In terms of features, the Creative ZEN X-fi Style does not bring anything groundbreaking, but offers a very complete package if you are looking for an affordable, compact MP3 player. It has a 2.4-inch TFT LCD display with QVGA resolution, X-fi sound enhancements, a built-in speaker and TV-out function. One notable feature is its file format support: apart from playing MP3, WMA, AAC and WAV, the Creative ZEN X-fi Style features FLAC playback which, on our book is a must have for a portable audio/media player to get noticed.
For video, MPEG-4, WMV, XviD and DivX (up to 640x480 pixels) are supported which is impressive for a compact player. The Creative ZEN X-fi Style's screen size though, is more suited for audio than using it as a portable video player. The Creative ZEN X-fi Style player has a stereo FM tuner with slots to store 32 preset stations and there is no recording option, but voice recording via its built-in mic is possible. Audio enhancements include 8 presets and 5-band custom equalizer.
One substantial feature that the Creative ZEN X-fi Stylelacks is memory card support and the X-fi Style is available in three storage options (8/16/32GB). The rated battery life of 25 hours for audio and 5 hours for video is impressive. The package includes earphones, a short miniUSB cable and manual.
The Creative X-fi Style offers extra features such as an offline RSS reader, photo viewer (JPEG and BMP), clock, alarm, calendar, task and contacts. To manage the media conversion and transfer, Creative included Creative Centrale for PC on the player.
Creative ZEN X-fi Style may not be the catchiest name you can think of, but this new compact player from Creative looks good with the front and back dual colour design. There are three colour variants (black, red and white) and we received the black colour version which has a dotted-pattern black finish at the front while its back is painted white. The front of the body including the screen has a glossy finish and it attracts finger prints and smudges.
The Creative ZEN X-fi Style is lightweight at 56g and it measures 83.6x48.7x11.7mm which is smaller than a credit card and just a few millimeters thicker than the iPod Nano 6G. The build quality of the player is good enough for daily normal usage. Control buttons are laid out well, right next to the screen at the front. The biggest circular button is a 4-way direction pad with a centre select button, the top button-strip is for back and menu and the other strip at the bottom is for activating the onboard speaker and play/pause function. Headphones out and miniUSB port are located on the right, while the top has a built-in mic hole and power/hold switch. The back has a speaker grille and there is a tiny reset hole at the bottom.
The Creative ZEN X-fi Style player fits well in a palm and the controls offered enough tactile feedback. The button placement is convenient and the player operated at manageable speed during our test. However, the fact that the player does not offer dedicated volume controls or playback controls would force you to take it out of your pocket whenever you want to fiddle with those settings. Further, browsing a long list of files on the player using the D-pad can be tedious, compared to touchscreen or clickwheel based MP3 players.