The Creative Zen Style M300 is a decent small MP3 player with ambitions to become a low-cost alternative to the iPod. Out of the box, you get the player (which is nicely styled), a USB cable, and some headphones. Truthfully, I didn't try the headphones, as they're basic, cheap in-ear headphones. For comparison sake, I used my Koss PortaPros which I've listened with for years and they gave me a basis for comparing it to my collection of mp3 players.
The packaging promises a lot: in addition to MP3 music, you get Bluetooth connectivity, videos, pictures, audiobooks, and FM radio. A great feature set, and for the money, packs quite a punch.
The touch screen is simple, intuitive, and reasonably sharp and bright for its size, its one of the best features of the player. Most people will find their way around this player in under 30 seconds, its that intuitive.
As you connect the M300 to a Windows 7 PC, the player looks like a portable drive, and indeed it acts that way. If you want, you can just drag and drop songs. The instructions say you can use WinAmp if you want; I like using MediaMonkey as it will automatically convert songs to the appropriate format (MP3). The players instructions claim it will support the old-style Windows DRM formatted music; as I have any copy-protect music, I didn't have an opportunity to test that feature.
The sound was satisfying with sufficient volume, and good clarity. The touch screen gives you the ability to adjust the EQ to suit your music and listening tastes.
However, be careful if you fill the player completely; while it will not lock up, it will not boot up, claiming you have it too full. I had to use Windows Explorer to delete a few songs. From then on, I used the Micro-SD slot to add to the capacity.
The FM radio is reasonably sensitive; I use it mainly to access the in-gym broadcasts of the TV sound, and it worked fine for that purpose.
Audio books work fine, provided they're MP3 format.
Video works okay provided: (a) You don't mind watching low-res video on the tiny screen (b) you have an avi file that you would like to use that (c) can be converted to a format I'd never heard of, SVN. In fact, the converter Creative supplies on their website would charitably described as "in development"
Bluetooth is a puzzle to me, and one that left me most disappointed. I assumed that Bluetooth would let me connect with a computer and transfer files. To put it simply: it does not work that way. In fact, the computer will only occasionally see the M300, and when I connected, I couldn't actually do anything with it. After digging through the instructions a bit, Bluetooth is only for connecting speakers to it, or in the case of your car, if you support streaming stereo music through your car's stereo, it works great.
Battery life is great (I got 9 hours listening to music), and it charges quickly.
So what can you say about this player? If you compare it to an iPod, you're really not being fair. This player is 1/3 the price, and while it lacks the polish of the Apple product, it does everything you need it to. In fact, its become my favorite player for taking to the gym. The combination of low price, good feature set, wireless connectivity to cars with Bluetooth, great sound and long battery life make this worth a look if you're more concerned with usable features than style.
Provided your expectations are reasonable, you'll like this player.
NOTE: I had to upgrade the firmware of the player to improve the stability of Bluetooth. Your version may come with the newest firmware, but if it doesn't, you can go to the Creative website. Upgrading is trivial.