Creative Targets iPod with Nomad Jukebox Zen

By Richard Menta 10/14/02

When the Nomad Jukebox first apeared a couple of years ago It quickly became one of the best selling MP3 portables ever if not the best selling. The original Nomad Jukebox is an excellent player as is its successor the Nomad 3, but despite their advantages both units have an achilles heel that may be hurting sales as of late - size and weight.

Neither Nomad can fit conveniently into a pocket, something the Apple iPod exels in. The iPod weighs less that half that of the two Nomad players and with svelt dimensions that make it considerable more convenient to tote around.

The Nomad Zen can be pre-ordered from Amazon.

More important, the iPod now comes in a Windows version where it is selling strongly. Not willing to let Apple encroach into its market unchallenged, Creative has released their answer to the iPod the Nomad Jukebox Zen.

The sleek aluminum-bodied Nomad Jukebox Zen comes with 20GB of storage, same as the iPod and other leading jukebox units like SonicBlue's Rio Riot. But like the Riot, it uses a standard 2.5-inch laptop drive. Much of the iPod's weight and size advantage comes from the use of Toshiba's 1.8-inch drive. The Zen comes in at 9.5 ounces, just slightly above the 8.8 ounce Riot, but less than other competitors like the 11 ounce Lyra Jukebox and 10.2 ounce Archos Jukebox.

The iPod comes in at 6.5 oz. Furthermore, its 4" x 2.4" dimensions are smaller than the Nomad Zen's 4.5" x 3" measurements. Still, the Nomad Jukebox Zen is considerably smaller than its predecessors and in good position to compete for the attention of shoppers who value a light player.

Looking beyond bulk, the Nomad Zen certainly has enough to give the iPod a run for its money. First of all it is $200 cheaper than the iPod. Second, it has both FireWire and USB capability. Third, Creative MP3 players have consistantly been among the best perfoming out there and we expect no less from the Nomad Zen.

Below are the specifications for the Nomad Jukebox Zen. We hope to have a review of the Nomad Zen soon.


NOMAD Jukebox Zen
FM Tuner Applicable only via FM Wired Remote
Recording FM Playback No
EAX Smart Volume Management, Environmental Effects, Advanced EQ presets, 4-band Custom Equaliser, Headphone Spatialization, Time Scaling
Adjustable Play Speed Yes. +/- 50%
LCD Display 132 x 64 pixel resolution blue LED backlit display
Recording Yes, via optional wired remote control
Interface USB, SB1394 FireWire*
Colors Available Silver w/Green Band
Audio Codec Support MPEG Audio Layer 3 (MP3), Windows Media!" Audio (WMA) and WAV
Hardware Specifications
Memory 16MB SDRAM
20GB hard drive (667 hours of 64 kbps WMA encoding; 333 hours of 128kbps MP3 encoding)
Signal to Noise Ratio up to 98dB
Frequency Response 20Hz  20kHz
Maximum Output 100mW
Harmonic Distortion Output < 0.1%
Standard Playback Usage Up to 12 hours of continuous playtime
Battery Usage 1 Li-ion rechargeable battery
Size W x H x D (mm) 75.9 x 112.6 x 24.5 mm
Weight 9.5 oz (268g) with built-in Li-ion battery
Power DC in 5V
Channel Separation up to 75dB



The 20GB Rio Riot Jukebox can be ordered from Amazon


Other MP3 Stories:
Review: The Archos Jukebox Multimedia
Can I borrow your computer while you're asleep, please? - Altnet
Research: 1/4th of U.S. Downloaders Would Pay for Fee-Based Online Music
Archos Introduces the Jukebox FM Recorder 20

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