Zune (30GB, black)
Manufacturer: Microsoft Part number: JS8-00001
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- Bottom Line:
- The Microsoft Zune, with its intuitive interface and solid playback performance, will please most users. But lukewarm format support and the cool but limited Wi-Fi capability will have advanced users seeking more. The Zune is a very good start, though.
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CNET editors' review
price range: $184.27 - $499.00
- Reviewed by: James Kim
- Reviewed on: 11/13/2006
The good: The Microsoft Zune has very good playback performance of audio, video, and photos; intuitive and colorful interface; good FM radio with RDS; works well with Zune Marketplace software; integrated wireless allows sharing of songs (limited) and photos; many accessories available at launch.
The bad: The Microsoft Zune is not backward compatible with WMA-DRM9; weak native video support (cannot play protected content) and no video offerings from Zune Marketplace; cannot be used as a hard drive (and no UMS support); proprietary USB; cannot use Wi-Fi to sync, stream, or purchase content; minimal bundled accessories; no podcast directory; maximum capacity is 30GB.
The bottom line: The Microsoft Zune, with its intuitive interface and solid playback performance, will please most users. But lukewarm format support and the cool but limited Wi-Fi capability will have advanced users seeking more. The Zune is a very good start, though.
Best Buy Employee Insight on the ZUNE
by ghostinkernel32 on October 2, 2006
Pros: Supports Play For Sure Software, Ad-Hoc Wi-Fi, and Video Playback
Cons: Limited Accesories
Summary: Hello, I've been working for Best Buy for about a year and a half. Before my days here I loved the Ipod, until I realized the firmware issues that ...
Summary: Hello, I've been working for Best Buy for about a year and a half. Before my days here I loved the Ipod, until I realized the firmware issues that they are prone to. The Zune has the features and support that the Ipod simply does not. As for the comments pertaining to viruses that I've seen on these reviews, rest assured, the zune is secure from any possible virus contamination. The only draw back off the bat for the Zune is the lack of accessories. Many customers that we help want a purchase based on the amount of accessories that the device offers. There are optional docks, chargers, fm broadcast devices as well that interface with the Zune. The drawback is that the accessories are not readily available in retail stores.
With all of that being said, I don't believe that the sound quality will compare to that of a Creative device (amazing signal to noise ratio) but the audio should still beat out any .acc format encoding. We've tested the new 80gb Ipod against the Zen Vision M using Shure E3c headphones and were dissapointed with the audio quality on our Demo Ipod.
Good Device for the dollar. At 249.99 for the same capacity as an Ipod, more features with less accessories (initially), I'd wager that the Zune will hold it's own against the almighty Ipod.
My Reccomendation, do some research and find out which device suits you the best.
88 out of 119 users found this user opinion helpful.
An actual Zune owner review!!! Better than I expected (and I expected a lot)!
by dcis_steve on November 14, 2006
Pros: Great screen, media rich user interface compared to other units, excellent sound
Cons: Install coughs if your music folder is on network storage. Battery can't be replaced or upgraded.
Summary: I was at the door this morning when Target opened. To my surprise, Target gave me a $25 gift card for some Zune promotion they're running, which made me ...
Summary: I was at the door this morning when Target opened. To my surprise, Target gave me a $25 gift card for some Zune promotion they're running, which made me even happier about the purchase.
My install went smoothly until I got to the express setup. I got a "could not file a file" error. I also tried custom setup but that didn't work either. In any case, I continued through the rest of the setup without any problems. It turns out the installation coughed on me because I have "My Documents" folder (which holds My Music) on an attached USB network drive. A friend of mine had his setup normally on the C drive and his installation had no such issues.
Anyway, this installation burp I ran into didn't cause any problems whatsoever. I attached the Zune to the cable when instructed and everything was cool from then on.
The Zune music software is easy to use and I actually really like it a lot (yes, a little surprised). It takes care of album art better than everything else that I had previously used with a Microsoft label on it. The marketplace is well designed and quick to find what you want. One downer is that their catalog is far smaller than Itunes but I imagine that will change very quickly.
Synchronizing my entire library of songs (almost 2500 songs) didn't take long at all. Firing up the Zune with all my stuff in it showed that the sync took perfectly. The sound quality is outstanding and I've even tried hooking the Zune up to computer speakers, my stereo and even an fm modulator I already use with my Archos AV420. In all cases, very high quality sound with no noise whatsoever (aside from the usual that is associated with fm modulators). The EQ features are basic but all are useful.
