Why I give props to the Zune! Yea, that's right props!

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Description

So we’ve all been hearing and reading about Microsoft’s zune lately. Some has been good and some has been bad. Well, all the hoopla has gotten me interested in checking out the zune for myself.  Yes, I know I work for Microsoft but that doesn't mean I'm not allowed to like a Microsoft product.  Plus, Bill Gates said it was okay. 

Let’s start with the box. Yes, I know, how exciting right. But you can’t tell me that you’re not a sucker for good packaging. The box is nice. Very nice. I would feel good about giving somebody just the box for Christmas. They did a great job on the packaging of this device. And no, that's not all that's good about it.  It’s very easy to see what’s included in the box:

  • 30GB Zune digital media player
  • Earphones
  • Sync Cable
  • Manual and Disc

So I guess I should have actually read the box in Fred Meyer as to not buy a separate sync cable. Good thing I kept the receipt. Moving on…I had no problems with the installation process.  It's a few easy steps, you say yes to the terms of agreement which always makes me laugh.  Because, can I really take it back to Fred Meyer once it's opened and say, "Yea, I wasn't really comfortable with the terms of agreement"?   Let me know if you've ever tried that.  See, even the couple in the screenshot is thrilled with the completed installation. 

Okay, I finally have the little sucker in my hand.  I bought the brown one.  Because like everybody else, I already own a white iPod.  Which sits conveniently in my living room with my bose docking station.  Okay, yes...it's bigger then an iPod but it's not nearly as obnoxious as everybody makes it out to be.  It definitely feels smaller then my psp.  In fact, it reminds me more of a psp then an iPod.  And the sound is far superior.  I love my psp, but the sound blows.  Now that I've installed all the software I choose to immediately put all of my videos, photos and music on the device.  You navigate with the d-pad which I thought would feel a bit archaic but it doesn't.  I'm pleasantly surprised with that functionality of it.  I check to make sure my videos, photos and music have made it and yes they have.  Oops, there is that picture of my naked Aunt Jean.  I'm not sure why she thinks its funny to send that to everybody.  It's a good time to see how the delete function works.  Basically I have to go into the zune software and delete it from my library and sync again.  The software is very cool by the way.  When I search U2 in the zune marketplace I can actually bring over all twenty one hours of music and their bazillion albums all at one time.  As long as I'm willing to pay for it.  Which I'm currently not, so I will slowly build up that library.  Unless Bono wants to hook me up but I think he's busy saving the world.  I totally get it. 

When you buy the zune it comes with a fourteen day free zune pass which allows you to download as much music as you want for free.  But only for fourteen days, after that the music will expire and you can pay for it.  So, I will download as many albums as I can now and play the crap out of them so in fourteen days I will be tired of them anyway and feel good about myself that I scored such a good deal.  That's how I roll.  I've downloaded one of our segments from 10.  Which was easy enough.   I basically hit the zune icon below the segment.  Download the segment to my desktop and then bring it over to the software to download.  I picked my "How to Shoot" video because I love my refrigerator so much. And just for the record if TV adds 10 pounds then the zune adds 12.  Because I have been eating really well and there's just no excuse.  The 3-inch LCD looks great.  My zune, or Evelyn as I now call her.  Don't ask.  Okay, fine.  I will tell you.  I had this Aunt Evelyn who was just super cool and I've always wanted to name something after her.  So when my zune asked me what I wanted to name it I chose Evelyn.  Thrilling story I know.  Anyway, the three inch LCD is I think is a pretty good size.  Which has its downfall because it does make the device bigger, but I would rather be able to actually see what I've downloaded. 

YEA! I have radio!  I miss radio!  Seriously, I love my cd collection.  I love my I-pod, but sometimes I just want to listen to the radio.  You know, old school style.  Which comes in super handy for an avid gym person because now I can actually hear Oprah and not just read the subtitles from a distance.  I'm kidding about Oprah.  I'm so much more of  Dr.  Phil fan.  No, I'm kidding again. It's all about Tyra.  Oh yea, and I love that the name of the song appears on my zune.  That's right it's KELIS with "Milkshake".  My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard, cause...and I don't know the words after that. 

Microsoft Points.  Okay, here is where the xbox and zune start sleeping together.  So you know how in the xbox live marketplace you can buy points.  Well, you can do that here as well.  Each album/song costs a certain number of points.  It's the universal Microsoft system.  I prefer just knowing how much things cost in an american dollar amount but hey if microsoft is up for a good time then so am I.  Kind of like vegas.  You don't really realize you've just blown your rent money at the roulette table because you just knew that number three was going to be coming up.  You just knew it.  Except with Microsoft Points you don't get free drinks.  I'll talk to somebody about that. 

