"Outstanding"on by cravermonkey
Pros Subscription Service, great interface, SLICK software.
Cons No top end headphones, lack of color choice
Summary Bash MS if you must, but they seem to get it. I'm a professional musician and have waited patiently on the sidelines for a player/interface/program that allows you to discover music legally and without going into bankruptcy. Apple take note. No they won't slay the iDragon anytime soon, but if you like elegant design and outstanding functionality, go with the Zune.
Pros It has great sound quality as usual, and the screen is nice and large just what you need to watch a video. The wireless capabilities have been expanded with the zune 3.0 update.
Cons The battery is not that good especially for watching a lot of videos, the missing eq can be troublesome to a few listeners...
Summary It kicks Ipoooed's butt with the screen and wireless capabilities.
Pros Nice, big, luxurious screen
Awesome interface, everything is easily accessible
Feels great in your hand
WiFi features, like marketplace, song sharing, and wireless sync
Cons The new 3.0 update removed the "Quick List" playlist
Battery life is great, but not as good as the Classic
PC only, no Mac support
Summary First off: The Zune 120 is NOT the iPod Touch's competitor, but instead the iPod Classic. The Zune beats the Classic in features and usability, and definitely in sexiness, especially with the available Zune Originals. The iPod Touch is better than the Zune in more cases, but with less storage size (like a fifth of the size for more price). If you need a mini computer, get the Touch, if you need a great music player, get the Zune.
Overall a brilliant product. The third generation has changed very little, although the black back covering is really really sexy, more so than the 80. The glass screen is VERY scratch resistant, I have no scratches anywhere on my Zune. The WiFi rocks, with a marketplace feature added. The song sharing 3-play limit SUCKS, but I use the feature with my friends a lot. It is quite practical, especially when you want a friend to hear a song, but don't want him handling your zune for the next 3:51 that the song lasts. The games are cool, but the Beta games won't work in the new 3.0 firmware, but I didn't play Solitare that much anyways.
I have hardly had any trouble at all with my Zune, period. It has frozen once, but every product has these times. I can't count on one hand the amount of times my old iPod Classic has frozen.
Absolutely great product! Looks better than the Classic, better interface, subscription service, GOOD FUN games, new clock feature and screen lock are nice, excellent radio, and beautiful screen make this better by far than the iPod Classic, and a more pure music player than the iPod Touch.
Pros Wireless syncing, music subscription availability, GREAT sound quality, large capacity, radio, great screen, larger screen than ipod classic, good music management software. Nice durable case easy navigation.
Cons Battery life could be a touch longer though not a big deal. Older models came with better earbuds also not a biggie. Not as many accessories although they are of better quality. Doesn't work with Mac software.
Summary Let me start by saying I had been an Ipod user. I owned a nano till the click wheel died and I replaced it with a 30gb classic which had served me well. I also had purchased my daughter 2 Nano's. NO LONGER. Ipod's are more popular but they are not as good as Zune's thus my recent purchase of a new 120GB model.As an update to my previous post I have now installed (free on Cnet downloads) some Zune conversion software to my computer. I am now downloading music videos and other content for free using Realplayer and syncing it to my Zune. This is content that in the past I would have PAID FOR in an Itunes world. This makes my Zune an even better choice.
I have a larger screen and much greater capacity than in my 30gb and the price I paid for this 120GB was comparable to what the Ipod cost at the time. The Zune is much more sturdy while not bulky. It is built very well and has a large vibrant screen. The navigation buttons are very easy to navigate and work very well. Battery life is good but like any heavily used battery operated product we will always want more. I can watch 2 movies or listen for 2 days of heavy music play before the battery will die. But as stated that is listening almost every waking moment. In above average use I can get about 3-4 days without having to charge it.
One of the greatest things about my Zune for me is the music quality. The Ipod music quality just doesn't compare especially not for purchased music. The Ipod bitrates are skimpy @ 126Kbps and it shows in the quality of the music. I abandoned the Itunes store and have been buying my music from Amazon's Mp3 store for that reason. The higher bit rates of the Amazon store reveal subtle sounds that are not present in lower quality Itunes AAC downloads. While Mp3 is by no means a great audio codec it is widely used and available and of acceptable quality at higher bit rates. The ability to use WMA, WMA pro or lossless formats is a big deal for me. My car changer will recognize Mp3 but not WMA the WMA capability of my Zune gives me the opportunity to use the WMA format on my Zune and then plug my Zune into the line in, in the car. I paired my Zune with a pretty good set of collapsible Phillips headphones that use an over the head form factor with 40mm magnets. The sound quality is impressive even on a $40.00 headset.
On to video. The video performance on this is great with the large hard drive. I have Batman the dark knight, Ironman, Incredible Hulk, Stepbrothers, Star Wars (Clone Wars), Speed Racer, Tropic Thunder, Hellboy2 & I am Legend on my device with all of my music and several video and audio podcasts and I still have 90GB free!
It is also very cool to have an FM radio. I didn't think I would use it but I have caught myself listening to some local news and weather over the air. This could be very important in the event of an emergency and you have it if you need it. Being able to tag songs to purchase later is also very cool.
A good friend of mine and I also both have Xbox 360's so we were able to use our current gamer tags when setting up our accounts and were recognized as friends as soon as our set up was complete. In the social portion I can see what he has been listening too as he can see what I have been listening to which is quite cool. We also were impressed to know that we could beam songs from device to device without a wifi connection which we thought we needed. My Zune now recognizes my home wifi network which is password protected whenever I need to do something like sync it or want to look at the marketplace from the device.
In summation after only a few days of usage I can't put this thing down it is truly addictive. I am now signed up for my trial of Zune Pass and will add my thoughts on that later but for right now believe me this is MUCH better than my previous Ipods. The classic Ipod is easily trumped by this device. The Ipod touch is a better competitor but it still loses out IMO based on the much smaller capacity the Touch's have and the inferior sound capability. Friends don't let Friends buy Ipods!!!
Updated on Jan 2, 2009
Pros Mixview is fantastic, GAMES!, Good Value
Cons Horrible Headphones, Software can still be buggy at times
Summary I consider the Zune the little mp3 player that could. While the improvements over the 80gb were small they are very significant in terms of how people are going to be using this device. Without a Zune pass and some decent headphones I would give it 3 and a half to 4 stars but you need to be able to access Marketplace and channels to understand why Microsoft is providing good value for money. I know the ipod comparisons will be made but I think that is unfair.
Bottom line: If like me you love getting and purchasing new music, love watching videos on a portable device and have a windows computer, and willing to be different from the crowd,try out the Zune.
Apple makes great products that is why they dominate the mp3 player market, but I think right now the Zune is a great candidate for trying something new and I expect the 4th Generation to change the game.