I recently bought a Creative Zen Touch. My plan was to use it for podcast listening, audiobooks and music. A good price, 24 hour battery life and a nice and sturdy construction tempted me. As my regular readers may know, I run a quite advanced media system at home, built on Windows Media Center Edition. The only reason for not buying an Apple iPod was that I wanted a player that could communicate as seamless as possible with my existing media. The Zen Touch plays WMA including the files with DRM. According to all the reviews I found a firmware upgrade was due some time late 2004 to make the Creative Zen Touch fully Microsoft “plays for sure” compliant.
And, yes. I was naive. I did not do my homework…
I actually took it for granted that one of the more popular players on sale mid 2005 would be fully compatible with Windows Media Player 10.
So I was quite amazed when I started setting it up and realized that it was impossible to autosync it with WMP10. I gave the accompanying Creative Software a try, but as always – hardware vendors trying to make software is pathetic. What a pile of crap! There is only one company on this planet that manages both sexy hardware and good software: Apple.
I started searching the web and found huge amounts of complaints and unsatisfied customers over at the Creative Forum.
The whole case is quite interesting. Creative have a popular product and they refuse to support it. Instead, they have released new devices and new firmware for other players during the period where customers sit there waiting for a nearly one year over due update on an existing product.
I did some tests, and for the owners of a Creative Zen Touch out there, I can inform you that J River Media Center (JRMC) syncs beautifully with the Zen Touch. Running JRMC together with RSSRadio and the JRMC plugin for RSSRadio gave me good podcasting support. However, for me I need WMP10 support to sync it directly to my Windows Media Center Edition.
Not being able to sync automatically with WMP10 was a showstopper, and luckily I had a full 30 day money back guarantee in the shop where I bought the Zen. Before I went ahead and returned it I posted on the Creative Forum just to see if there was an answer from one of the admins saying something better than “it is going to be released, but we don’t know when”.
Well, the answers are in general only other unsatisfied customers. I returned my Zen Touch today.
It seems like Creative finally has updated the firmware.
Too late for me, but I guess there’s a lot of happy Zen Owners out there!