sooo many reviews from other sites about mp3 players – the overall rating is about 8.3, the overall comment is that ZVP is a worthwhile MP3 player and its probably better than the nano. It has a video playback feature and i am a big fan of watching videos on the go… and it looks like the ZVP has good video quality!! i also heard that the music quality is superb.

    If you guys have any problems with the ZVP, check out youtube videos on how to fix a frozen ZVP – it will teach you how to reset ur playerz.

    I just brought a Zen V plus (pink) and i havent opened the package and i was wondering how it will actually look like.

    I don’t really like the cover picture on the box, but the actual – ( opened ) ZVP looks pretty cool. I look forward to it =D

    Reply
  • Avatar of travis

    i bought a ZVP on the 6th of november from dell.com my moms account and i charged it for a good 4 hours and i took it to school it was all good on the bus to vo-tech untill dun dun dunnnnn it froze on the middle of a song would not power down and when i pressed the reset button it broke forever so they are sending me a new one my conclusion dont ever push in the reset button it is actually a ZVP dooms day devise that breaks your precious little mp3 player (lol jk) cant wait for the new one tho

    Reply
  • Avatar of Diana

    my cd. rom do not read my cd installation for zen v plus…how I can install zen v plus?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Carolina

    hay thanx for this my zen v plus like maany other was gone blank screen which seems to be a probelm with almost everyone who has bought one but thankx to u i mananged to get the settings into a sort of shuffle player thanx plentys!!!!!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Janette Macusi

    I lost my zen v plus installer cd. I cannot open my mp3. Maybe you could help in my problem..PLease send me an email how to reintall zen v plus in my computer. thank u..

    Reply
  • i losted my mp3 so i bought a new one but i founded my mp3 already but i removed all the programs of creative and i losted the cd where can i download it
    and btw my new mp3 sucks

    Reply
  • Hey Jenn. :)
    I am very torn between 3 different Mp3 devices,
    1. The Creative Zen V + (love creatives easy to use software and file transfers)
    2. iRiver X20
    3. The Toshiba Gigabeat

    I want a primarilly music orientated device (not worried about photos and movies?

    Reply
  • I would like to know if it is possible to delete song directly off the player, without connecting it to the computer, like the old Zen Nano Plus.

    Oh and i am going to return my sansa e260 because it is a bloody heap of ****! it freezes and won’t delete songs off it! it feels cheap and i am really anoyed with it!!

    please help me!!
    THNX, SAM

    Reply
  • please help
    how do i delete songs off my zen v?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Alanna

    Just purchased a Creative Zen V Plus (2GB) – I have loaded too many songs and it is totally full – how do I delete songs??

    Reply
  • Avatar of Joslyn Ribar

    how do i get the Zen V Series Media Explorer on my computer? because i got the zen v plus after i sent my old creative zen micro to get fixed, but instead they updated it. so i didnt get the correct cd download onto my computer. what should be the Zen V Series Media Explorer, is the Creative Zen Micro Media Explorer instead; the way it is now i cant put videos or pictures onto my device. do you know what i can do about it?

    Reply
  • I bought a zen creative player but i have lost my cd what can i do becoz it don’t wanna open and i tryed everything can someone help me?

    Reply
  • my ZEN V, black and orange, keeps freezing at the first screen that says CREATIVE, ive re-set it a million times, ive plugged it in, and it still wont work, i think its broken.

    Reply
  • Avatar of vipul parwal

    i have lost my installlation CD so wat to do now and also any alternate for charging it?????
    plz repli bit faster it urgent……….

    Reply
  • Avatar of Isrrael

    ok so whenever i plug-in my “Creative ZEN V Plus 1.5″ Black & Green 2GB MP3 Player” to my computer it tells me some stuff about firmware and wont let me go past that. So i cant check my music or even listen to it or nothing. I’m looking around to see if theres a recent software update that i haven’t installed, in which i should, but cant find. So if theirs anyone out there who can help me on my problem that would be greatly appreciated.
    thanks.
    =D

    Reply
  • heyy all im from aus and i restricted the volume on it but i want to undo the restriction and dont know my pass can any1 help meeee??????????? please

    Reply
  • has anyone changed the firmware on their zen V plus? how did you do it? I need to change mine because my zen v plus can’t be detecyed by my computer anymore. please help…

    Reply
  • To delete – Navigate to the song you want to delete. Hold down the “Back” button (lower of the two) until the menu pops up. Select “Delete Track”, and confirm with the joystick.

    Reply
  • Avatar of cindyyyyyyyy

    hey all, can you please help me!! ive seen a lot of comments up there saying that people have lost their installation cd. ive also lost mine, please where can we download the installation cd without having to make some sort a membership with some site!!

    Reply
  • my computer isn’t reading the zen v series i put in it, i installed everything and it still won’t read that it is connected, and the darn thing is frozen at the same time,(it says RECOVER MODE) i don’t understand it, i don’t know what and why it says that, it is my cousin’s mp3 player but he don’t have internet(so he needs me to fix it for him(lol)) and HE NEEDS his mp3(lol) so plz help me out here :-(

    Reply
  • and how long does it take for yall to e-mail me backkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk :(

    Reply
  • Hi everyone. Please visit the new Pocketables Forum for help with the Zen V Plus and other MP3 players. The forum is brand new, so you will most likely need to start a new thread about the issue you are having or advice you are seeking. The forum will allow you to benefit from the help, suggestions, and ideas of an entire community. See you there!

    Reply

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