Zen Micro (4GB) VS iPod Mini (4GB)

This little MP3 player (Zen Micro) that competes directly with the iPod mini was actually good enough to surprise me. Even though I’ve hardly had any experience with iPods (I had a normal one in my hands for a couple of minutes to toy with) in my opinion the Zen is better than the iPod mini, and I’ll explain why in topics.

*updated due to lack of some info (thanks ejrolon)*

Size (WxHxD):

Zen: 3.3" x 2" x 0.7" – Area: 4.62 (Cubic Inches)
Mini: 3.6" x 2.0" x 0.5" – Area: Area: 3.6 (Cubic Inches)

The winner here is iPod Mini, but it’s debatable, since the iPod Mini is a tad longer than the Zen and in some cases might be more uncomfortable to use.


Zen: 4GB
Mini: 4GB

A tie.


Zen: 10 colors
Mini: 4 colors

Clearly the Zen has more options, the only part that changes is the front, but still you can pick a color that is more likely to satisfy your taste.

Battery Life:

Zen: Up to 12 hours
Mini: Up to 18 hours

The Mini has the upper hand here by a cool 6 hours, but, the Zen’s battery is replaceable, and that is a big plus.


Zen and Mini: USB 2.0 (1.1 compatible)

Mini: Supports Firewire

Mini wins this one.


Zen: Zen Micro Media Explorer / (or) Windows Media Player
Mini: iTunes

Some people really like the iTunes for it’s simplicity, I’ve hardly ever used it, I prefer Winamp for my music listening. The Zen Micro Explorer is embedded with Windows Explorer and you can basically drag and drop your music, select a few and change the album/genre/artist, basically it’s simple and effective. You can also use the Sync tab on Media Player to transfer music.

Bottom line for software: If you already use or prefer iTunes for your music management, obviously the Mini wins. My vote goes for the Zen though, for giving a nice and simple alternative to a music management software in case you don’t use one.


Zen has a radio (you can record from) and an audio recorder, Mini has popularity and endless accessories.


Zen: Awkward at first, the scroll panel is ok but takes some getting used to.
Mini: Everyone loves that scroll-wheel, clearly it’s the winner here.


Zen: $179
Mini: $199

Zen wins here, and if you put in a little extra, for $229 you get the 5GB Zen with a power adaptor, pouch and belt clip, and (this is unconfirmed) an extra battery?*. The Mini already comes with a belt-clip.

*My friend purchased a Special Offer 5GB Zen Micro in a Portuguese supplier and it came with an extra Rechargeable Battery and the other extra accessories mentioned above, therefore, I cannot confirm that the US also comes with one, or if all Zen Micro come with one.

Bottom Line:

If you just want a music player that you can expand more and use things such as Air Tunes, or any of the many accessories, (or if you have a Mac) then the Mini is the player for you.

If you want a music player that has a few more quirks, can use to move some files from work to home (or any other computer) and has a better value for your money, then the Zen is for you. WHY? (Many fans will ask) Because the battery is replaceable.

Note: If you wish to comment about something bad or mistaken that I said about the iPod/Zen, I’ll be thankfull if you do, but keep it reasonable. As I mentioned before, my experience with the iPod isn’t very big. So if I made any mistakes or didn’t mention good/bad points for either device, I’ll add them to the comparison, just mail me at griffith.pt{AT}gmail.com . Keep things civilized please!

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