Mini MP3 players are currently all the rage, especially those of the credit card-sized, touch-sensitive, funky-coloured variety. If you think we're about to start waxing lyrical about one of the most impressive little music machines on the market, you'd be right. But it's probably not the one you're thinking of. Because without wishing to upset the Apple cart, we believe the superbly chic Creative Zen Micro is right up there with the cream of the competition.
For starters, the sub Mini-sized Micro fits an impressive 6GB of tunes. That means it can hold up to 3,000 songs in WMA format or 1,500 in MP3 format. Also, there's no need to go round in circles with the Zen Micro's intuitive Vertical Touch Pad, as it's designed to let you navigate through your music via a simple up/down movement.
But wait, there's more; the clever people at Creative have somehow managed to shoehorn an FM radio with 32 presets into the Micro's gorgeously ergonomic casing. So, in the unlikely event you ever get bored with your own playlists, you can listen to Dr Fox's, Pete Tong's or Terry Wogan's. If you want.
One of the Zen Micro's greatest features has to be its rechargeable, removable (yes, removable!) battery. Capable of delivering an incredible 12 hours of continuous playback, this ingenious slice of lithium-ion is easy to swap with another fully charged battery, so you'll never run out of juice on the move.
And if all that doesn't have you reconsidering your mini MP3 player options, how about USB 2.0 connectivity for lightning fast transfers, 8 preset EQ settings, an ultra-sexy backlit screen with a mesmerizing blue glow, a mini-organizer ( calendar, address book and to-do list ), data storage facility, sleep timer/alarm, plus a built-in microphone that enables you to store voice memos or record directly from the Micro's radio.
Available in 4 funky colours the Zen Micro comes complete with Creative MediaSource software - an idiot proof package that allows you to organise your music and effortlessly convert your CDs to MP3 or WMA format. You can also create playlists and drag and drop songs in an instant.
So what's the catch? Quite honestly there isn't one, because the Zen Micro is a wallet friendly price and its sonic prowess is music to the ears. In fact, if you're thinking that the Zen Micro sounds utterly amazing, it is and it does!