Creative Zen Mozaic 2GB review

£49
Price when reviewed

When a market sector is saturated with products, the smallest things can make all the difference. Budget MP3 players are ten-a-penny, for instance, but only a few among the hundreds on the shelves of our supermarkets and technology stores stand out above the rest.

In the case of the iPod Shuffle, it’s the sumptuous design and attention to detail that marks it out. Creative’s Zen Mozaic player grabs the attention thanks to its unusual control panel. Its chequerboard layout is certainly eye-catching – a bit like the Zen X-Fi 16GB we reviewed recently this consists of nine keys with the select button in the centre, plus directional and shortcut buttons arranged around it.

Surprisingly, it makes for an effective and intuitive control system, particularly in conjunction with Creative’s excellent user interface, which includes such luxuries as on-the-fly playlist creation, bookmarking, keyword searching, track rating and context-sensitive menus. And the overall feel of this player in the hand is very nice indeed with it’s matte-plastic, charcoal finish.

Features are reasonably impressive. It has an FM tuner with 32 presets, a built-in speaker for annoying fellow passengers on the Tube plus an integrated microphone for voice recordings. Extras include a clock alarm and basic PIM calendar functions. Audio file format support runs to MP3, WMA (including DRM), WAV and Audible. Battery life, at a claimed 32 hours for audio, is respectable too.

And sound quality is up to Creative’s normal standards, with plenty of crisp detail and a balanced, clean sound. To take best advantage of it, you’ll need to use a decent pair of third-party headphones, though, as the bundled efforts leave a lot to be desired.

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The Mozaic’s video features are less remarkable. It has a 1.8in colour screen for watching brief video clips on, but resolution is low (128 x 160) and file format support minimal; only Motion JPEG AVI files are supported at native resolution.

But the mere fact that it has video features at all, and can offer an FM tuner and voice recording (plus the other extras), at a price only a few pounds more than Apple’s minimalist Shuffle makes up for these defects. It may not be the cheapest MP3 player per GB, but it is still a very good buy.

Basic specifications

Media player storage type Flash memory
Capacity 2GB
Screen size 1.8in

Other features

Screen size 1.8in
Resolution 128 x 160

Dimensions

Dimensions 40 x 13 x 80mm (WDH)

Audio codec support

MP3 support yes
WMA support yes
WAV support yes

Video codec support

AVI support yes

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