My favorite feature us the user interface. In my opinion, it is fluid and really looks awesome. Especially when you can take your best vacation scenery photos and use them as a background. The Zune does this in a very cool way. Instead of resizing the whole thing to fit the screen, it uses only a portion out of the middle of the graphic and you'll notice that the background fades out and zooms in when you begin using the menus from the home page - a very cool effect. Once you get use to the sliding top menu and the regular vertical menu, it's extremely fast to get from one spot to another.
Pictures and video also look great on the Zune and this is where the Zune pulls ahead of other devices (including the Ipod) in my opinion. The Zune software converts video files automatically without you having to worry about any of it, and the playback is smooth and crisp. The screen is big enough for solo movie watching and I look forward to trying out the audio/video adapter to send this content to a TV.
One thing I expected to be a junky useless add-on was the FM tuner but to my surprise it works excellent. In fact, it pulls in stations better than my car does.
I haven't had the chance to use the wifi features yet since I'm the first dude on my block to own one (gloat). Maybe I'll update my review in the future if I get a chance to try that.
My only gripes were the install, which turned out to be no problem at all, and the fact that the battery can't be upgraded or replaced. It would have been nice to know that if something happened to your battery it would be an easy fix. And better yet, to buy extra batteries to use on long flights when you want to watch movies.
I unpackaged the Zune carefully and made sure I didn't throw away the receipt because I was a little unsure with this being the first release of a new Microsoft product and all. However, my skepticism was unwarranted. The Zune delivers and I think it's the pick of the pack now. They've done a good job of not over complicating the device without it lacking features. It does just what you would expect, and then some.
Go get yours...
57 out of 59 users found this user opinion helpful.
by danielgarces on November 14, 2006
Pros: Sound Quality
Summary: I will try to be very objective (a bit different from most of the reviews posted here. I will start stating that I own two I-pods (Mini-6GB and the Ipod ...
Summary: I will try to be very objective (a bit different from most of the reviews posted here. I will start stating that I own two I-pods (Mini-6GB and the Ipod Video 30 GB) and they will be the precedent to make up my ideas. I got me a Zune this morning on my way to work. I been playing wit the Device all day long, (by the way, I am not lazy. I work for a firm that provides consulting services and I am in charge of technology.) I have the Black Zune in my hands and I feel safe to say that the device has been beautifully crafted. The case is Transparent? And material? I am sure that it will take more than regular wear and tear to get scratch. It is bigger of what I expected, compared it with the ipod but the screen is big as well and perform like a dream. I had been amazed for the picture resolution. This is huge if you are thinking and use the device for photos and video. The menus are extremely user friendly and easer to operate compared with I-pod. Of course if you own and I-pod, it won’t make any difference since it menu has not changed dramatically between generations and models. My point is that everything on the Zune is easier to find and operate and even if you have no experience whatsoever in this devices, you’ I be able to rock and roll with it out of the box. Sound? ……. Well… I am sorry to every Ipod user, but the quality of sound of this device is way much better. May be the headphones? Just in case I tested Zune Vs Ipod using different Headphones and external Speaker and the result was the Zune audio reproduction quality blowing the competition? The difference is very easy noticeable. I use the same MP3 file to conduct the test.
I did not performed any test of the Wi-Fi capabilities (since It takes two or more Zune), but based on the software, it’s more than sharing songs between your friends. It allows you to search for Zune users in your range, and create a “Virtual Social Network”. The way I see it, the possibilities are infinite since the hardware is already in and it will take a simple update to add new functions.
I am not much of a radio listener and to me the radio Perform “like radio”. Some stations fine and some others…. well you know at least you won’t have to run and buy a portable radio in case of an approaching hurricane.
So far I been impressed with the performance of Zune, and I found only one thing that is bothering me………… When you are listening at your music and you switch to view photos, the music will stop…. Hey Microsoft nerds!!!….. I got you a software update on the first Day! I will continue playing with the device and I will post new findings. Good Luck!!Updated
I have to retract myself. The issue of the audio turning off while your watch your pictures applies only if you are listening Radio Stations.Updated
At this point I guess should be many Zune users that have already noticed this. It took me a long time to figure it out, because I usually do not carry my Zune with the headphones since I use it mostly trough my home theater or car. Probably very insignificant, but have you realized that the stock headphones magnet together? Yes… they do!! Try pairing the L and R sign. No more headphones jumping all over when you are running to catch the train.
