And there are other holes. You can’t record direct from FM. There’s no line-in. You don’t get a kick stand, so you have to hold the Vision W while watching it, and that could turn out to be a pain in the wrist after an hour or two of movie-watching. There’s no facility to record video from an external source and no Wi-Fi, both features that the new Archos players support. And the bundled headphones are the usual so-so affairs. They’re by no means the worst I’ve heard and don’t hiss in quiet sections, but they are over-bassy and sound muffled at the top end.
On top of all this, the software is the usual proprietary mess of multiple applications that lack a coherent focus. Fortunately you can simply drag and drop files to the device and use Windows Media Player. However, when you’re transferring so many different file types and folders, a better, more coherent way of transcoding and transferring files that doesn’t involve syncing the whole of your music and video folders could surely have been worked out.
Creative’s Zen Vision W is a capable machine, despite the flaws. The wide screen is bright and does a fine job of displaying movies. Audio performance is excellent too, and size-wise it really isn’t that bad, though if I was being picky I’d have liked it to be a touch slimmer. £215 is also very reasonable for a widescreen player with so much capacity. However, there is a sense that it is being left behind in a fast-moving market. And with the fifth-gen Archos players appearing very soon, anyone in the market for a fully-featured PMP would be better off adopting a wait-and-see attitude.
Score in detail