Creative Zen Stone – hands on

[intro]The new Creative Zen has rocked up to my desk today, and squared up to Apple’s Shuffle in a battle of mini MP3[/intro]Taking up just a tiny amo

Taking up just a tiny amount of real estate on my desk today is Creative’s new 1GB Zen Stone.

First impressions are good, though notably lack the ‘wow’ factor that comes when opening up a box fresh iPod Shuffle.

For a start it’s made of glossy plastic rather than the brushed metal of Apple’s micro incarnation. Sure it feels as light, but without that premium finish the whole thing looks just that bit cheaper. Of course, it is, at just £30 but you don't want to be reminded of that every time you look at it.

As you can see from the picture (above) it’s a tad bigger than the Shuffle but no fatter, and to be honest, when the dimensions are this small, who’s going to notice a few extra millimetres on either side? There’s no clip either, so you can forget securing it to your smoking jacket.

When it comes down to business, the Stone sounds pretty decent, despite the horrific pre-loaded tunes. Once I’ve had a chance to feed it with some decent music, I’ll be putting it through its paces so listen out for a full review on the podcast and on site soon.

One thing though, the sample I’ve been sent is in black; surely Creative has missed a trick by not pre-loading it with some Slayer tracks and calling it the ‘Rock’? No? Just me then.