Creative Zen X-Fi 2 Trades Buttons For Touchscreen

It's a new model name, sure, and the distinctive button panel has been booted in favour of a touchscreen, but the most important part of the X-Fi update has nothing to do with hardware, and everything to do with dollars.

Aside from the slightly larger, finger-friendly screen, the X-Fi 2 supposedly adds improvements to sound quality, which are down to the murky machinations of Creative's X-Fi sound optimisation system, as well as TV-out, which is particularly useful considering the player's generous video codec support. The rest of the specs are more or less unchanged: There's an FM radio, built-in mic, a microSD expansion slot, syncable calendar, task list, contacts and RSS reader apps. It actually looks like the player has lost a feature since v1 too, since the prior model's Wi-Fi access is nowhere to be found. Not that it ever did much, but still.

Anyway, price! It's pretty low, considering what you get: $US230 for the 32GB model $US180 for the 16GB and $US130 for the 8GB. The highest price point seems like a dig at the iPod Touch, and it could be a clever one: The two players offer completely different things, and if you want to do more than play music and videos, the iPod is the clear choice. On the other hand, if that's all you want to do, a 32GB touchscreen PMP makes a respectable case. It's available for preorder now, and should ship within a few weeks. [Creative]

AU: The deal isn't as great for us. Creative Australia is selling the 32GB model for AU$318.14 and the 16GB model for AU$254.50. And these prices are exclusive of GST. The 8GB model doesn't appear as an option (right now). [Product Page]-EH

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