Let's move on to the Wi-Fi.  I keep searching for zunes close to me but haven't met anybody via zune yet.  Evelyn would like somebody to beam her a song so she can try it out.  Hopefully soon.   Somebody, anybody. 

So in a nutshell, there's no need to be so dramatic over the zune.  Yes, there are many other functions and disappointments that people have been experiencing with the zune but you know what, I like the zune.  And this is my impression at a glance.  Yes, I like the zune! It's the same way I felt about the original xbox.  Yep, kind of bulkie, not the hippest thing I've ever seen but it plays Halo.  The zune, kind of a dookie brown color, but it gives me the radio and conveniently allows me to download my favorite tunes.  You go zune!  You go girl! 

 

For other zune coverage on 10 check out these links.

The Discussion

  • User profile image
    Ted Bracewell

    Wow, that was a wild read!  MS should make you their official Zune spokeperson. "It slices, it dices...!" But, come on, Oprah? Dr. Phil? We all know it's all about the Maury. "You are NOT the father!"

  • User profile image
    Ted Bracewell

    Wow, that was a wild read!  MS should make you their official Zune spokeperson. "It slices, it dices...!" But, come on, Oprah? Dr. Phil? We all know it's all about the Maury. "You are NOT the father!"

  • User profile image
    Darin Velin

    I too like my Zune (first digital music player). What I'm not too keen on is that my wife each have one and use one computer at home. We can have different zune profiles, but only one library. And it is currently set to auto-sync (I haven't fiddled with the settings enough to change this--if I can), so both devices always get everything from the library. So my wife gets my Megadeth collection, and I'm stuck going back to delete the Dixie Chicks.

    I also like how you can put up one of your own photos as the background for the device--very cool and makes me feel like I had a hand in designing it. Alas my background is not a naked relative...

    ~ddv

  • User profile image
    Darin Velin

    I too like my Zune (first digital music player). What I'm not too keen on is that my wife each have one and use one computer at home. We can have different zune profiles, but only one library. And it is currently set to auto-sync (I haven't fiddled with the settings enough to change this--if I can), so both devices always get everything from the library. So my wife gets my Megadeth collection, and I'm stuck going back to delete the Dixie Chicks.

    I also like how you can put up one of your own photos as the background for the device--very cool and makes me feel like I had a hand in designing it. Alas my background is not a naked relative...

    ~ddv

  • User profile image
    "Lethal G3cko"

    Tina, do you drink coffee? =)

    I do not own an iPod, or any other MP3 player, but I think the overall design of the Zune, compared to the iPod, is not as appealing (and I understand the Zune device is very heavy, compared to the iPod). Sure, the Zune looks like another MP3 player (and maybe that's a good thing, I don't know), but I was hoping Microsoft would try to make it stand out more, in terms of it's design and not just the features the device offers. Also, the small selection of Zune colors is a bummer. Hopefully, future Zune units will be available in a wide range of colors.

    However, you can't "judge a book by it's cover" and I guess, from reading information about it, the Zune does offer some pretty cool features. Of course the "squirting" (wi-fi music/photo-sharing) feature seems to be one of the biggest selling points, however the "three plays expire" idea is something that I'm sure is not making many people happy.

    I think as that the Zune needs more time to grow and maybe, with more feedback and input from consumers, Microsoft's MP3 player will take over Apple's MP3 player.

    Good review, Tina. It certainly made me more interested in the Zune.

    P.S.- Did you read my XBL message? My gamertag is SC vigilante360.

     

  • User profile image
    "Lethal G3cko"

    Tina, do you drink coffee? =)

    I do not own an iPod, or any other MP3 player, but I think the overall design of the Zune, compared to the iPod, is not as appealing (and I understand the Zune device is very heavy, compared to the iPod). Sure, the Zune looks like another MP3 player (and maybe that's a good thing, I don't know), but I was hoping Microsoft would try to make it stand out more, in terms of it's design and not just the features the device offers. Also, the small selection of Zune colors is a bummer. Hopefully, future Zune units will be available in a wide range of colors.

    However, you can't "judge a book by it's cover" and I guess, from reading information about it, the Zune does offer some pretty cool features. Of course the "squirting" (wi-fi music/photo-sharing) feature seems to be one of the biggest selling points, however the "three plays expire" idea is something that I'm sure is not making many people happy.

    I think as that the Zune needs more time to grow and maybe, with more feedback and input from consumers, Microsoft's MP3 player will take over Apple's MP3 player.