31 out of 34 users found this user opinion helpful.
Stick to Creative Zen Vision:M
by sms14091991 on November 13, 2006
Pros: Wireless Sharing, 30GB, Built-in FM receiver, 3-inch screen, Definitely Better Than iPod
Cons: Too many restrictions, WiFi usage limited, no alarm n clock n games, no outlook synchronization, screen slightly washed out, small battery capacity(800mAh), only 1 video format with 1 resolution sppt.
Summary: Stop comparing with iPod. Definitely iPod will lose. Compare with Creative Zen Vision:M, Zune will lose slightly.Why Zen?People go for these products because of music and especially ...
Summary: Stop comparing with iPod. Definitely iPod will lose. Compare with Creative Zen Vision:M, Zune will lose slightly.Why Zen?People go for these products because of music and especially videos. The Zen supports all video formats. I can just drag and drop my movies. For Zune, i can't. Only WMV format is supported at 320 by 240 resolution. No higher resolution supported. That means if i output my videos to my LCD TV, the quality will be bad. The Zen can output 4 times higher resolution. Think again, is Zune the best 30GB media player? No. Stick to Creative Zen Vision:M.
19 out of 25 users found this user opinion helpful.
A Surprisingly Well-Made (and fun) Device
by toosday on November 15, 2006
Pros: Wifi, big screen, decent battery, non-fingerprint surface
Cons: Songs not wifi downloadable, no wireless headphones
Summary: When I first got my hands on the Zune, like most others, I immediately went for the click-wheel. That just proves how much the iPod is embedded into our brains. ...
Summary: When I first got my hands on the Zune, like most others, I immediately went for the click-wheel. That just proves how much the iPod is embedded into our brains. However, the circle is actually a set of buttons.... and it doesn't take more than 30 seconds to get used to. Moving around the interface is as quick and intuitive as the iPod.
The screen is big and bright and automatically switched to landscape mode when viewing photos and videos. And when you are viewing in landscape, all of the buttons automatically changed direction, too. (Meaning up and down becomes left and right.) It would be nice to have some built-in support for left-handed people, but alas, there is none.
The ability to send songs wirelessly to friends with Zunes is very quick (about 15 seconds per song). It would be nice to be able to keep the songs for longer that 3 days/3 plays. Bumping that up to about 5 days would be great. You can also send full playlists wirelessly! You can turn this feature off, also, so that no one sees your Zune and can send you songs. Though you can name your Zune, you can't give it a personal avatar. It'd also be great if you could download songs from a store using wifi.
The sound quality of the Zune is very good when using the headphones that come with the device. I haven't cranked it up to the highest volume because I want to preserve my ears. With the wireless ability being such a big sell with Zune, I very much wish it came with wireless headphones.
The build of the device seems very sturdy and it resists fingerprints (even the black and brown) very well. It's not glossy like the iPod and some other mp3 players, but instead is a slightly rubberized matte finish. True, the screen will get fingerprints if you touch it, but the body won't. Also, the user interface (menus and such) are quite fun to fly through once you first get the device. You are able to set your own customized background image and the menus fly in and out of the screen elegantly.
Overall, I wish the Zune took more advantage of its wifi features (which apparently will be updated soon), but the device is very well-made, easy to use and sturdy. The best surprise for me was the screen clarity, wifi speed and fingerprint-less surface.
14 out of 15 users found this user opinion helpful.
Zune owner and Electronics salesman
by Outstanding Punk on November 17, 2006
Pros: Great (but not amazing) audio quality, good video quality, resumption of interrupted video, user friendly and a built in FM radio.
Cons: It lacks a microphone, does not have a clock and no video available in the marketplace.
Summary: I've now owned five different mp3 players from five different companies. And so far, I must admit I like the Zune better than the others.
Well, at ...
Summary: I've now owned five different mp3 players from five different companies. And so far, I must admit I like the Zune better than the others.
Well, at least two of the cons I stated can be addressed in firmware updates, namely the lack of a clock and WiFi features. Heck, even games could be coming down the road for all I know. I do also hope that video in the marketplace for purchase is something available down the road.
A replaceable battery and Plays For Sure compatability would also have been nice features that this unfortunately does not have.
