on September 4, 2011
I have read many of the reviews here before purchasing the player and despite being warned of all the cons, i decided to take a gamble for its price and Creative's brand name. I had some initial problems with the Bluetooth feature with the M300 but these were resolved when I upgraded the firmware to the latest one (1.00.16) from the Creative website. There are some things that this player cannot do but for those that it can, it does it pretty well.
The main selling feature of this player is of course Bluetooth streaming. Pairing the player to my bluetooth headphones and car stereo (you need to key in your 4-digit code) were relatively simple (it takes seconds) and the audio quality is excellent. This is my first Bluetooth-compatible player, and i am surprised by how much i like this wireless thing. Not having to worry about wires dangling around your dashboard is awesome. Also, the ability to automatically connect back to the last paired device when turned on again is a thoughtful feature. One feature i miss on this player that was on the older zen players is the option to create playlists on the go. But if you do use windows media player or winamp to organize your song library, you can also easily sync your playlist to this player. What I really like most about this player is the ability to drag and drop files - even on a mac. It just appears as an external harddisk and you just drop your songs or photos in it - no proprietary software required.
As far as i am concerned, i am happy with my purchase of the M300. It performed well as a music player and the bluetooth function is really useful if you have other bluetooth enabled devices. And for this, i would say that the M300 is of great value for something so small yet feature-rich.
BUY this player if:
- you are budget conscious, this is one of the most affordable feature packed branded bluetooth mp3 player
- you listen mainly to music and radio
- you prefer doing without additional music softwares like itunes, and rather drag and drop your music into your player
- you need a microsd slot
- you have a bluetooth headphones or speakers, it's more convenient than you think
DON'T buy this player if:
- movie playback is an important feature to you
- you use DRM or subscription services
- most of your music are in .FLAC and .M4A
on September 2, 2011
FIRST THINGS FIRST / TIPS:
1. Download the latest firmware from Creative's support webpage. What I got was probably the middle batch at 1.00.09. The latest firmware is 1.00.16 and relatively easy to update.
2. Don't press the so-called "buttons" with brute force. Just make sure your finger taps the markings gently and you'll be fine.
1. Very easy Bluetooth pairing process (enter the universal default code of 0000). It remembers your paired devices after switching off and auto connects to the last paired device (it does take between 5 and 10 seconds to reconnect and start streaming your music via BT)
2. Commands (play/pause/track selection/volume) don't lag via Bluetooth and overall, the player works perfectly with my car speaker and headphones
3. Drag-and-drop songs into the "Music" folder. I hate itunes style syncing so this is really really useful.
4. Good battery life for my commutes and long/medium haul flights
5. Mac support (officially it only supports Windows but I could drag-and-drop songs from my Macbook Air into the player, as well as from my Windows PC of course)
6. Simple, easy-to-use interface even without needing the manual
7. FM Radio but only with a wired headphones connection
8. Value for money
1. Short USB cable (ok to charge via your PC's USB but not too practical from a wall socket)
2. Average quality included earphones but I guess nobody really uses stock earphones anyway so this might not bother you that much
3. Mediocre video but on such a tiny screen nothing's going to look good. Probably the screen's only meant for album art (there's a video included with a presentation of some Creative products but it's so tiny.. why do they even include it??).
4. No FM Radio over Bluetooth (this function requires an antenna, which are your wired earphones... so you can't stream radio wirelessly)
It's not a perfect product but at this price point it does deliver what I need (Bluetooth and drag-and-drop capabilities). Obviously there are flaws but are generally those that I won't lose sleep over. If you're looking to stretch your dollar (nothing to be ashamed of in this economy!) and don't like to get ripped off, this is the product for you. If you like to splurge, you'll know that there are other more glamorous options.
on August 5, 2011
So I have had a few Creative products in the past, but this one has to be one of the worst of them. Takes several attempts to power on, I first thought it was just that I received a defective unit. But another reviewer is reporting the same issue, so I have to take that as poor design. The navigation of the menu makes no sense. They are not in alphabetical order and you cannot turn any of them off (like you could with some of the previous Zen models). The touch controls respond about 80% of the time, which is really frustrating. My reasoning for purchasing this device was the Bluetooth streaming. Once you get the devices to pair together (takes a bit of coaxing for the initial setup) I haven't had an issue pairing back up. I have noticed that every once and a while the music will have about a .25 sec blank space in the middle of playback. I was thinking it was the device I was pairing to, but when I tried streaming from another device it works fine, so I have to think it's the Zen M300 unit.
Another feature is that you can change the color of the text, red/yellow/white. I initially set it to white but during play back the screen shows music art and then the title/artist over the album art. I could not see most of the text due to the white text so I changed it. The menu changes color but the color during playback is still white. So I really don't get the purpose of changing the font color. The red is too dark to see against the black menu background, and the yellow and white are so similar that it really doesn't show any real benefit.
