Before Apple’s iPod upset the apple-cart, Creative (opens in new tab) bossed the MP3 player market. And the company is still ticking over very nicely, building portables, speakers and more.
The Zen Style M100 packs in 4GB of memory – you can double that for an extra £15 – and there’s a microSD for adding up to 32GB more.
Twenty hours of battery life on a full charge, support for the usual selection of formats and a voice recorder are the other vital statistics.
A 1.45in TFT screen looks the part, but is tricky to read from certain angles. Touch controls are fairly effective but it does collect smudgy fingerprints as if its life depends on it.
The earphones steer admirably away from brightness – to the extent that, in fact, they can sound a touch woolly.
The M100 itself could sound cleaner across the tonal spectrum but there’s admirable thud and weight, and decent insight. It’s worthy of a spot on your shortlist.