By HallwayGiant 1 Comments
Well, after a whole week of having my Zune I figured I'd post my impressions in case anyone was wondering. Before I talk about the Zune itself I guess I'll talk about the Zune software, as I actually had that before I had the device. I would make the iTunes comparison, but to be honest (and I'm not the only one with this opinion) iTunes on Windows is just not all that great. It's really bloated memory wise and just doesn't perform all that well regardless of the computer (that's been my experience anyway). Point being I've never really used any sort of music organizational tool. I mostly use Winamp and Windows Explorer, and that's about it. However, I will say while the Zune software does suffer from being a bt of a resource hog by default it's certainly a better looking software then most and it operates fairly well as a music organizer and player. Something I particularly liked about it was the ability for you to look up information on a album, meaning you pull data from the Zune database or whatnot and correctly tag music (which is helpful for me since I have a good chunk of music that is pulled form random blogs and whatnot that are not tagged correctly). it also pulls down cover art and such which is also nice. Navigationally it's not that great, and certainly takes some time to get used to, but it works well overall.
I think people seem to get in this mindset that iPods are the defacto MP3 player. Of course any one who's looked for other players know that not only is that not the case, but there are actually a plethora of quite capable players out there. That said, the device itself is quite solid, more than solid actually. The device has three main 'buttons' a back button, a play/pause button, and the zune pad with a four way directional/touch pad. The zune pad touch funtion actually works really well and can be used for practicaly any input except actually selecting something where you have to 'middle click' the zune pad. I'm probably mudding it up more than it is, but suffice it to say works well and is quite the elegant solution. Otherwise you have your 3.25 inch screen (on the 80 and 120 models) which looks excellent and displays videos nicely. Obviously your dealing with the classic predicament of dealing with the screen size, but if you can watch video on a iPhone/iPod Classic or PSP, it's not that much of a difference obviously. Same goes for the audio. I remember when I was looking around at reviews there was so much about the Zune audio quality and while I'm no audiophile, the Zune certainly works fine. It's got good base, and with a good pair of headphones or earbuds I can't imagine someone having any real complaints.
Other somewhat miscellanious 'features' is stuff like being able to access the marketplace via the Zune, play games, and the dedicated podcasts section. In fact the way the Zune seperates content in general is interesting. Like, you have your music, and you have your podcasts and videos, but you can't really mix in that with your music. Now obviously that makes sense to some extent, but if you just wanted to have your comedy podcasts intersperced with your music you can't really do that. That's a fairly minor issue to me though, and if anything the fact that the Zune has a dedicated podcasts section that devides your podcasts and allows you to stop and resume podcasts is a nice touch (since that's one feature I enjoyed about iTunes when I did use it). As far as marketplace goes it's definately a plus over the iPod Classic. Being able to essentially browse the Zune marketplace while not near a computer is pretty cool, though obviously your at the discretion of whatever wireless connection your on, but that's a given. And their is also games, which I guess is a potential selling point, though at this time you can't really put any other games than what is included in the latest software update (Hexic and Texas Hold'em) so it's certainly something that will grow over time, but still...any device that lets me play Hexic while listening to my music while on the bus or whatnot sounds pretty good to me.
So yeah, I know it's quite the wall o' text but I finally got my thought down into words! It's far from perfect, but anyone who says the Zune isn't a iPod Classic competitor is kind crazy.
P.S. Title reference...in case anyone was wondering.