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Old 04-21-2007, 09:45 AM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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Default Creative zen V + 8Gb dead? (also a brief and objective review of the unit)

Hi, I posted already on this forum but in another thread : http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...037#post107037

In bief my zen V totally ran out of battery and since then I can't get the device to be recognized from PC and vice versa, so any attempt of re-charging it via PC linked USB cable fails.

I bought the AC adapter from creative and left the player plugged all night, but today still no signal of life from it, apart some led flashing under the buttons when I plug.

So I made this try: since my laptop is not USB 2.0 enabled I tryied to plug it in my friend's laptop which instead is, and then the screen magically displayied the creative logo.

So I was in anger because the AC adapter I bought for 40 euros was supposed to charge the zen anyway, so while installing the drivers on my friend's laptop I unplugged the device from there and plugged to mine, but nothing happened, screen was dead black.

In order to finish the installation I was asked to plug the player again, so I did, but it was dead even there. I did reboot but there again no joy.

My conclusion is some very little battery is needed from zen V in order to recognize or accept anything you plug in.

I made some search on the matter but all I found is this basic fact: this choice of battery is better you don't let to be drained completely, since the basic recharging operation needs some inner process to be run by the zen to recognize and accept the plug.

But why then once plugged in my friend's PC the display came back to life, even if for shortly? My conclusion here is that leaving it plugged for abuot twelve hours just got it to load the very little battery needed to display the creative prompt.

Now I plugged back to my friend's laptop and the logo came back again, but the OS still doesn't recognize it... so my assumption is recognizing / accepting the energy charge is a relatively low-expending task, recognizing / accepting the PC as master unit needs more charge.

I nicely remark here that this is the last creative device I'll buy, all this secretive / proprietary / DRM stuff goin' on underneath really annoyed me.

I spent 219 euros for a flash memory based mp3 player "it's much solid than an HD one", I tought "that'll take a snap to upload my music onto it", I tought, "It will make me able to play back my music from PC and to manage that directly onto the device itself". Silly me!

First, however this thing is going to end I had to buy a 40 euros AC charger which won't make the job it is expected to, I'm lucky my housemate has a laptop USB 2.0 enabled to try it there, otherwise tomorrow the zen would have been shipped to assistance (which a the moment isn't completely exlcuded as an option).

And this after less a month I bought the unit.

The flash memory thing has been the most frustrating issue since I bought the player: it is way too slow uploading there than with my former zen touch HD based player, furthermore once I got it plugged I can't perform playback frome the unit itself, the best I can do is select some tracks with MS5 and have the SW to create a playlist out of this selection, the play it.

But the playlist is an index, an array of pointers to the actual files, thus I'm not allowed to perform operations such like:

"Ow, I don't like this track, let me erase that from the player"

All I can do is removing the track from the playlist, that's all. I can still erase that from the player via the Zen V explorer frame, but it took to much effort from creative devs to simply highlight the track actually playng in a mediamonkey fashion....

The same apply for "wow, how cool is this track! Let me add that to my playlist"

Same as above: You are allowed to do such operation only in the explorer frame, otherwise you have just to use the MTP - sync option they're so proud about.

And you know by that point their philosophy is: "WE know what's good for you", very MTP in that way, very microsoft.

Another fine feature about this device: one may think: "how is it it take so much to upload?" After my first upload I found this strange thing was happened, I had the "genre" field tagged in a diferent way than I did and in certain trackės also the cover art were displayied... hmmm... hmmm.... hope the magic sync didn't carry infos on each track I uploaded to a remote host comiung back with the proper cover art and stuff, that would be truly annoying... specially because I was never asked neither informed about.

Some more port inspection has to be done, but the very fact that with Real player I was able to play back music from old (HD based) zen touch and the only option I have with this is to just "sync" means that to me:

To manage my device from a PC I need to pass trought their stuff, either installing the driver or upgrading / enhancing XP to MTP.

Form the very basic operation of charging the creative unit proved to be very closed and suspicius, in a very DRM way: if some "handshake" goes wrong the unit simply stop working.

As said in my other post that's my last go at creative, unless they change their path. It seems to me even worse apple, and that says all.

The next manifacturer that'll come with a flash memory unit assembled with a screen and all the necessary chipset to play / arrange music without proprietary protocols and very annoying sideffects wins.

I read lots of review about this device before to buy, but sadly none of them gone deeper than creative press release... battery lasting 15 hours? Really? It seems to me very less than that.

