Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Zune Product Review

I have been the fortunate recipient of a gift, Microsoft's answer to the IPOD, the Zune. My Zune has 30GB of storage, which helps facilitate it video player. Along with a color video player that has excellent quality, the Zune also has all the normal music playing capabilities as the IPOD. It will display album covers, play many many hours of music without recharging. You can build play lists on your computer as well as on your device. There is also a Social function where you can share your Zune items with other Zune owners using built in wireless network. I haven't had much luck with it because at this point, there aren't many Zune owners. I also hold all of my pictures on my Zune which is very handy to have to show digital picture slide shows.

Two features that really add value for me is the ability to load movies onto your Zune, and being able to play your Zune through your car radio. To add video to your Zune, you must first by software that will convert your DVD to a format that can be loaded onto your Zune. I use Cucusoft which runs around $35.00 and well worth the money. It can take around 20 to 30 minutes to convert a DVD and place it on your Zune. I have done a little bit of traveling lately, and this has come in handy for passing air time.

The Zune works just like Itunes, but this is where the Zune starts declining in value. When you plug your device into your computer, your Zune window appears. This is where you manage your device, adding items to your collection or device, creating playlists, things like that. Once you need to log into to the Zune marketplace (where you actually buy and sample songs) it goes down hill. Logging in is the first problem. You log in and get an error saying that it was unable to log you in, but no reason is given. Then you spend lots of time online trying to figure out why. The answer is to just keep pressing the login button until it works. It is odd that such a bug exists at the most basic function, but it continues. Once you actually decide on a song a press buy, you are then faced with the same situation as the login, repeated failures for an unknown reason. Just keep pressing the Buy button and it will eventually work. It is like Microsoft wants to make it hard to get your money. The other issue is that if you have these problems and are trying to figure out how to fix it, the website offers the worst support links. They offer forums and no call number.

One more odd issue is that instead of showing dollar value for your purchases as Itunes does, Zune takes your dollar and converts it into 80 Zune credits. So when you see their songs are 79c, it really means it is 99 cents. It is done to give the appearance of being cheaper, but it is not. In fact, several songs are 99c, which means actually $1.25, whereas they would be .99 cents on Itunes.

While there are some issues, if you go into the Zune knowing how to work around them, I think the Zune is a wonderful product and I have enjoyed every minute of my ownership. I hope that they will come out with a Ishuffle like Zune device.


The Jotus said...

I am going to have to disagree with some of your criticisms with the Zune. I have the 8G and I have had little to no issues. In fact, I would recommend the Zune over the Ipod just on the simple fact you can't get FM radio on the Ipod.

As for getting customer support, you can call the number that came with the unit. I had to do this when I first got mine. When you download your music from existing CD's, the Zune does not let you edit the album or song list. To get around this, you need to make sure your Zune program is shut down while you are ripping CD's and edit from your media player. This was one issue I had struggled with.

Second, I am not sure where you are getting the .99 per song. If the song says .79, that is what you pay for it. I put $25 on my credit card and received 31 songs. This is .79 per song. However, there are songs that are actually .99.

The one thing that does frustrate me, is the Zune Market Place small selection in music. Especially older stuff.

I paid $140 for my 8G and so far it has been worth every penny. I put darn near my entire music collection (we're talking hundreds) on it. It makes it so convenient. With my long commute, I can plug into my car and have all that available to the touch.

jrchaard said...

I love mine too. we need to talk about this 79 Credit thing because if I buy 5.00 worth of credits, it only gives you 400c.

Kansas Bob said...

Nice to see someone using something other than an ipod.. my Motorola Q phone has a nice mp3 player.. and it was much cheaper than an iPhone :)