My Portable Music Devices: A History - Part 4

I have had my Gmail account for over ten years which is insane. I think in the previous four years (2000 to 2004) I'd had around four different email addresses. I have a load now for various different reasons (professional, the Monday Graveyard, for Spam, for social network etc etc) but back then the idea I'd have the same email address for a decade would have been laughed away. I suppose the idea that my email account would have 125Gb of storage would have also made me slap you directly across the face and tell you to stop being so idiotic, but that's where we are now.

I mention this because I can you how long I had the Creative Zen Touch for - the day I ordered the Zen Touch - 09/01/2005. The day I ordered it's replacement - 29/07/2006.

Creative Zen Vision:M (white, 30Gb)

As previously mentioned, I quickly found that my Zen Touch was slowly walking towards needing a full battery replacement and if I remember rightly I found that replacing the battery was either impossible or expensive to the point that it made no sense. A new one was "only" £189 and I was in the middle of a 10 week placement at Jacobs Engineering at Grangemouth, chaperoned by my father, and I felt that seeing as I was getting paid essentially what was a years wages each month a impulse buy of a new MP3 player was not as frivolous as it originally sounded. Also it pales in comparison to the impulse purchase my friend Jonny made that same summer - using my eBay account he used his ill gotten gains from his summer placement in Aberdeen to buy a fucking banjo. That was a joke that he never lived down.

My model was white, not black, but it was impossible to find a licensed photo of the white model online. 

My model was white, not black, but it was impossible to find a licensed photo of the white model online. 

The Zen Vision:M was a fairly obvious upgrade from the Zen Touch from just a loyalty point of view really. I loved the Zen Touch and the Vision:M was more of the same - same user interface and same touch panel design but with a high resolution colour display and more storage with 30Gb of space. Also, it allowed me to carry over the Napster To Go subscription that I had been using (though later, with the advent of super fast broadband when I moved out in October 2006, I just started torrenting everything anyway). It was on this MP3 player I made some the most important discoveries of my musical life - Boards of Canada, The Smiths, My Bloody Valentine, Belle and Sebastian, Godspeed You! Black Emperor...

Pretty formative I reckon. 

The device also did something that the iPod 5th gen did - play videos. However, the Zen did loads of types of videos that the iPod didn't, and it meant that movies and stuff could be added on to the device. Because broadband wasn't as widespread as it is now back in 2006 I had to do something I've never done since - I ripped movies from my own DVDs. I buy music and download music all the time, but movies? I've never bought movies. Okay, not never, but I do own a really small number of films compared to the number of albums and books I've bought and that's partly because I don't watch movies more than once. I'm not one for rewatching movies over and over (with the exception of Hot Fuzz because comedy and the Harry Potter movies because they're amazing) which is why I don't own many. One time rental on Xbox and gone.

The Zen did play these movies well enough, and on one trip I ripped the entire first series of Father Ted onto it and watched it on the plane. I don't remember where I was going but I do remember squinting at the tiny (but massive for 2006) screen whilst the episodes played. It was fun, to be honest, and a novelty that I found mind-blowing at the time.

The Zen Vision:M however was a workhorse in the music department and was easily the flashiest MP3 player I've ever owned. I actually am surprised to find that I can't find it anyway, unlike the previous devices, which is a damn shame - I must have discarded it in the multitude of moves since I stopped using it (Glasgow to Aberdeen to Texas to Aberdeen to Glasgow) but I wish I hadn't. 

The Vision:M also has the dubious honour of being the last dedicated MP3 device I ever bought - it was replaced by what would belong the future of portable music playing and, sadly, an entire decade of music listening on the go went with it.