    Good review, Tina. It certainly made me more interested in the Zune.

    P.S.- Did you read my XBL message? My gamertag is SC vigilante360.

     

  • User profile image
    Matthew Mushall

    I love it when you ramble, Tina.  There is nothing as entertaining as a random chain of thoughts…

    What? Zune.  Oh yeah, Microsoft’s iPood rip-off.  Yeah I said iPood, hehehe dookie!  Actually, I think the Zune is awesome and I want one, but what’s this…I can’t use it as a portable storage drive…WTF?!!!  What idiot decided to omit that function?  Are you kidding me?

    I’d invest in a Zune and download my favorite Tina Wood segments this very moment if the damn thing really did what I wanted it to.  I think it’s really stylish and I too love the user interface, but I’m already an established iPod user…and my iPod does everything I want…including serve as my personal mass storage drive.

    Zune belongs in bed next to the 360…too bad their cross functionality is limited.  Could you imagine the awesome baby that couple would make?  An uber cool portable gaming media system!  Hot damn I want one of those.  No wait…don’t I have one of those already?  Yeah, the psp!  Its cool, but it sucks as a portable media device not counting that beautiful widescreen display.

    Why anyone would want a poop colored Zune is beyond me?  The 360 is white.  Here’s an idea…why not get a Zune in a similar color?  Oh, let’s say…and I’m going a little outta the way here…White!  Black is cool too, but brown?  I dig that rubberized plastic case…but brown with a tint of green outside?  Why you would want something that reminds you of a compost heap…or excrement is quite beyond me.

    Evelyn is a nice name for Zune.  I think, if I ever get a Zune, I’ll name her Tina and put a custom 10 wallpaper on it.  Then again, the Zune just doesn’t quite do what I want it to.  Like Penny Arcade says, just because dead animal carcasses and plants will eventually become oil, doesn’t mean you should stockpile those things in your garage just yet.

    It needs more storage and Wi-Fi functionality.  Throw in 60 gigs and I’m sold.  Microsoft should make two versions of the Zune with 30 and 60 gig storage capabilities.  It would be just like the two versions of the 360, except the lesser model wouldn’t suck like the 360 core did - yet another brilliant idea from some clueless marketing director.

    Microsoft points might not get you a free drink…but don’t you already get free coffee and soda at Microsoft?   Talk about perks!  Besides, I’d buy you a drink any time.  Hell, I’d buy you a Zune and put every Pear Jam, cold Play, and U2 album on it for Christmas.  How’s that for fanfare?  I just won’t get one for myself just yet.  Sure I want it, but I’ve already got an iPod that comes with me to the Gym or when I walk the dog…and it works as a portable drive too.

    Damn.  I wrote a lot more than I planned to.  I suppose that happens when you ramble.  You were very inspiring.  Ya’know, I like the Zune too.  Pitty it’s just not ready yet.  I don’t think it will be long before it’s updated or a new model comes out.  Not with rumors abound of Apple’s widescreen touch sensitive iPood.  Hehe.  When you boil it down, I think it pays to hold off and see how things turn out.

    That’s my two bucks worth.  Great post, Tina.

    Did you happen to notice your Weblog isn’t working?  Something’s amiss.  Oh, well.  Later.  Hakuna Matata.

  • User profile image
    Matthew Mushall

    I love it when you ramble, Tina.  There is nothing as entertaining as a random chain of thoughts…

    What? Zune.  Oh yeah, Microsoft’s iPood rip-off.  Yeah I said iPood, hehehe dookie!  Actually, I think the Zune is awesome and I want one, but what’s this…I can’t use it as a portable storage drive…WTF?!!!  What idiot decided to omit that function?  Are you kidding me?

    I’d invest in a Zune and download my favorite Tina Wood segments this very moment if the damn thing really did what I wanted it to.  I think it’s really stylish and I too love the user interface, but I’m already an established iPod user…and my iPod does everything I want…including serve as my personal mass storage drive.

    Zune belongs in bed next to the 360…too bad their cross functionality is limited.  Could you imagine the awesome baby that couple would make?  An uber cool portable gaming media system!  Hot damn I want one of those.  No wait…don’t I have one of those already?  Yeah, the psp!  Its cool, but it sucks as a portable media device not counting that beautiful widescreen display.

    Why anyone would want a poop colored Zune is beyond me?  The 360 is white.  Here’s an idea…why not get a Zune in a similar color?  Oh, let’s say…and I’m going a little outta the way here…White!  Black is cool too, but brown?  I dig that rubberized plastic case…but brown with a tint of green outside?  Why you would want something that reminds you of a compost heap…or excrement is quite beyond me.