Size: The Zune is a tiny bit thicker than I expected. It feels a little akward to leave in my front pocket at a little bit over half an inch in depth. Actual physical size comes in at (rounding up a tiny bit): 4.4 inches high, 2.5 inches wide and .6 inches deep. When not in use, it finds a home in my back pocket.
One thing that strikes me as somewhat useless (but neat) is the ability to see what other people are doing with their Zunes. It's all well and good that people can see that I'm watching a certain video or listening to song X, but they can't request the song wirelessly from me. They would have to tap me on the shoulder and ask.
In regards to its battery life, watching video on it does tend to chew up your power. However you will easily have enough to get through one, maybe two complete movies. WiFi can also be a battery drain, but you can turn that off. The vast majority of your time spent using the Zune will not be with it anyways, in WiFi's current incarnation. So you might as well turn it off.
The GUI is easy to navigate and is visually, is quite nice. It seems to be the most user friendly of those I've both owned or played with.
As for the video usefulness/quality and audio, here we go. I haven't yet discovered a limit to the amount of videos you can interrupt and resume. It currently has my position saved in 8 different episodes of The Tick. Video quality is definitely not on par with that of a portable DVD player, but it does match up evenly with the video quality of other mp3 players. Audio quality is definitely above some of the previous models I have owned, but there are a few better sounding ones out there (Creative for example).
Considering the size of the player, the radio seems quite strong. I'm able to sometimes pick up Chicago stations which are roughly 75 miles away with little to no static. And if the station supports it, you'll get in the station's name and the current song they are playing. Which is a definite perk as I constantly wonder what the heck they're playing and hate waiting for the DJ to give a recap of what they've just played.
The casing itself seems very durable, and not easily scratched. It seems to have some semi-clear plastic-like covering. Which, when the light hits it looks like it is blue. Which with the black casing looks fairly neat.
Overall it's an excellent and solid player, and has excellent features for the cost. They intend to integrate the Xbox 360, Zune and Vista. It will be interesting to see how it will work when all wrapped together.
9 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
I've Been Converted!
by IKE*NY on November 19, 2006
Pros: Great sound, FM Built-In, Subscription (Zune Only), Big Screen, Great playback.
Cons: Limited Wi-Fi, Only Zune compatable, can't record FM,
Summary: Imma proud Microsoft Soldier who's always had a great respect for Apple. I even bought the Ipod which I was happy with until now. Look, outside of the gang ...
Summary: Imma proud Microsoft Soldier who's always had a great respect for Apple. I even bought the Ipod which I was happy with until now. Look, outside of the gang war that goes on between Apple & Microsoft, the Zune is honestly a good device. For 249, you get radio, clear & solid playback, and unlike itunes, i can listen to all the music i want for $15.00 a month, and if i decide i really like the song, i can buy it for $0.79. Not to mention, a bigger screen, and quicker response then the ipod. movies load with just about no pause time, i can customize the background in each menu, its real simple operation , not to mention pretty well built and not all fragile like the ipod is ,no scatch prone design here..dont get me wrong, i love,...."loved" ipod. and you can spit on anything with the microsoft logo all you want, but the fact of the matter is,. Ol' Bill is sitting 50+ BILL, Micro is worth 400+ BILL, they dominate, and its for a reason, now they have a worthy MP3 player, and i can talk, i own and use one, and i've owned and used an ipod (which i sold to buy the Zune). all the bashers dont take it personally, Apple is still a great company, their machines are amazing! and so is the ipod, but give props where props are DUE, the Zune has earned it
7 out of 8 users found this user opinion helpful.
Excellent player, Zune Marketplace needs more development
by aaldag on November 17, 2006
Pros: user interface / navigation, album art, sound quality
Cons: only 30GB size available, Zune Marketplace still needs a little work
Summary: I got my zune this week and it has beat my expectations. I am moving from a third generation iPod, so I am not using the current breed of video ...
Summary: I got my zune this week and it has beat my expectations. I am moving from a third generation iPod, so I am not using the current breed of video iPods as a reference point in this review.
Device - it is about the same thickness as my old 3G iPod but still a little longer. The size isn't unbearable, but like most users I would have liked something a little smaller. But honestly if size was my only deciding factor, I would have got a nano. In just a few days, I have grown to like the softer, velvety feel of the Zune over the slick, glass-like feel of the iPod. This is probably a personal preference thing, so unlike other reviewers I won't imply that I am the authority on this factor.
