It's a new model name, sure, and the distinctive button panel has been booted in favor of a touchscreen, but the most important part of the X-Fi update has nothing to do with hardware, and everything to do with dollars.


Aside from the slightly larger, ever-more-fingerable TFT screen, the X-Fi 2 supposedly adds improvements to sound quality, which are down to murky machinations inside Creative's X-Fi audio processing system, as well as TV-out, which is particularly useful considering the player's generous video codec support. The rest of the specs are more or less unchanged: There's an FM radio, built-in mic, a microSD expansion slot, and syncable calendar, task list, contacts and RSS reader apps. It actually looks like the player has lost a feature since v1 too, since the prior model's Wi-Fi access is nowhere to be found. Not that it ever did much, but still.

Anyway, price! It's pretty low, considering what you get: It's 230 for the 32GB model, $180 for the 16GB and $130 for the 8GB. The highest price point seems like a dig at the iPod Touch, and it could be a clever one: The two players offer completely different things, and if you want to do more than play music and videos, the iPod is the clear choice. On the other hand, if that's all you want to do, a 32GB touchscreen PMP makes a case, if not a particularly strong one. It's available for preorder now, and should ship within a few weeks. [Creative]

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