Creative Zen official armband/sportsband - not worth it

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The Genuine Creative Zen Armband

On first impressions, this neoprene sports armband for the newest Zen MP3 player is very visually attractive, and easy on the eye. The Zen fits nicely into the stretchy pocket, and is secured by a flap over the top. There are also raised pads on the outside where the buttons on the Zen are, meaning if you manage to put it into the armband without the "Hold" button activated, you can control the Zen to an extent without having to remove it.

However, this is where the good points finish. The design although nice and simple, is obviously oversimplified and very impractical. It is extremely hard to fit the armband over your arm securely, since the ends attach via velcro, with no foldback option. This means you need a friend to attach it onto you, or you need to slip it on and off continually to adjust it yourself.

This lack of a "fold back" mechanism, or double velcro, is a serious oversight on Creative's part. There are many "alternative" non-official armbands offered on eBay, and Creative's lack of support on this matter (their customer service is EXTREMELY hard to get hold of) means I have purchased one of those, and to be honest found it much, much better made and more practical than the official armband reviewed here.

Additionally as an annoyance - there is no screen or window on the front, so although you can press the buttons through the neoprene fabric relatively easily, if you hit the wrong button, e.g. the "Random Album" button, you have to take the armband off and take the Zen out before being able to navigate the menus, etc.

And finally, several users including myself have reported a slight rash when using the armband. I am NOT allergic to neoprene, I know that because I surf a lot (wetsuits!). However, the neoprene material being used here irritates. My opinion (and others) is that it is not particularly breathable, and so when you are working out at the gym, and sweating, etc. your skin cannot breathe properly and therefore reacts... (oh, and it tends to slip down your arm when damp with sweat, even when tightened almost to the point of being extremely uncomfortable).


Conclusion: Creative could have done a lot better. A nice idea, but a lack of thought to finish it off and actually make it practical. Buy a non-official one, they are much, MUCH better.

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