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14 April 2007

As Zune as Possible

I thought it was about time I posted again about the Zune. It has been almost 6 months so I figured it might be a good time to offer a product review and gadget critique.

At this point I'd give it 8 stars (out of a possible 10). And here is why:

On the positive side:

  • I think it looks good
  • Large screen - flips to landscape for video and pictures
  • You can swap out the wallpaper to personalize the player
  • Has an FM tuner with preset functionality
  • Does a good job organizing albums/songs/genres/artists etc.
  • Wireless sharing (which I never use)
  • Genuine Zune accessories match the look and feel of the device
  • Solid buttons that feel like they could take a beating and still function well
  • You can get a Zune Pass for unlimited downloads
  • It is fairly easy to add "non-Zune" files like pictures, music and videos to the device

On the negative side:

  • Wireless is there but I currently have no use for it
  • Had some stability issues until version 1.3 of the firmware was released - now working well
  • The Zune Marketplace is SLOW!
  • I have yet to be able to connect to the Zune Marketplace with anything other than my desktop at home. I have two Dell laptops that have the software installed but will not connect to the online store
  • Poor support on the Zune website for known issues
  • No podcast functionality yet (MP3 podcast files are just viewed as songs)
  • Car FM Tuner accessory doesn't have a strong enough signal
  • Zune Marketplace doesn't have TV shows or movies

So why did I give it 8 stars with all the negatives listed above? Well, it's simple. The majority of the problems are software problems - which can and will get fixed as time goes on. For example, the Zune Marketplace will get better with each upgrade and there will eventually be a podcast feature. But the device itself has amazed me and I see no reason why it shouldn't be a top contender overall in the digital music player lineup.

So what do I use my Zune for? Well, before I bought it I was a bit embarrassed to admit that the purchase was more out of a desire to have such a cool gadget - rather than to fill a need in my life. But since then I have put it to good use. I find myself using it at work a lot! It's a great way to section yourself off (in your cubicle) from the outside world. It keeps me focused and I can really jam on projects (excuse the pun).

I also use the video playback feature by subscribing to video podcasts (vodcasts) of flash and photoshop tutorials. Once on the Zune I have a library of immediate answers on how to leverage these programs on the job.

And with the new Logitech X-240 PC/MP3 Speakers coming out this month it will be all good!

A friend of mine recently said this when they saw my Zune, "People actually buy those?"

I'm proud to say, "Yes - And I don't regret it at all!"