Honestly: iPod vs. Zen Vision:M

Posted:
in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited January 2014
I know the Zen Vision:M is an iPod ripoff. But you can't deny that it is a nice device, not as nice as the iPod, but still.



Let's set aside the fact that this is an iPod user's forum, so it WILL be biased.



Which is better? I have a 4th gen ipod with a black and white screen, and now have the opportunity to get a new device. (I'm giving up on the "True Video iPod" as it doesn't seem to be coming soon.) Here's my breakdown of benefits to each:



Zen Vision:M

Voice Recorder

FM Tuner and Recorder

Better screen

Better video battery life

Includes charger

Price: Essentially the same because it includes a charger.

(If I buy an iPod, is it worth it to buy the charger, or just use the computer?)



iPod

Beautiful design

Great iTunes integration

It's an iPod

Many more accessories for iPod (What FM Transmitter should I buy? My old one won't be compatible)



From that list, it looks like the Zen Vision wins, although I want the iPod more. I just wish it had features that come standard on most others: voice recorder and fm tuner.



What do you think?

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 20
    jleonjleon Posts: 22member
    Before I joined the planet of the iPod zombies, I bought a Zen Micro instead of the (then current) 4G iPod after doing a similar side-by-side comparison as you did here.



    The Micro was a nice gadget in itself, but with two gigantic exceptions:



    1) The software was utterly incomprehensible. Hopefully they have improved this since then, but it still can't be as good as iTunes.



    2) The headphone jack went out in less than a year, making it unusable. I've heard this was a common problem on the Micro, so they may have addressed these issues for the Vision.



    Since then, I've been very happy with my Nano (since November).



    If you're going to be watching videos, then you should also consider how you're going to get the content you want.



    Good luck!
  • Reply 2 of 20
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    I'm skeptical of some of those statements: In what way is the screen better in the Zen? And I doubt the battery is really longer-lasting. I believe they're the same batteries and same screens. If you need the voice recorder and radio, and don't want to buy the little apple remote for radio and a separate voice recorder, I'd go with the zen. But I wouldn't believe the screen is better or the battery lasts longer.
  • Reply 3 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    I'm skeptical of some of those statements: In what way is the screen better in the Zen? And I doubt the battery is really longer-lasting. I believe they're the same batteries and same screens. If you need the voice recorder and radio, and don't want to buy the little apple remote for radio and a separate voice recorder, I'd go with the zen. But I wouldn't believe the screen is better or the battery lasts longer.



    That's all according to the specifications of each. While it may be true (unlikely, but maybe) that all sources exaggerate the Zen battery while not doing the same for the iPod, the screen is definitely true. Here it is:



    Quote:

    http://www.creative.com/products/pro...&product=14331

    2.5" high-definition LCD screen





    Watch movies and photos in their full glory on the large 2.5" LCD screen, even under bright lighting. Displaying up to 262,144 vibrant colors, get crisp, clear detail in every image in high-definition 320 x 240 resolution.



    iPod



    Quote:

    http://www.apple.com/ipod/specs.html

    Display

    2.5 inch (diagonal) QVGA transflective, over 65,000-color liquid crystal display with white LED backlight

    320 x 240 pixel resolution, .156-mm dot pitch



    Another question: Why does Zen claim 120 hrs of video, while Apple claims 100 for the same capacity?



    I want to buy an iPod, I just don't want to regret my decision.
  • Reply 4 of 20
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    How are you getting that the zen screen is better from that? I'm confused
  • Reply 5 of 20
    brussellbrussell Posts: 9,812member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by chocolatedude

    Another question: Why does Zen claim 120 hrs of video, while Apple claims 100 for the same capacity?



    It's the same reason I'm skeptical about the other claims, given that they otherwise seem to have the same specs. Apple says 14 hours for music, zen says 14 hours for music. Apple says 2 hours for video, zen says 4 hours for video. I don't see how a battery could be the same for music but different for video.
  • Reply 6 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Flounder

    How are you getting that the zen screen is better from that? I'm confused



    The Zen has 262,144 colors, the iPod has 65,000 .



    Quote:

    It's the same reason I'm skeptical about the other claims, given that they otherwise seem to have the same specs. Apple says 14 hours for music, zen says 14 hours for music. Apple says 2 hours for video, zen says 4 hours for video. I don't see how a battery could be the same for music but different for video.



    Yes, that's strange and true. I'm not very tech savvy, but could it be something about the picture quality? Shouldn't better screen quality mean increased power consumption? That's contradictory!
  • Reply 7 of 20
    g_warreng_warren Posts: 713member
    I saw a genuine un-biased comparison on a TV program here in the UK, and the iPod came out top.
  • Reply 8 of 20
    Quote:

    Originally posted by G_Warren

    I saw a genuine un-biased comparison on a TV program here in the UK, and the iPod came out top.



    Great! What did they think was better about it?
  • Reply 9 of 20
    shetlineshetline Posts: 4,695member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by chocolatedude

    The Zen has 262,144 colors, the iPod has 65,000



    Chances are you'd never notice the difference.



    At any rate, 65,000 (really 65,536) colors comes from having 16 bits per pixel (probably something like 5+6+5 bits for R+G+B), whereas 262,144 would require 18 bits per pixel (6 bits per RGB channel).