I'm hoping the next firmware revision will resolve most the issues. So if you are on the fence about purchasing this unit, don't set your expectations too high. It is still functional, the price is good for (considering the Apple unit is almost twice the price) what you're getting.
Having access to Audible is a nice to have, but so far I've been using another unit. You cannot "fast forward / fast back" with this device, so if you wind up missing the last few sentences of what someone has just said you cannot just scan back a few lines, it returns back to the chapter beginning.
The Creative Zen Style M300 is a decent small MP3 player with ambitions to become a low-cost alternative to the iPod. Out of the box, you get the player (which is nicely styled), a USB cable, and some headphones. Truthfully, I didn't try the headphones, as they're basic, cheap in-ear headphones. For comparison sake, I used my Koss PortaPros which I've listened with for years and they gave me a basis for comparing it to my collection of mp3 players.
The packaging promises a lot: in addition to MP3 music, you get Bluetooth connectivity, videos, pictures, audiobooks, and FM radio. A great feature set, and for the money, packs quite a punch.
The touch screen is simple, intuitive, and reasonably sharp and bright for its size, its one of the best features of the player. Most people will find their way around this player in under 30 seconds, its that intuitive.
As you connect the M300 to a Windows 7 PC, the player looks like a portable drive, and indeed it acts that way. If you want, you can just drag and drop songs. The instructions say you can use WinAmp if you want; I like using MediaMonkey as it will automatically convert songs to the appropriate format (MP3). The players instructions claim it will support the old-style Windows DRM formatted music; as I have any copy-protect music, I didn't have an opportunity to test that feature.
The sound was satisfying with sufficient volume, and good clarity. The touch screen gives you the ability to adjust the EQ to suit your music and listening tastes.
However, be careful if you fill the player completely; while it will not lock up, it will not boot up, claiming you have it too full. I had to use Windows Explorer to delete a few songs. From then on, I used the Micro-SD slot to add to the capacity.
The FM radio is reasonably sensitive; I use it mainly to access the in-gym broadcasts of the TV sound, and it worked fine for that purpose.
Audio books work fine, provided they're MP3 format.
Video works okay provided: (a) You don't mind watching low-res video on the tiny screen (b) you have an avi file that you would like to use that (c) can be converted to a format I'd never heard of, SVN. In fact, the converter Creative supplies on their website would charitably described as "in development"
Bluetooth is a puzzle to me, and one that left me most disappointed. I assumed that Bluetooth would let me connect with a computer and transfer files. To put it simply: it does not work that way. In fact, the computer will only occasionally see the M300, and when I connected, I couldn't actually do anything with it. After digging through the instructions a bit, Bluetooth is only for connecting speakers to it, or in the case of your car, if you support streaming stereo music through your car's stereo, it works great.
Battery life is great (I got 9 hours listening to music), and it charges quickly.
So what can you say about this player? If you compare it to an iPod, you're really not being fair. This player is 1/3 the price, and while it lacks the polish of the Apple product, it does everything you need it to. In fact, its become my favorite player for taking to the gym. The combination of low price, good feature set, wireless connectivity to cars with Bluetooth, great sound and long battery life make this worth a look if you're more concerned with usable features than style.
Provided your expectations are reasonable, you'll like this player.
NOTE: I had to upgrade the firmware of the player to improve the stability of Bluetooth. Your version may come with the newest firmware, but if it doesn't, you can go to the Creative website. Upgrading is trivial.
on January 11, 2012
The concept of having bluetooth in such a small mp3 player lured me in. It arrived with no visible damage. I followed other user comments and immediately hooked it up to my computer and installed the latest driver. I left it plugged into my PC to fully charge the battery before doing anything else. Then, using Windows Explorer I created a folder under the Zen-Music folder called "Bible". And I transferred all 5gb of mp3 files for my audio Bible program. So far, so good. Being ever so careful as to use only finger-touch pressure (other users had commented about making sure not to press too hard), I moved to the next phase.
I unplugged the Zen M300 and followed the instructions to access my Motorola S505 bluetooth headset and I set the date and time. Everything was still okay. Then, using the arrow-touch-buttons I moved into the folder for my mp3 files. The first file that I played encouraged me because it actually sounded great. So, I backed up in the menu after stopping that file. As I began tapping the buttons to try and move through the menus the problems with this device was revealed!
A circuit somewhere in the device was making a "contact" without my touching anything. The menus would uncontrollably just start moving and scrolling. The only way that I could stop it was to turn it off and back on again. But, from then on I could not control the device because something internally was wrong.
Thankfully, Amazon.com provides such an excellent return policy and instructions. I put everything back into the nuclear-explosion-proof plastic box that I had carefully opened with an exacto knife. Put the RMA information from Amazon into and on the box and dropped it off at the nearest UPS drop box. Sad to say, the one that I received lived up to the negative comments that I had chose to ignore when proceeding with the purchase. I'll try a different bluetooth mp3 player as soon as I can find better reviews on one. It won't be a Zen M300.
on June 21, 2012
I have had Creative Zen players for the past 15 years. In fact, my principal player is a 2006-vintage 8GB Zen MicroPhoto, and I bought a number of them so as not to run out if/when the one I'm using breaks down.
