What is the Creative ZiiO?
Recently, I got the chance to play and have fun with one of Creative’s latest and innovative product, the Creative ZiiO 10 inch Entertainment Android Tablet. Its an android tablet using Creative's very own Zii chip or ZMS-08 chipset. Unlike any other Android tablet in the market, it's an entertainment tablet with adjustable X-Fi audio technology for your audio pleasure.
The ZiiO connects easily via bluetooth with other audio products such as Creative's wireless speakers like ZiiSound D5 and the wireless Creative WP-300 headphones to form the pure wireless entertainment ecosystem.
I have used Apple's iPad and so will be making some comparisons with Apple's iPad vs Creative ZiiO 10.
I will be showing you lots of photos and videos to proof our point.
Lets take a quick peek at its technical specifications:
* Microsoft® Windows® XP (Service Pack 2)/XP 64-bit, Windows Vista®, Windows 7®
* USB port
* 1 x Creative ZiiO 10"
* 1 x Stylus
* 1 x Power Adapter
* 1 x USB Cable
There's not many accessories now in the market, but you can get the leather case and screen protector from Creative. In case you lost your stylus and want an replacement, then you can also get it from Creative. Though, I wouldn't think that will be necessary.
Design / Build Quality
The ZiiO 10 thicker but much lighter than an iPad :)
There 's a front facing camera for video chatting or conferencing and an HDMI output to project out to a screen. (HDMI cable not included)
The screen is resistive touch and is 10 inch wide (diagonal). When you touch the screen, you can feel it depressed downwards a little bit. Maybe that's because its a resistive touch screen.
As a resistive touch screen, we can hear many reviewers giving the thumbs down. But its not that bad, once you get the hang of it. Its pretty ok and I can surf the internet or play angry birds will no problem.
I think you will be perfectly fine using your fingers to do the navigation on the touch screen instead of using the stylus provided.
But if you compare it to iPad which is using capacitive screen, then the touch screen experience is better and it can recognize multiple touch and you can zoom in or out of the screen by closing or opening up your fingers. For the ZiiO, you cannot do that.
Another thing is that I find the screen too reflective and glaring to my eyes. It is difficult for me to read from my ZiiO under direct light and there's too much reflection.
Although Creative ZiiO 10 uses an modified Android version 2.1, but as an android tablet, you can customize your home screen or include any X-Fi apps or your own icons, apps or shortcuts anywhere.
Some reviews also mentioned that there's no Android Marketplace to download Android apps. But you don't really need Android Marketplace. Just go to www.freewarelovers.com and download all the .apk files into your ZiiO.
There are news from Creative that the Android 2.2 update will be available for ZiiO 10 on April 2011 but for ZiiO 7, the Android 2.2 update will arrive as soon as 25th Mar 2011.
There's some shortcut touch screen controls just below the screen which you can select 'return', 'home', 'google search', etc. I find these handy as I can quickly jump to the home screen very easily.
Its via USB cable and no Creative Centrale or any conversion software is required. As long as they are the supported formats as stated in the technical specifications.
The Creative ZiiO 10 has a SD card slot where you can upload your content. Thus allowing you the flexibility of accessing more music and movies directly from your microSD card.
Wireless (WIFI, bluebooth)
There is a built-in IEEE 802.11 b/g support, so you can connect to your own wireless router or all the wireless hotspots in town. You can use your ZiiO to surf the Internet and check your emails anywhere you go.
The bluetooth allows you to connect to any of Creative wireless speakers so that you can play your music audio on those speakers.
Although battery life is not mentioned on the specifications, which I think it should. I do not have a good experience on ZiiO 10 battery life. It can only last 4 hours after it is fully charge. It seems like the battery run out very fast and I have to charge it everyday. I also found that if you left it on standby mode, it will also consume such % off your battery.
It does seem that iPad has a longer battery life (almost 10 hours) than ZiiO :)
The X-Fi is awesome. I tried using it with the ep-630 earphone and is sound perfect! You can really hear the highs and lows of your music. When I was listening to Beyonce's Halo, I would almost swear that she was just singing it beside me :)
Adjustable X-Fi Sound Enhancement
X-Fi is Creative’s proprietary sound enhancing technology that redefines and restores the detail and expands your audio to surround sound with X-Fi Crystalizer and X-Fi CMSS-3D. Only now, its better, you can adjust the level of the 'Crystalizer' and 'Expand' that you want. At first, I tried out 100% Crystalizer and 100% Expand on my Zen X-Fi2 but I found that some of the high vocal songs were too sharp for my ears. So I reduced the Crystalizer to 50% and that suits me.
So its good that Creative has made the X-Fi Enhancement adjustable to everyone's taste and feel.
If you noticed, the built-in speakers are just 2 small slots in front and below the ZiiO. With such small size, it does sound very good.
Creative ZiiO is unique and there's no other Android tablet quite like it. The X-Fi feature works pretty well. The adjustable X-Fi sound enhancement has just made it more user friendly.
The 10-inch LCD is certainly clear and colourful enough to do justice to video and photo content, and to enjoy feature-length clips on the move.
File support is also very good here and the ZiiO is able to handle a range of conventional formats as well as less common FLAC and AAC audio. Yes, Creative ZiiO is supporting the OGG audio too :)
The bottom line is the ZiiO is unique and has better audio quality. I like it, especially the adjustable X-Fi and touch screen, I can still recommend the ZiiO, it’s really value for money. For the iPad's price, you can buy 2 of these Creative ZiiO.
You can get the lowest priced Creative ZiiO direct from Creative Labs and it comes with FREE shipping!
Creative ZiiO 7" 8GB (White)
Creative ZiiO 7" 16GB (White)
Creative ZiiO 10" 8GB (Black)
Creative ZiiO 10" 16GB (Black)
Please feel free to let us know your recommendations in the comment section below.