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 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.
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 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...
"Must Read!!"on by danielgarces
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 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.
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 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.
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. 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.