Creative announced the NOMAD Jukebox Zen, the first pocket-sized hard drive MP3 player with both USB and 1394 (FireWire) connectivity. The NOMAD Jukebox Zen offers a huge advantage to consumers by featuring both FireWire and standard USB connectivity. Unlike the competition, the player is supported out of the box by virtually all PCs without requiring a FireWire card.
The 20GB NOMAD Jukebox Zen holds up to an amazing 8,000 songs by supporting both MP3 and Microsoft Corporation's Windows Media Audio (WMA) formats. Compared to the 20GB Apple iPod, which only stores approximately 5,200 MP3 songs, the NOMAD Jukebox Zen can store up to 60% more songs and is priced 40% less. The NOMAD Jukebox Zen is now shipping at only US$299.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate.
"We've done something incredible here," said Sim Wong Hoo, CEO of Creative. "We're priced at 40% less than the competition; feature both USB and blazing fast FireWire so that we're compatible with the hundreds of millions of PCs out there; and offer outstanding audio quality at up to 98dB SNR. Another big advantage of the NOMAD Jukebox Zen is the additional support of Microsoft's WMA format. From my experience, the WMA format is superior to MP3 both in terms of quality and compression ratio, which means you can store more songs at better quality. With the NOMAD Jukebox Zen's intuitive Scroller, users can easily move through their music and create playlists without having to be at the PC, unlike competitive products that require you to connect to the PC every time you want to create new playlists. The NOMAD Jukebox Zen's AudioSync feature even enables you to move and synchronize your music between multiple desktop and notebook PC. With the bundled Creative File Manager program, you can also use the player like a high-speed external portable hard drive."
"In designing the NOMAD Jukebox Zen we gave our engineers and designers a huge challenge to come up with a unit that looks cool, is packed with features and fits in your pocket; and to do it at a breakthrough price," said Lisa O'Malley, NOMAD brand manager for Creative Labs. "In meeting this goal our engineers chose the rugged 2.5-inch hard drive found in many top notebook computers and available from several manufacturers, giving us a significant cost advantage over the 1.8-inch hard drive used by the competition. With our designers' expertise, we were able to use this larger drive, include all the hottest audio features, and develop a sleek, pocket-sized player just slightly larger than the competition. It's really a great combo of design, quality and price. For only $299.99 the NOMAD Jukebox Zen will be available from www.amazon.com, www.buy.com, www.creative.com, Fry's Electronics, J&R Electronics and Cambridge SoundWorks."
The NOMAD Jukebox Zen features a cool-looking anodized aluminum case. The player comes bundled with a stylish carrying case with belt loop, which is great for rugged usage on the road. Creative's popular and comfortable stereo backphones are also included. While on the go, a built-in, rechargeable lithium-ion battery powers the NOMAD Jukebox Zen, giving users up to 12 hours of mobile music playback. Navigation is simple with the Scroller wheel-a quick scroll and push action allows for rapid access to any of up to 8,000 songs in just seconds. Creative's unique "Find" function allows users to locate songs quickly and easily using alphabetical input-just press the Scroller on the first letter of a favorite artist, song or genre to quickly jump through the alphabetical listings to a desired selection. Data transfer and storage functionality also enable the NOMAD Jukebox Zen to store, manage, and transport photo, text and video files.
The NOMAD Jukebox Zen incorporates Creative's proprietary and powerful EAX® audio technologies to offer a wide range of music customization and enhancement tools. For noisy listening environments such as a plane or car, Smart Volume Management (SVM) intelligently controls the dynamic range of a song for a superior listening experience, so that the quieter portions of a track are not missed. For late night listening, SVM lowers the very loud portions of a song so that sudden volume increases are not disturbing. In addition, users can enable the SVM "Match Volume" feature to keep the playback volume of all the tracks on a playlist at the same level regardless of the volume level in which they were encoded; users do not have to reach for the volume control between songs. EAX technology also boasts Advanced EQ, Time-Scaling, Environmental Effects, and 3D Spatialization features.
With transfer speed 10x faster than USB, the NOMAD Jukebox Zen's 1394 connection is ideally suited for use with Creative's series of Sound Blaster Audigy sound cards, which also feature 1394 connectivity.