    Evelyn is a nice name for Zune.  I think, if I ever get a Zune, I’ll name her Tina and put a custom 10 wallpaper on it.  Then again, the Zune just doesn’t quite do what I want it to.  Like Penny Arcade says, just because dead animal carcasses and plants will eventually become oil, doesn’t mean you should stockpile those things in your garage just yet.

    It needs more storage and Wi-Fi functionality.  Throw in 60 gigs and I’m sold.  Microsoft should make two versions of the Zune with 30 and 60 gig storage capabilities.  It would be just like the two versions of the 360, except the lesser model wouldn’t suck like the 360 core did - yet another brilliant idea from some clueless marketing director.

    Microsoft points might not get you a free drink…but don’t you already get free coffee and soda at Microsoft?   Talk about perks!  Besides, I’d buy you a drink any time.  Hell, I’d buy you a Zune and put every Pear Jam, cold Play, and U2 album on it for Christmas.  How’s that for fanfare?  I just won’t get one for myself just yet.  Sure I want it, but I’ve already got an iPod that comes with me to the Gym or when I walk the dog…and it works as a portable drive too.

    Damn.  I wrote a lot more than I planned to.  I suppose that happens when you ramble.  You were very inspiring.  Ya’know, I like the Zune too.  Pitty it’s just not ready yet.  I don’t think it will be long before it’s updated or a new model comes out.  Not with rumors abound of Apple’s widescreen touch sensitive iPood.  Hehe.  When you boil it down, I think it pays to hold off and see how things turn out.

    That’s my two bucks worth.  Great post, Tina.

    Did you happen to notice your Weblog isn’t working?  Something’s amiss.  Oh, well.  Later.  Hakuna Matata.

  • User profile image
    Brandon Paddock

    Hey Tina,

    Something you didn't mention is that you don't have to buy music from the Marketplace after your 14-day trial is up in order to keep it.  You could just pay the $15/month subscription fee and download all you want! (So long as you keep paying it, of course). 

    This is especially cool because, unlike music downloaded from other services, the Xbox 360 can stream it over a network or play it off the Zune - even though it's DRM'd!

    I've become a big fan of downloading TV shows on my 360 lately.  I got hooked on Studio 60 because of it.  But what I'd really love is to be able to go there (or on my PC in the Zune software) and have the file download directly to my Zune.  Then I could play it on the Zune when I'm at the gym, or on my big screen through the Xbox 360 when I'm at home.  Plus it would help alleviate the cramped hard drive on the 360 (although honestly it hasn't been that big of a deal for me since I delete most shows after watching them anyway, and can always download them again very quickly).

  • User profile image
    Brandon Paddock

    Hey Tina,

    Something you didn't mention is that you don't have to buy music from the Marketplace after your 14-day trial is up in order to keep it.  You could just pay the $15/month subscription fee and download all you want! (So long as you keep paying it, of course). 

    This is especially cool because, unlike music downloaded from other services, the Xbox 360 can stream it over a network or play it off the Zune - even though it's DRM'd!

    I've become a big fan of downloading TV shows on my 360 lately.  I got hooked on Studio 60 because of it.  But what I'd really love is to be able to go there (or on my PC in the Zune software) and have the file download directly to my Zune.  Then I could play it on the Zune when I'm at the gym, or on my big screen through the Xbox 360 when I'm at home.  Plus it would help alleviate the cramped hard drive on the 360 (although honestly it hasn't been that big of a deal for me since I delete most shows after watching them anyway, and can always download them again very quickly).

  • User profile image
    bufbarnaby

    When listening to any Apple fan...keep this in mind.

     

    RDF(Reality Distortion Field) is the idea that Steve Jobs is able to convince people to believe almost anything with a skillful mix of charm, charisma, slight exaggeration, and clever marketing.

  • User profile image
    bufbarnaby

    When listening to any Apple fan...keep this in mind.

     

    RDF(Reality Distortion Field) is the idea that Steve Jobs is able to convince people to believe almost anything with a skillful mix of charm, charisma, slight exaggeration, and clever marketing.

  • User profile image
    Dengin

    How much coffee/Red Bull did you have before you wrote this?

  • User profile image
    Dengin

    How much coffee/Red Bull did you have before you wrote this?

  • User profile image
    Ted Bracewell

    Hah. I thought it was really well written and funny. She was letting it flow, yo. I mean letting her imagination and writing flow, not beer... just to make sure that's clear.

  • User profile image
    Ted Bracewell

    Hah. I thought it was really well written and funny. She was letting it flow, yo. I mean letting her imagination and writing flow, not beer... just to make sure that's clear.