User interface / navigation - After only an hour or two of use, I was immediately used to the twist navigation and like it quite a bit more than the drill down approach on the iPod. Again probably user preference, but the lack of the iPod click wheel approach really enables this navigation approach which I feel is superior.
Zune Marketplace - this is the one shortcoming of the device. I will not comment on content available, b/c I don't have a good reference point. 100% of my music comes from CD's or MP3's from emusic.com. As such there is no DRM issues for me. The marketplace software though, must incorporate a way to manage podcasts in future releases / upgrades. This is much more difficult to manage in the Zune marketplace than in iTunes. Similarly the smart playlists in iTunes offer more options to users than the auto playlists in Zune. Specifically, the Zune software does not allow you to use other playlists as a filter for creating auto playlists (e.g., this makes it difficult to create a playlist that sources from 2 or more genres and must incorporate a rating of at least 4 stars). Transferring my music from iTunes to Zune marketplace was painless (it pulled in ratings and playlists with no problems, but it could not pull in smart playlists). Only other criticism is that I am a big fan of last.fm, and there is not a plug-in yet that enables last.fm to track the songs I play through the Zune marketplace (as a result, I am actually still using iTunes to listen to music on the PC - if last.fm or someone comes up with a plug-in, I would switch to Zune marketplace to listen to music on the PC).
Display - it would be great to have a higher resolution screen, but frankly it is more than sufficient for pictures, videos and album art. The album art view during music playback is one of the nicer features of the zune.
Sound - again I think this is a personal preference thing. I think both the Zune and iPod sound quality are sufficient for an MP3 player - this isn't a high-end home stereo after all. I may be wrong on this, but it seems like the iPod plays a little louder.
Overall I've been very happy. Try to read the reviews from people that actually own these to get a real perspective on how they work. I am neither pro- nor anti-Microsoft (actually I own both a mac and a windows-based pc). It may be impossible to do, but if you get around all of the microsoft haters giving reviews, my guess is that this device would be comparable to the other leading mp3 player reviews on CNET. I just need to find more users out there so I can try the sharing feature (no thoughts on that yet)...
6 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
by Leindurstit on November 14, 2006
Pros: Attractive, Profession look. Superb interface. Excellent and high-quality playback.
Cons: No WMP support. Button miss-pressing. Limited Wifi.
Summary: Rarely do you see a product from Microsoft that isn't subject to a barrage of heavily (and I do mean _heavily_) biased reviews, comparing it to other products and ...
Summary: Rarely do you see a product from Microsoft that isn't subject to a barrage of heavily (and I do mean _heavily_) biased reviews, comparing it to other products and services that typically doing whatever Microsoft's products do, only better. Look at the so-called "credible" reviewers working for the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. Whatever happened to journalist standard of forming and supporting a credible and unbiased opinion? Perhaps if you set the competition aside (or look at it on less subjective and comparative scale) you will be able to grasp a fair review of a product. But may I say that even the Zune does not require this formality, for it is a capable, stable, and solid product in nearly every regard.
Having been looking forward to the November 14th release date for a while now, it was safe to say that I was overjoyed when the day finally came. After getting up in the morning, eating a quick breakfast, showering, and heading off to my single class for the day, it finally hit me that today would be the day that I would experience the Zune first-hand. Certainly the harsh words put out by the big-league review columnists couldn't be completely true, right?
Come 10 AM, and there I was standing at the local Circuit City, eager to finally get my hands on the product. After corralling a service rep to fetch one from the display case, making the choice of Black for color, checking out, getting back in the car, driving home, and getting upstairs to my computer, the time that I had longed for finally came to fruition.
The first thing you’ll get with Zune is the brown package. The box itself is fairly small, and is opened by pulling the top off from the bottom. Once open, you will be greeted with the phrase “Welcome to the Social,” on the side of the inner box. Open a the flip-out side panel, and you will see your Zune for the first time, nestled in an indentation in the packaging. A brown cord allows you to dislodge the Zune from the packaging, and two more flip-out panels to the left and right of the Zune house the magnetic black ear buds, and the sync USB cable. Another opening at the top houses a small instructional guide, software, and other papers, along with a carrying pouch. Overall, the packaging is nice, and allows you to get to your product fairly quickly. The instructions are very simple, and you won’t have much of a problem figuring them out. The carrying pouch, however, is too small and tight-fitting, and seems to be provided to prevent damage from scratches, rather than impacts.