Hope this helps, if you take this advice of mine keep away from this unit, the hardware itself seems good enough, but all the stuff Creative has put in it preventing other manifacturers to interface with it makes it very frustrating for the owner. And it proven to have undesired side effects.
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  #2  
Old 04-21-2007, 02:10 PM
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Hmmmm. Very brief, very objective, very... wow!

Most of the people who criticize MTP have never taken the time to get to understand how it works. I'm not saying you have to like it; but at least take the time to know what you're criticizing.

Same with ID3-tag management.
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Old 04-21-2007, 10:53 PM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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I've gone further with MTP, since I'm trying to use its libraries to develope a client fitted on my needs and my likes, but still I don't get the point: microsoft allows you to dowload the sdk et all, we finally have a standardized protocol to deal with the MTP enhanced devices and what's the deal?

With Real player I was able to play back music from the HD of my former zen touch on my PC with a very raw port communication and with specifically designed MTP I am only allowed to sync a flash memory with some folder on my PC... I'm pretty sure MTP can do much better than this, so?

Anyway, more than MTP I'm criticizing DRM, whose core meaning is : if you have no grants to execute certain operations your unit plain and simply won't work. DRM means the rules are "written" in the hardware, then if with the firmware carry a bug, thus a certain flow of operations produce an unmanaged error the unit stop working and won't resume.

Perhaps my unit is just faulty, or perhaps a total loss of battery power causes the "handshake" between PC and ZEN not to take place, so the charger has not the right to supply any energy to device and I have to bring it back Creative, lucky me I've discovered that it time wit my warranty.

I can't be sure things are this way, but it sounds to me so, and if it's so it's a flaw and if it is wellcome be this forum, allowing me to share that with other users.
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Old 04-21-2007, 11:56 PM
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MTP is simply a transport protocol specifically designed for multimedia files, and also makes DRM possible. As for DRM, you won't hear any argument from me -- it sucks! But I can't blame MTP for that.

MTP is still maturing, whereas MSC/UMS has had more time around the block, and its requirements are far simpler. However, the way Vista implemented it is far better than earlier implementations. As it is implemented in Vista, you have all the drag-and-drop and directory/subdirectory advantages of MSC, with the intelligence to know what will or will not work on your particular player. It won't prevent you from dragging an unsupported-format file onto your player, but it will warn you that it won't be playable on your device.

As for the charging issue - You might have a low-powered charger, which means it will take far longer to charge. Check the current output on your charger: If it is around 500mA or less, it will be equal to or slower than USB charging. If this is the case, you've got to allow more time for it to charge.
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Old 04-22-2007, 11:31 AM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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I'm just fine with MTP, unless someday it will prevent me to drop unrecognized / untrusted files on my device... since it's a proprietary standard you can implement interfaces but not the protocol itself: for to download the SDK you have to agree that as well as you shall never go in the market with some "enhanced MTP" or stuff like that.

If they hard code a mandatory rule that each file you manage in both PC / device has to be checked someway to determine you have the right to listen and manage it ther's nothing you can do about that, you can write your own application using MTP and you must deal with that, and now that really sucks.

For the charging issue I'm using the creative adapter (40 euros, btw) but the problem seems to be the one I addressed: the unit won't recognize it so will not allow itself to be recharged.

The unit is not just burnt, since plugging in USB 2.0 the logo appear. At least isn't totally burnt that way.

A real test on this issue would involve other users to let their units battery to completely dry off and then try to recharge to see what happen filing the serial numbers and finding the patterns.

I'm pretty sure this is a battery issue, I'm not engineer but I used to test mobile units for a telco and I feel confident to affirm that.

Instead of patetically try to chase Apple and Apple costumers Creative should have stick in its own way: making realible and solid devices. How much better would have been an heavier / bigger unit but more solid and with more realible circuits.

Zen V plus looks to me more and more just a cheap piece of hardware.
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Old 04-22-2007, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maldido gringo View Post
Instead of patetically try to chase Apple and Apple costumers Creative should have stick in its own way: making realible and solid devices. How much better would have been an heavier / bigger unit but more solid and with more realible circuits.
I agree with you there, but it seems a large majority of the people who are in the market for these things do not. Case in point: The number one complaint about the 60GB Vision:M - it's size. The funny thing about that is, it's only about 3mm thicker than its 30GB sibling, yet people fixate on the numbers.
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Old 04-22-2007, 04:01 PM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZenChick View Post
yet people fixate on the numbers.
Size doesn't matter! =D

The smaller the better, you can bring your music with you all the time, the whole of it! I'm so used and enjoing it that my unit not responding for a whole w.e. and who nows how many weeks they'll keep in the lab definitely makes me mad a creative!

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Old 04-22-2007, 04:06 PM
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Yeah, I hear you there!

