Creative's new Zen Vision:W is the follow up to the Zen Vision and Zen Vision:M portable media players. It features a vibrant 4.3" widescreen LCD and up to 30GB of hard drive memory. It can display photos, play movies, play music and receive FM radio, and boasts a fairly impressive 13 hours of battery life.
Blompo.com has been following the media response and has found an unusually overwhelming amount of positive opinion.
The hype started in late August with a leak in Popular Mechanics magazine, as reported by engadget on the 23rd: "Now the Vision:W itself has hit newsstands in the latest issue of Popular Mechanics magazine. Featured most prominently is the 4.3-inch widescreen, which Pop Mech calls 'the best screen we've seen on a portable media player.' High praise indeed." Ubergizmo were equally as happy to hear the news, especially focusing on the promise of widescreen: "Creative has a new Zen Vision up their sleeves, and it comes with a W suffix that denotes a widescreen. At long last, you get to watch movies like they were meant to be on this portable media player."
Not everyone quite believed their ears initially though. Sci Fi Tech were slightly cynical about Creatives ability to put a decent screen in the device: "We hope the lab coats at Creative have made some upgrades since designing the original Zen Vision's screen, which was certainly sharp but noticeably less vibrant than the displays on more recent portables like the video iPod and Creative's own Zen Vision:M"
However, praise kept coming in from other sources, especially after Creative announced the official spec on the 30th of August: "The Creative Zen Vision W portable media player was surfacing on the web already, but now Creative has officially introduced the new Zen Vision follow-up model. The Creative Zen Vision W features a larger screen with 4.3 inch with up to 60GB of storage. Other features of the Zen Vision W include built-in Compact Flash slot, video support of MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4-SP, MJPEG and XviD and Built-in microphone." bubbled i4u News.
Soon later, Trusted Reviews got their hands on a Vision:W at IFA2006. The verdict? They loved it! "The vibrancy, clarity and high 480 x 272 resolution make it the best PMP video quality I've seen to date. This was backed up by the fact Creative was outputting content directly from the Vision W to a 40in widescreen TV and it appeared no worse than standard analogue TV. Couple this with a choice of 30 or 60GB HDDs, support for Mpeg1, 2, 4, WMV9, AVI, DivX and XviD formats and up to 4.5 hours of playback on a single charge or 13 hours of music and Creative could be onto a winner."
The first proper review of the product came from CNET, for whom it seemed it was also love at first sight: "The Zen Vision W is an excellent improvement over the Zen Vision. Though it missed improving certain features, its beguiling screen, GUI and battery life won us over." As if that weren't enough, one week later, ZDNet were no less impressed: "The bulky but easy-to-use Creative Zen Vision:W and its nice screen will dazzle video lovers who don't require video recording."
It seems that everyone who gets one of these devices in their hands falls in love, and the Zen Vision:W looks sure to be as much of a Christmas hit as Creative surely hope it will be. If Creative could add video recording to this device in the next model, then they could be able to wipe the floor in the PMP market.