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Christmas might seem a long way off yet, but three months is a short time in the technology industry, and we're already beginning to see the start of a wave of products aimed at grabbing a slice of the festive spend. The last few weeks have seen a whole raft of products launched, after the traditional summer lull, from Internet radios to smartphones and monitors, among which have been a couple of new MP3 players from audio specialist, Creative.
You'd have to be feeling a bit flush to splash out on the Wi-Fi enabled Zen X-Fi for a loved one at in excess of £100, so how about its little brother, the Zen Mozaic? This neat little 2GB player (also available in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB varieties) represents a progression of the Zen Stone range of players, and costs a far more gift-friendly £42. But with the market for good quality, cheap MP3 players becoming more competitive with every month that passes, can it make its mark?
The Zen Mozaic makes video the principal pillar of its claim on your cash. It has a 1.8in 128 x 160 colour screen capable of rendering clips at 25 frames per second and this sets it apart from much of the competition at the price. Yes, you can buy a video-capable player for less than this, but most are terrible players - the Trekstor i.Beat Motion, for instance. Rivals from Sandisk (the Clip), Apple, and Sony can't offer video at this price. Only the Philips 3225/02 we reviewed recently, with its higher resolution 225 x 176 resolution screen, beats it
But as with the Philips player, it soon becomes clear that video is of limited use on a screen this size. The resolution is even lower than that supported by the Philips, and format support is very limited – the Mozaic will only play back AVI Motion JPEG files at native resolution, ensuring that only the very mad and the very patient will take full advantage of the Mozaic's video functions.