Our first glimpse of Creative's speaker-equipped Zen Stone models was earlier this year at CES, but amid the hullabaloo of the Las Vegas Convention Center it was impossible to judge exactly how capable the little speakers were. Now though, we've got the Zen Stone With Speaker and the Zen Stone Plus With Speaker in our office and ready to rock.
Aside from the inclusion of speakers, both the Zen Stone and the Plus are identical to their non-speaker-equipped brethren. We loved these little guys when we first saw them and you can check out our full reviews here and here.
But the speakers add some fun into the mix, and our first impressions are really positive. It's a fairly loud speaker and for its size, it sounds pretty decent -- about the same as you'd expect from a mobile phone's loudspeaker. It's probably not loud enough to have playing music in a car, but in a tent at a festival, on a desk when listening to a podcast or on the bus annoying old people, it's quite lovely.
The only thing to be aware of is that both models are considerably fatter than their speakerless siblings, and the glossy finish has now become an attractive matte. These will be officially available in the UK from 1 March at the following prices: 2GB Zen Stone with speaker: £29.99; 2GB Zen Stone Plus with speaker: £37.99; 4GB Zen Stone Plus with speaker: £49.99.
The original glossy models retain their original prices: £27.99 for the 1GB Stone, and £36.99 and £49.98 for the Stone Plus in 2GB and 4GB respectively. -Nate Lanxon