updated 02:25 pm EST, Mon January 7, 2008
Creative Xdock HD and Zens
Creative today offered a minor updated for CES with new versions of its basic ZEN Stone players and a reworking of its Xdock cradle for iPods. The Zen Stone with Speaker and ZEN Stone Plus with Speaker are unusual among very small players for their namesake speaker built into the back; the output provides unusually strong audio without the need for headphones, Creative claims. The basic Stone also holds more music than before, carrying 2GB of AAC, MP3, WMA, and Audible tracks.
Differences between the two drag-and-drop loadable ZENs remain clear, with the Plus adding a small screen, FM radio, and a voice recorder. Colors are more muted for the update with black, blue, pink, and white models shipping later in January at prices of $50 for the base Stone and $60 for the Plus edition.
The company's Xdock HD shifts attention to iPod accessories and is designed to make standard-definition iPod video watchable even on an HDTV; connecting through HDMI or component allows the cradle to upscale video to 720p or 1080i. This update also brings support for the latest iPods such as the classic, third-generation nano, and the touch. It continues to add the company's trademark X-Fi audio processing that allegedly restores lost detail to music tracks. Creative ships the standard Xdock HD with a wireless receiver to beam content across the room as part of a $400 bundle; extra receivers sell for $100. Both options will be ready in the spring.