"The best PMP on the market & best music player on PC"5.0 starson by GentleNation
Pros: Zune Pass changes the way you consume music
HD Radio w/tagging helps you find new music on the go
16:9 OLED screen = video w/out letterbox
Compatible w/ Xbox 360 video store
Zune 4.0 software
Cons: HDMI out requires dock
Podcasts & Videos are not downloadable without PC sync
Web browser is very basic
Free games include ads
No native Mac support - Boot Camp & Emulation work
Twitter app, Facebook, PGRacing, AudioSurf not until Novem
Summary: Remember back when your 56K dial-up ISP went from a very limited timed internet usage per month to unlimited all you can eat usage? Remember when your cellphone provider made your text messaging plan and voice calls to other people on the network unlimited for a flat rate? Unlimited access fundamentally changes the way you use devices and the amount of time and enjoyment you get out of them. Zune Pass does this for MP3 players allowing you to take any song you like. Hear a brand new song or a classic favorite on the Zune's FM radio that you really like? No reason to hesitate. Click the purchase button on the radio screen and next time you connect to the internet it will download the song to your Zune. Heck take the whole album while you're at it, Zune Pass is all you can eat. By the end of the month you can choose 10 songs to keep forever so you'll automatically own 120 songs by the end of the year. That is Zune Pass and it's wonderful as I've just described it but it gets even better...
The Zune 4.0 software, which is the best, fastest, and most eye-pleasing music/marketplace I've ever used now has a feature called "Smart DJ." This feature doesn't just create playlists for you out of your own collection of MP3's, if you choose it can pull songs off of the Zune marketplace that you don't own and suggests them to you based upon your song preferences. Now once you combine Zune Pass with this new feature you have something really special. Like an iTunes Genius on steroids you can start grabbing music you like off of Zune marketplace by the handfuls as you discover new artists and albums. And then there are the hundreds of premade "playlists" you can download from the Zune marketplace conveniently ranked in order of popularity. These playlists include things like the 100 most popular songs from any year in the last 30 years. Want the best songs from 1985? A couple of clicks and they're all on your Zune in a playlist. How about all the songs that won a Grammy this year or all the songs that were nominated for a VMA? They're all yours with Zune Pass. You can also subscribe to channels like the Billboard top 40 and have the top music in the country automatically synced to your Zune every week. You see people write off Zune Pass as little more than "renting music" when it's so much more than that. It's more like having a personal chef live in your home with a menu of hundreds of dishes he can instantly prepare for you. Having an MP3 player without a Zune Pass is like having an Xbox without Xbox Live. Zune Pass opens up a whole new experience with music like you've never had on an iPod or in iTunes.
And lets talk about the experience of using the new Zune 4.0 software for the PC. It's phenomenal. Whether you get a Zune HD or not, you must go to the Zune website right now and download this software. I guarantee you will fall in love with Zune 4.0 the instant you discover the artist view visualizer in the Now Playing section. When the Zune software starts pulling down the images of your favorite artists from the songs you are playing and displaying their bio info and data on how many people have played their songs on the Zune network you will start to fall in love. This is the future of album art and liner notes. The people who made this software truly love music as much as you do and they treat the experience of playing and discovering new music with reverence. The Zune software is super speedy, visually pleasing, and well integrated into Windows 7 with jump lists to your favorite artists, and a mini taskbar player that is perfect. Give the Zune software a try and you will probably never want to play your music in iTunes ever again. Even if you don't spring for the Zune Pass the ability to have the software dynamically create playlists out of the standard 30 second previews is nice. Hey maybe you just want to listen to a 30 second per song rundown of all the top songs on the billboard charts or play a playlist of the top 100 songs from 1991 without having to listen to each song in it's entirety; in that case Zune Pass not needed.
There are also a ton of community features built into Zune as well. If you have Xbox Live you will immediately be familiar with the Zune cards which show your friends and what songs and albums they've been listening to. You can send these people songs, check out what they listen to and download anything they've listened to if you have a Zune Pass. The Zune software automatically shows you all the people on your Xbox Live friends list and what they've been listening to on Zune.
There's so much more to say, I haven't even talked about video. The Marketplace lets you rent and purchase standard definition and high definition movies and TV shows. The Zune HD w/ it's proper 16:9 OLED display will display videos w/out letterboxing. In November Xbox 360 will connect to the Zune video store and anything you purchase on PC/Zune/360 will be free to download on all devices linked to your account.