Creative ZiiO 7″ Tablet Review

By on April 21, 2011
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A good first attempt for a tablet that sounds weaker than it is.

Good: Excellent sound quality, HDMI output, Battery life
Bad: Resistive screen with low resolution and washed-up colors, No Arabic
Price: AED 1199
* The price is the Suggested Retail Price at the time of review. Please call a retailer to confirm the latest price for this product.

Its a bit hard reviewing the Creative ZiiO- especially after you’ve played with the iPad for almost a year. This resistive-screen Android 2.x based tablet feels outdated by simply reading the specs. But we’ve seen many times before that specs don’t always tell the complete story. Can the ZiiO, even with lower specs have what it takes to compete? Lets find out.

We recived the 7” version of the Creative ZiiO which comes packaged in a nice little green box along with a charger, a stylus, a USB cable and a quick-start guide. Seperately, Creative also sent us their Bluetooth based WP300 headphones to test the audio quality of the ZiiO.

The Creative ZiiO is a nice looking tablet with a screen size similar to the 7” Samsung Galaxy Tab. It has dimensions of 207.4 x 133 x 13.7mm and weighs 400grams which makes it slightly larger and heavier than the Galaxy Tab that has dimensions of 190.1 x 120.5 x 12 mm and weighs 380 grams. The reason for the larger size on the ZiiO is the bigger sized bezel surrounding the unit. Thankfully, the white color of the bezel doesn’t really make the unit appear much bigger unless directly stuck next to the Tab.

On the top of the unit, you have a 3.5mm audio jack along with an HDMI connector and a USB port. It would have been nice if the ZiiO could’ve been charged from this USB port but that does not seem to be the case. The power/lock button is also located here and a bit too recessed making the unit sometimes a bit harder to turn on. On the right you have volume buttons while the bottom has a power connector. Lastly the left side has a MicroSD card slot.

The front of the Creative ZiiO is dominated by the 7” resistive touch screen with a front-facing camera above it and four touch buttons below it. Sadly, there is no backlight whatsoever for these buttons and since they are touch based, its almost impossible to tap on them in dark environments- I’m not sure how that slipped through Creative’s testing of the unit as these buttons are very frequently used on Android based tablets.

Coming to the specs, the ZiiO is powered by the ZiiLABS ZMS-08 HD Media-Rich Applications Processor. This is basically an ARM Cortex-A8 CPU running at 1GHz. The ZiiO has with 512MB of RAM and comes in 8GB or 16GB of storage capacities. On the connectivity side, you get 802.11b/g wireless networking and Bluetooth 2.1 with A2DP support.

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Abbas Jaffar Ali is the founder of and a blogger, geek and self-declared tech pundit who can't stop talking about technology. Find him on twitter as @ajaffarali

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