But recently I bought a marvelous Kinivo BTH220 Bluetooth Stereo Headphone and was wondering about getting a Bluetooth mp3 player. I found this one and bought it, and it is an absolute marvel.
You see, I have a very extensive 70+GB music library, both popular and classical, and need to keep it organized into a directory tree. This M300 allows me to do so, and to form playlists. I have complete control of how my music is organized and stored and played back. Admittedly, this required competence in dealing with computers and files. But if you do have that competence, then this is the best player for you.
Many complain about the touch screen. They are idiots. This is not an iPod-like touch screen. It is a capacitance sensing screen which can detect touch along the 4 sides of the device. With your thumb on the screen and index finger below, Simply squeeze gently and it reacts predictably. It can only sense up, down, right and left.
I'll be buying me another one, just to make sure I have a spare in case this one happens to die on me.
on December 7, 2011
I so wanted to like this little player, but I found it pretty hard to control. After a few hours of use, the device froze and there was nothing I could do to get it working again. I let the battery go completely empty hoping that would force a reset, but when I tried to recharge it... nothing. Essentially it had bricked itself.
So it went back to Amazon. Had it continued to work, I might have given it 2 stars.
on February 5, 2012
I bought the Creative Zen Style M300 16GB mp3 player about a month ago and although it's decent enough, I think this is not the best product from Creative.
The positive: This mp3 player is small and lightweight, so easy to take anywhere. I keep it in my backpack all the time and it hardly takes any space or weighs it down, and I run with it all the time and it barely moves in my pocket. The price is good and it's "good enough" for when you just want to do something simple like playing music while running or traveling. Battery life is outstanding and it recharges quickly.
The negative: The touchscreen controls are too sensitive. In two months of running every day with it, the player has turned off 3 times in my pocket from the movement of me running. In addition, the touch screen seems like a worse choice than actual buttons, since the screen doesn't respond when I wear gloves and is hard to work with when it's in your pocket and you actually have to look at the device to skip a song. Two separate times the screen froze and was solid white, and although it worked fine when I powered down and restarted, it was annoying that I had to stop to do that. One time the mp3 player froze and I had to do a manual reset; it started up again without having to reload any music but it was annoying. For some reason, this mp3 player likes to make "shuffle" the default playback mode, and whenever I press "play all" for an album or artist, it plays it in shuffle unless I pick a specific song to start with then it will play it in the original order. Why would I want to play a perfectly good album in a random order, as if the artists didn't give any consideration to the song order and a random shuffle would improve the quality of the album? Not a big deal, but just another annoying thing about it. For some reason the audio starts automatically every time I turn it on, even if I don't select it to play any music. This is a slight annoyance when I charge it, for example, because it seems like it wants to play all night just because it turns on while it's being charged. This mp3 player also does not have the ability to make on-the-go playlists, so you can't queue up a list of songs from separate albums and artists unless you make the playlist manually on the computer.
I previously had a Creative Zen MX 16GB for 3 years and thought it was fantastic. It had a great iPod alternative, inexpensive as all mp3 players should be by now IMO, and a good and simple interface and playback. In fact, when I lost my old Zen MX I had no hesitation in buying a second one right away. It's too bad that Creative ditched the Zen MX to make this device, the Zen Style, which is clearly a step backward in in the quality and enjoyment it provides. It's obvious that they have the capacity to make a good quality product with the Zen MX, but chose not to for the Zen Style.
on July 28, 2011
I got this for my wife to replace her ZEN V-Plus with which she was quite happy, and I thought M300 would be an improved version of that. Oh boy, was I wrong... I just cannot believe Creative released M300 in its current state! It keeps freezing, use of the microSD card is not well implemented at all (files on it are NOT indexed), refuses to turn on, there is no bookmarking, and you cannot even create playlists on the device, and creating them on your PC is a pain (you cannot use Windows Media Player or Creative's own Media Source Player/Organizer). I would NOT recommend this product in its current state. If Creative picks up the ball and releases a firmware update to make this at least as good as a ZEN V-Plus, then it'd a very different story.
on November 26, 2012
I have to say I was quite disappointed with this. I am used to my Sansa Clip+, but I wanted something I could use wireless headphones with, so when I saw this had Bluetooth and a MicroSD slot, I jumped on it. I hate Windows Media Player almost as much as iTunes (almost, but not quite), so I drag and drop files directly onto my MP3 player and SD card via Windows Explorer, and usually play files by genre with shuffle turned on. However, when I got this one working, I was dismayed to find that unlike my previous MP3 player, it did not integrate the contents of my 16GB SD card into the music library, and the only way I could play anything stored on the card by browsing the folders on the card, and selecting files directly one at a time. This was an absolute deal-breaker for me. Amazon was nice enough to process my return quite promptly, and I will continue to look for another audio solution.