BUYER BEWARE: Disappointment from a Longtime Creative User with the ZiiO 7" Tablet
Jun 24, 2011
I have a long history with Creative products, all the way back to the Creative Nomad (if you can believe!), so I was excited when Creative debuted this tablet, but, as a consumer, I've always been skeptical about any product's advertised strengths ... so I waited a while to pick one of these up. I did so about two months ago, and I've been testing it off and on ever since ... and I have to confess some serious disappointments with the Creative ZiiO mostly because it, simply, doesn't perform in the way Creative claims it performs. For the record, I have been in contact with Creative, and I have been assured that they are aware of these shortcomings and are attempting to address them with firmware updates.
As any serious user of contemporary electronics will tell you, memory accessibility is of critical importance. Creative advertises that the ZiiO is available in both 8GB and 16GB models with expandable memory up to 32GB (microSD chips). Out of the box, the unit only has 12GB available; and that's not a tremendous setback since any user is going to be aware that the device requires some internal memory for operations. Subsequent to the purchase, I then purchased three microSD cards: an 8GB, a 16GB, and a 32GB ... and this is where Creative's troubles begin.
The only card that works universally upon use is the 8GB. The 16GB and the 32GB cards will only function properly the first time you've loaded material onto them via the tablet's interface with your PC; however, once you power down your ZiiO for whatever reason, the unit no longer recognizes the media you've loaded onto either of these cards. You have to blank the card and reload all of the media all over again; but, once again, once you power down, rest assured that the ZiiO will not locate your materials once you've powered down. As stated, the only card that doesn't suffer this "lack of recognition" is the 8GB card.
I immediately communicated this error to Creative's technicians, and, as is customary for any tech, the user is first instructed to "power down the unit and start all over." However, the data never returns to the ZiiO's video cache for viewing. It simply vanishes into nothingness. I was then told by a different technician that Creative only tests their product's compatability with MicroSans and Transcend storage cards and that it was highly likely that other manufacturers cards would not work with the product. I explained that all cards were MicroSans cards, and that silenced this technician. Then, I received a third email from a Creative representative who assured me that Creative WAS AWARE of this programming deficiency and technicians were trying to address it with a new firmware update; however, as I've checked Creative's website this morning (two months later), no firmware update has been forthcoming.
Consequently, I've rated the ZiiO an average product (3.0 on Amazon's scale). This is not to say it's exceptional because, if it were, then it would perform AS ADVERTISED out of the box. It doesn't, nor can I assume that it will in the foreseeable future. What this means, in the short term, is that, if you're looking for available memory, you're likely not going to get it with the ZiiO. It's still a good product (the reason for the average ranking); it's just a huge disappointment from this longtime Creative consumer who expected better.
Consider yourself warned. Creative IS NOT a service-friendly organization. It's nearly impossible to contact them regarding technical issues, but it can happen, and you may receive a response (as I've done). Hopefully, the company will inevitably get its act together and provide the marketplace with a suitable alternative to other, more mainstream tablets; this ZiiO just isn't quite there.