Pros Easy to use, very clear and fairly loud. Large display and very slick looking.
Cons Not portable, no remote.
Summary I just pick this up from Circuit City, as it came out today 7/6, fortunately for me because i had just bought the Altec Langsing im414 for zune yesterday. And if it hadnt been for ZN9B coming out i would have kept it. But like i said luckly for me, i got to put them both head to head. and the im414 lost in over all quality.
Appearance: they both take up very little space, and the im414 has a cool look with the design. But the ZN9 has a better overall appearance because the plastic looks better quality. The im414 looks dull sitting next to the ZN9, but good by it self. The LCD screen is large and time is displayed all the time on the ZN9 since its a alarm. It also display the functions better on the screen. It will say ZUNE, FM, INput etc. The im414 only has dot that display next to the function.
Sound: Ok, neither of these are going to rock your house. I have 1000 and 660 watt surrounds that will do this. I bought this for the bathroom to hear music when either me or my wife shower and get dressed. But as i am test both, they both fill a bedroom with a comfortable close to loud sound. But the ZN9B is much better quality. Since i have 2 Zunes, played the same music at the same time, and the ZN9 sounded way better in quality and volume. The im414 distorts at its highest setting and the ZN9 doesn't. When hearing a acoustic song, ZN9 sounded as we where in the room with the artist, clear and full sound. The im414 sounds good as well but not high quality as the ZN9.
Functionality: As for easy of use ZN9 all the way. I read on reviews and alot of people have problems with im414 zune functions. You have to turn it off the zune then plug it in almost every time you want to use. Which is kinda of a hassle to do. With the ZN9 its basically its plug and play. Just set on base and press play. If you set it on base when its on and playing all you have to do is press the power button and then play. With the im414, its more complicated and hit and miss, such that i had a aux input wire ready just incase to use the output instead of the base.
Only things lacking ZN9, is remote and battery portability. The im414 use 3AA batteries and sounds just it loud as on AC power. Its says 24 hour of use on set of battery, but even if it lasts less, thats pretty good for the batteries and the sound it puts out. But cant hold this against ZN9 since its a alarm clock. Wanted to keep both, but I know one would mostly never be used. And only reason was because im414 battery portability. But ZN9 overall better quality and value. A must buy.
Pros It has decent sound quality for a clock.
Cons The clock broke after 4 months. Now I have a 5lb zune charger that takes up my whole night stand.
Summary It Sucks!
Pros Sound quality; Alarm; Design; Ease of use.
Cons Faulty display light; Cheaply made shell; Wiring issues
Summary One of the main things I enjoyed about this iHome was the blue-light display feature; and how you could hit the SNOOZE button to dim it. Well, after about 6 months of use, the light completely died. Everything else works fine, but I have no light on the display. So in order to see/set the time, see/set the alarm, or check the display at all, I have to hold a flashlight up to the screen. The SNOOZE button still works for the "Snooze" feature but it fails to have any effect on the brightness of the display. I contacted the manufacturer and they told me to remove the back-up battery, unplug the device, and wait 30 minutes and it will be fixed. I tried this process twice to no avail. I still use this iHome, and I enjoy its features very much. However, this "no-light" issue is extremely annoying (especially if you dished out $100 for this device). I never abused the device at all. Every night when I went to sleep I would turn the display light off so it would not glare. After one time of doing this, it would not turn back on. The light itself is a very important feature to me personally. I removed the plastic shell from the iHome to see if I could possibly fix the problem. I was met with shoddy and cheap wiring, but I found no direct wiring problems that would affect the lighting. The hard shell casing is also painfully difficult to replace once removed.
Another issue I've been having is that when my Zune 120GB is docked in the iHome, its display will randomly light up and turn off several times.... as if I was touching the Touch Pad or hitting the Play/Back buttons. It sometimes will do this randomly in the middle of the night and wake me up. The only way to stop it is by resetting the Zune. It's not a big deal, but it is an annoyance be woken up at 3AM because of a light flashing in your eyes.
All in all these annoying little setbacks -(One thing that's supposed to light up [the iHome display] doesn't, and what's NOT supposed to light up [the Zune display] does)- would stop me from paying full price for the iHome again. I would dish out another $40 or so for a new one, but I would never pay the atrocious $100/$90 price that it retails for. It seems like the manufacturer focused more on the features and less on the quality. It is a wonderful idea, but a terrible product. I would say if you own a Zune and are looking for awesome sound quality but not necessarily for an alarm clock, then this is your best bet. The sound quality gets an A+
Pros Great sound, attractive, easy to use, gradual volume increase during alarm
Cons Lack of control for the Zune, remote not included, alarm tends to change from Zune playback to buzzer rather than playing music until alarm is turned off
Summary This unit has very good sound quality and is really a must-have for Zune owners wanting to utilize their player for more than carry-along. I was surprised at the alarm issue of the unit defaulting to the buzzer mid-song. I even returned the unit and got a new one because I thought I had a defective unit. I found that the problem is very repeatable - the same music selections play exactly the same way time after time. Once you find a set of songs that play long enough for you to wake up and turn the alarm off, you can count on a consistent performance.
I would have thought that for $99 one would get full functionality without having to use the Zune controls, but that is not the case with this unit. You get basic play/pause/volume from the ZN9. You have to use the Zune controls to set up the player. Even with the remote, only a few additional controls are provided, and that costs an additional $20.
Even with the short-comings, this is one nice accessory for anyone with a Zune. You will get to have a place to charge your Zune while expanding the use you get from your Zune.
Pros Great alarm clock, easy to set-up
Cons Sound is average
Summary Ok for small budgets