Installing the software doesn’t take too long, and after a restart, you are prompted to plug in the device. You will be given the opportunity to name the device, and you will then be guided to setting up a Zunetag account. I haven’t yet set up any online service with the device yet, so I cannot comment on how well the Zune store functions. The device will automatically synchronize your music the first time out, with the option of synchronizing your pictures and videos as well. The process went fairly fast, and any additional syncs after the initial load are quick. The Zune software itself seems to be derived heavily from Windows Media Player 11, as the album-based libraries and options dialogues will suggest, and everything fits well and is laid out in a practical manner. While some may be turned off by the fact that you can’t just use Windows Media Player for adding music, it should be noted that you would require a new piece of software anyway if you want to upgrade your devices software when it is updated.
Once all of your media is loaded, it’s on to the Zune itself. Physically, the device is tall, as to accommodate its 3-inch QVGA display, and is semi-thick; no thicker than the size of a small-medium cell phone. The device is finished in a rubbery matte finish that feels very sturdy and lays true on a flat surface. The button layout and functionality is well designed, and the only problem you will have navigating the exceptionally streamlined and intuitive menu system is accidentally pressing the center button instead of up on the directional circle, as they are both finished smooth and shiny. The portrait-based display is very efficient for displaying lists of albums, songs, or play lists, and the album-art centric Now Playing screen also features an thoughtful layout, showing you the pertinent information to your current song. Video and picture playback forces the device into landscape mode, rotating the screen 90 degrees counter-clockwise. This allows you to take full advantage of the large screen when viewing said media.
While the Wifi’s state in the device is virtually crippled, it is reassuring to know that it may very well be taken advantage of in a more practical fashion through future software updates. The sharing feature is nice in theory, but the limitations that are imposed even on non-copy protected music seems a bit excessive, especially for elusive tracks that won’t be easily found on online music stores.
The FM Radio feature is a very nice addition, and the display of track and station information is incredibly nice and useful. Reception won’t be without occasional static, but overall it is very consistent and distortion-free. While you cannot record live radio as you can with other players, the ability to view track information is a near-exclusive feature and is very valuable.
Overall, playback is smooth and uninterrupted by jostles and bumps, and the menu system is responsive and polished. Audio quality is top-notch, with all levels of audio - bass, midrange, and treble – reproduced accurately and crisply. The unit allows for several equalizer presets, and each one has a unique sound to it. The absence of a bass-boost feature may seem like a loss, but you’ll be surprised by the amount of kick you receive by the default settings that you’ll learn to not miss such a feature. Video playback is also smooth, but while I haven’t encountered a problem yet, you may be prone to skipping or momentary pauses due to excessive bumping or movement, since the device is not solid-state.
The device, while larger than other players on the market, holds a presentable, professional and refined look. The physical integrity (yet curiously lightweight construction) of the case only bolsters the units longevity and standout power. The semi-transparent case with a “double-shot” of color looks very cool in person, and the unit definitely stands out among the sea of white-colored devices. It is also a magnet for popularity at the office, as one person tells another person, who tells two other people about your new Zune…and they all try to use the directional-pad as a touch pad for some reason…
My only gripes about the device come from the people who brush it aside under the veil of being a Microsoft product. Microsoft isn’t printed on the device for a good reason: it’s unlike any other Microsoft product you will have ever used. The intuitive interface is easy and fun to use, the synchronization is fast and seamless, and the product’s longevity through software updates gives you reassurance that even though it is a first-generation product, you won’t be sorry when they announce a software breakthrough.
I personally recommend the device for those seeking a competent, well-rounded media player. The combination of easy-to-use software and superb playback is a major strongpoint of the device, and the Wifi feature, while limited now, will most definitely come into play in more useful ways in the near future. The only shortcomings of the device are limited format support, and the need for separate software and drivers to make the unit work on a computer. In the end, the product is a positive mark for Microsoft’s Zune initiative, and if the goals of the product are anything like that of the Xbox, then we may have a product with some serious competitive power in a very short time.
7 out of 10 users found this user opinion helpful.
Zune is ok for a first draft, but needs improvement
by cherrera2001 on December 27, 2006
Pros: Easy to use interface (on the Zune itself), good battery life, decent availability of accessories, availability of the "all-you-can-download" type option for songs
Cons: Worthless WiFi feature, Zune software application needs serious help, no video selections on Zune Marketplace
Summary: I have been an iPod guy for a while, I’m not a Mac addict or a pc addict (actually I like Debian Linux) however, I decided it's time ...