How long have you had this player? Can you just take it back to the store where you got it and get it exchanged for another one? I'm not sure if many stores in the EU do that sort of thing, but if so, it'll save you a lot of trouble.
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:07 PM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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I bought it less than a month but more than a week, which is the maximum time allowed to bring it back the shop for being exchanged.

The clerk also told me that as a final costumer I've got a faster service from creative than the store (saturn), he said they send me home the courier to pick the zen up and give me the unit back in two weeks or less.

At least he told me so, tomorrow I'll call creative and will hear from them about it.
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:29 PM
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Wow! If that's really true, that's not a bad deal!
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Old 04-22-2007, 05:45 PM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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I'll keep the board live-updated on the entire thing, but the clerk simply seemed to me too enthusiastic aboiut leaving the burden all on my shoulder...

=)
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Old 04-23-2007, 03:34 PM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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I called creative assistance today: assistance is in Ireland, my call from Italy.

After some commercial advise I got the line, operator told me to download latest firmware and try upgrading Zen V, I gently replyied that since the battery died communication beetwen unit and PC simply can't take place.

He did answer to give a try anyway then if nothing happen to mail him photographs of each side of the unit and the receipt... I didn't bother to ask what the photoigraphs needs for, perhaps they wanna be sure I didn't crushed it under my shoses, then he sent me an e-mail with the recovery mode for -herm- Zen MicroPhoto, a procedure including unplugging the battery... lucky I'm wise enough not to attempt that, since I'm not sure disassemblying Zen V shell does it elegible for warranty anymore...

Well, I mailed back asking more infos, then came the standard mail with standard recovery operations and info about the unit sympthoms.

Now that's the picture: since at the end of this month I'll move back in sicily from milan there is also the address issue: expecting the help-desk guy taking care of it is just unbecoming, the prospect of managing it calling Dublin sounds costly and frustrating.

Giving it back to the retailer and let them to manage it may seem the better thing to do, they'll take care of shipping and all, but since it's in their hands I understood it'll take more time.

What an unlucky adventure! I'm without my music for I don't know how long while it seems that there's a battery issue for certain of those units, couldn't just creative make a massive recall or allow the retailers to exchange the broken units with good ones?
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Old 04-23-2007, 05:42 PM
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This is the sort of thing that happens when companies outsource their help desks. I would suggest calling back until you get someone with half a brain, but the long distance charges for you would be prohibitive. Giving it back to your retailer is definitely the best option for you at this point.

Quote:
Originally Posted by maldido gringo
What an unlucky adventure! I'm without my music for I don't know how long while it seems that there's a battery issue for certain of those units, couldn't just creative make a massive recall or allow the retailers to exchange the broken units with good ones?
Usually, that's the way it works. It's actually preferred that you take it back to the store for exchange; however, it's up to the individual retailers to set policy on such returns.

As for a recall, that's typically only done if there is a general, widespread problem with a device. Defective products do happen, and unfortunately, you got a defective battery in your player; but it's not a widespread problem, just isolated, random problems that are consistent with generally acceptable failure rates.
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Old 04-23-2007, 07:27 PM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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Yep, you definitely got the point there, just bad luck.

Fact is, I compulsively bought my new flashy device because after two years of enjoyment the HD of my zen touch broke. Warranty was expired already, so I came for a flash based one in the hope it was more robust.

I'm the very "aythinbutipod" guy, I trusted creative until now but I felt misleaded. Albeit my problem may seems more unique than rare that's not the case.

This issue isn't easy to define, I read thru a lot of battery related complains by other customers, plus the very way the unit is built is very "usa & getta": Use it until a new enhanched one gets thrown in the marketplace. We have designed it to stop working since then.

On other units you can remove the battery, which is precisely the most basic reset procedure ontho other creative players, sometimes you only have to remove some dust caught beetwen the links.

The very fact you can't charge it via a normal power jack speaks it all: that's designed to become sooner or later a quite expensive 8Gb USB pen.

Am I exagerating? Maybe, but I'd love to hear from other owners.

Thanks for the advice; I'll bring it back to the shop, that's theyr duty after all... =)
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Old 04-26-2007, 06:18 AM
maldido gringo maldido gringo is offline
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...Instead of bringing back the retailer my Zen I chose to ship it personally following the procedure.

The guys at creative forum very gently took care of it:
http://forums.creative.com/creativel...sage.id=187502

Apparently the battery issue on zen V is known from creative assistance.

According to creative the repairment will take from 10 to 15 working days to deliver, I'll see and report here...
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Old 04-26-2007, 12:37 PM
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Sweet! I wish you luck!
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