    16 bits per pixel is a much more efficient and natural way to make a display work than is 18 bits per pixel. This leads me to wonder if the Zen really does have all of those extra colors per pixel, or if they're just giving the specs for the display device itself, glossing over the fact that the display might not be driven with any more data than 16 bits per pixel, or if they're counting the extra perceived colors you get via dithering -- in which case the iPod probably has those extra colors via dithering too.
  • Reply 10 of 20
    flounderflounder Posts: 2,674member
    Well, to me, "over 65,000" and "up to 262,144" sounds like different marketing spins on the exact same thing.
  • Reply 11 of 20
    Thank you for your help and quick responses. I'm definitely on board for another iPod. One quick new question: I have an Apple product that I want to return if I'm going to get a new iPod anyway. If I return it and (I assume) get some sort of store credit, will that credit expire? I'm thinking: return and get store credit now, buy video ipod now, buy still-to-come ipod with store credit next year. Will this work?
  • Reply 12 of 20
    lupalupa Posts: 202member
    Sorry, double post.
  • Reply 13 of 20
    lupalupa Posts: 202member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    It's the same reason I'm skeptical about the other claims, given that they otherwise seem to have the same specs. Apple says 14 hours for music, zen says 14 hours for music. Apple says 2 hours for video, zen says 4 hours for video. I don't see how a battery could be the same for music but different for video.



    From the respective sites:

    iPod: Up to 2 hours (30GB model) and up to 3 hours (60GB model) of video playback time is based on H.264 750-Kbps video at 320-by-240 resolution combined with 128-Kbps audio.

    [This video standard was also used to measure video capacity in hours.]



    zen: Based on 500Kbps MPEG4-SP format.



    Bear in mind the zen's disclaimer is referring to what standard they used for measuring video storage, but I would assume it is the same standard used to determine battery life during video playback.



    It seems like the zen has greater reported battery life because of lower quality video. Though I can't speak for wether or not that difference in quality is noticeable or not.
  • Reply 14 of 20
    Thanks. Do you think this is with the LCD backlight on? Probably not. If you were to watch a movie in the car, would you use the backlight? How much does it affect battery life?
  • Reply 15 of 20
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by shetline

    This leads me to wonder if the Zen really does have all of those extra colors per pixel, or if they're just giving the specs for the display device itself, glossing over the fact that the display might not be driven with any more data than 16 bits per pixel, or if they're counting the extra perceived colors you get via dithering -- in which case the iPod probably has those extra colors via dithering too.



    Dithering is how some companies claim more colors than others when they are using the exact same panels. Dithering is annoying to look at though, I wouldn't want it at all.
  • Reply 16 of 20
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by chocolatedude

    Thank you for your help and quick responses. I'm definitely on board for another iPod. One quick new question: I have an Apple product that I want to return if I'm going to get a new iPod anyway. If I return it and (I assume) get some sort of store credit, will that credit expire? I'm thinking: return and get store credit now, buy video ipod now, buy still-to-come ipod with store credit next year. Will this work?



    If you bought it in the last 30 days, you might get your money back in full, or you might be asked for a restocking fee, but I think you get your money back, rather than just store credit.
  • Reply 17 of 20
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BRussell

    And I doubt the battery is really longer-lasting. I believe they're the same batteries and same screens.



    Is it really the same battery? There are so many types and sizes of batteries, I would not be surprised if the M had longer lasting batteries because the 30GB Zen Ms are quite a bit thicker and heavier than the current 60GB iPod. It is possibly the difference going toward a larger battery in size and capacity. It's a trade-off. The smaller capacity and size battery doesn't necessarily mean it is lower quality.
  • Reply 18 of 20
    benroethigbenroethig Posts: 2,782member
    A colleague of mine brought this up, but the zen series uses removable battery packs instead of hardwiring the battery to the system. While Apple's method looks better, if the battery does go, it's a pain to replace. Other than that, like it's been said before, the zen unfortunately has a couple things the iPod does not, but overall the iPod is a better player.
  • Reply 19 of 20
    jeffdmjeffdm Posts: 12,949member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by BenRoethig

    A colleague of mine brought this up, but the zen series uses removable battery packs instead of hardwiring the battery to the system. While Apple's method looks better, if the battery does go, it's a pain to replace. Other than that, like it's been said before, the zen unfortunately has a couple things the iPod does not, but overall the iPod is a better player.



    Definitely true. I worked this out before I bought my first iPod. I don't mind the iPod way in this regard as I would guess the average battery life is 2-3 years, depending on use. When it dies, you can send it to Apple plus $66 to get a refurbished, (mine was scratch-free) replacement unit with a new battery.



    Link: Apple battery replacement
  • Reply 20 of 20
    banchobancho Posts: 1,517member
    I'm always very wary of battery claims by anyone. In particular Sony (for example) likes to give estimates based on files encoded at 66kbps. Those files require less oomph to play so Sony can claim some impressive battery life numbers. That's deceptive since that's not a typical bitrate for purchased (or ripped for that matter) music.



    It sounds like the Creative is taking advantage of a similar situation with the video playback time here.



    I'm sure the Creative device is nice, but I'm not interested in many of the extra features like FM, voice recorder etc...



    The iPod also has a *much* healthier accessory ecosystem working in their favor. You can get addons to cover most if not all the extra features the Creative device has.
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