Summary: I have been an iPod guy for a while, I’m not a Mac addict or a pc addict (actually I like Debian Linux) however, I decided it's time to try something new. I've kept up a bit with the portable mp3 player market so I knew a bit about what to expect. I do like the interface, and the fact that the factory skin of the player is not as susceptible to damage as the iPod's. I also like the interface a few more "personalization" type of options like wallpapers.
I don't like the wireless features. I think if they spent the time and engineering effort to put a wireless card in it, that they should at least have the ability to sync wirelessly, or download songs wirelessly. Currently you can only share songs Zune to Zune. You can play the full song for 3 days at which point you are prompted to purchase the song.
The "all-you-can-download" Zune pass which is 14.99/month is nice. My mood in music changes a lot, some days I like electronic, other days I like metal and this allows me to download to my mood. Of course, they are DRM'ed so that you cannot burn the music. If you want to burn the music you will be prompted to buy it. Also if I cancel my subscription all the music I had downloaded (that was not purchased on top of the 14.99/month) will cease to work.
The Zune software has issues. It locks up a bit, and periodically causes IE 7 to crash. It also has a hard time recovering a download if a freak network outage occurs. It was interesting to see that they did not merge it with Media Player that comes with Windows.
I do like the compatibility with the Xbox, but of course it is catered towards the 360. It's a pretty easy link to create and is handier than streaming music from my Windows box to my Xbox.
Overall, I would say, if you are looking to the Zune for a host of new features over the iPod, don't expect the features to be there. The iPod does its job and it does it well (even has fun little games, the Zune does not). The iTunes software is a proven piece of software and (aside from the few bugs in the new release of iTunes) seems to be on a constant track for improvement. I can't say that the Zune is on a constant track for good things or bad. I like the Zune, (I would like to see some of the features re-vamped) but I don't think that I will be selling the iPod’s anytime soon.Updated
The first feature that, at least, turned my eyes was the FM tuner. I know that others have integrated this into their mp3 players, and I wish that Apple had/will put it in the iPod. However, it is a nice addition to this music player.
Also I forgot to mention that there was a firmware upgrade for my Zune. It, I think, significantly fixed a lag problem while navigating the player. So at least the updates are taking the right direction.
5 out of 6 users found this user opinion helpful.
- Manufacturer: Microsoft
- Part number: JS8-00001
- Description: Zune starts with a digital media player and adds a twist. You can wirelessly share selected full-length sample tracks, playlists, pictures or your homegrown tracks directly from Zune to Zune. You can listen to the full-length songs that you receive up to three times in three days, flag the ones you like and easily buy them the next time you sync up. You can discover new music in the Zune Marketplace, and show off your favorite pictures and videos on the big, bright screen. Zune has all that and a built in FM tuner, too. Let your inner DJ run wild.
- Product type Digital player
- PC interface(s) supported Wi-Fi,
- Digital storage Built-in 30 GB Hard disk drive
- Weight 5.6 oz
- Dimensions (W x D x H) 2.4 in x 0.6 in x 4.4 in
- Color Black
Digital Player / Recorder
- Supported digital audio standards MP3 ,
- Playback modes Random play / shuffle
- Additional features Variable bit-rate compatible
- Audio system built-in display LCD
- Diagonal size 3 in
- Resolution 320 x 240
- Sound output mode Stereo
- Addtional features MPEG-4 playback,
Built-in FM radio,
USB 2.0 compatibility,
- Tuner bands FM
- Remote control None
- Connector type 1 x Headphones Mini-phone stereo 3.5 mm
Battery / Power
- Battery Lithium ion Rechargeable Player batteryIntegrated
- Mfr estimated battery life 14 hour(s)
- Battery capacity 700 mAh
- Operating system Microsoft Windows XP SP2,
Microsoft Windows Vista
- CNET Labs: Battery drain test / audio playback 793.395 min
Specs: 30 GB,
Player battery - Rechargeable - Lithium ion,
Specs: 30 GB,
Player battery - Rechargeable - Lithium ion,
Specs: 30 GB,
Player battery - Rechargeable - Lithium ion,
Player battery - Rechargeable - Lithium ion,