  • User profile image
    tina10
    I had like "one" beer.  Smiley  Nope, no drinking was involved. 
  • User profile image
    Matt Tucker

    Woohoo!  That was one helluva read.  I haven't been that entertained by the written word since the last Hornby book I read.  I'm donning my black togs and beret and giving you your proper snaps, m'dear.  Artiste!  Artiste!

    So Zune.... I'm not quite so sure about yet, but I do find it intriguing.  I have yet to really graduate to the need for a video player.  Frankly, I just have too much going on to be able to be able to take the time to watch something.  I love my nano, though.  Simply one of the greatest life simplifiers ever.  The ease with which you can carry around your whole library of albums is just stunning.  My only drawback about it is the same as yours, Tina.  Sometimes I'd like the opportunity just to listen to the radio when I don't feel like listening to all of the albums I've downloaded.  That, to me, is the most appealing aspect of Zune at the moment.  (The WiFi connectivity is an interesting notion too.)

    The radio in my car doesn't work properly, so being able to use the tuner in the Zune would be a godsend.  (And yes, I am firmly and defiantly ignoring the irony that it would cost as much or less to get a new deck for my car as to purchase a Zune.)

    Here's to hoping Evelyn finds her Rick or Steve or Hobart Issaquah from across a crowded room one of these days soon.  And thanks for being enjoyable.

    (We might have to have you write some marketing copy for our company.  That would be a kick.)

  • User profile image
    Matt Tucker

    Woohoo!  That was one helluva read.  I haven't been that entertained by the written word since the last Hornby book I read.  I'm donning my black togs and beret and giving you your proper snaps, m'dear.  Artiste!  Artiste!

    So Zune.... I'm not quite so sure about yet, but I do find it intriguing.  I have yet to really graduate to the need for a video player.  Frankly, I just have too much going on to be able to be able to take the time to watch something.  I love my nano, though.  Simply one of the greatest life simplifiers ever.  The ease with which you can carry around your whole library of albums is just stunning.  My only drawback about it is the same as yours, Tina.  Sometimes I'd like the opportunity just to listen to the radio when I don't feel like listening to all of the albums I've downloaded.  That, to me, is the most appealing aspect of Zune at the moment.  (The WiFi connectivity is an interesting notion too.)

    The radio in my car doesn't work properly, so being able to use the tuner in the Zune would be a godsend.  (And yes, I am firmly and defiantly ignoring the irony that it would cost as much or less to get a new deck for my car as to purchase a Zune.)

    Here's to hoping Evelyn finds her Rick or Steve or Hobart Issaquah from across a crowded room one of these days soon.  And thanks for being enjoyable.

    (We might have to have you write some marketing copy for our company.  That would be a kick.)

  • User profile image
    Dengin

    Oh I didn't say I didn't like it. In fact, the complete opposite is true, I go on like that all the time, au naturel. I wish we'd see more posts like this, the video goes a long way, but call me old-fashioned, I prefer a good/fun read.

    The beer does explani it a little bit though, Tina. Laura's always said you couldn't hold your liquor.

  • User profile image
    Dengin

    Oh I didn't say I didn't like it. In fact, the complete opposite is true, I go on like that all the time, au naturel. I wish we'd see more posts like this, the video goes a long way, but call me old-fashioned, I prefer a good/fun read.

    The beer does explani it a little bit though, Tina. Laura's always said you couldn't hold your liquor.

  • User profile image
    Linkyshinks

     Im surprised, i thought that the Zune would of had a better reception in the U.S, perhaps i will wait on a more compact version with video sharing, size IS an issue when your talking about portable devices, whether it's subtle increase of size in comparison to the equivilent ipod versions will hamper it  remains to be seen, personally i would not mind the extra size= added features over it's ipod competitor, the real question is whether the new version of the ipod will blow this out. LS

  • User profile image
    Linkyshinks

     Im surprised, i thought that the Zune would of had a better reception in the U.S, perhaps i will wait on a more compact version with video sharing, size IS an issue when your talking about portable devices, whether it's subtle increase of size in comparison to the equivilent ipod versions will hamper it  remains to be seen, personally i would not mind the extra size= added features over it's ipod competitor, the real question is whether the new version of the ipod will blow this out. LS

  • User profile image
    Matthew Mushall

    I don't think size was too much of an issue here, but features and market dominance is.  The iPod is highly established and people aren't going to jump ship for a player that doesn't really give them anything new.

    The only added feature that really matters is the FM radio.  Nothing else the Zune has is a feature over the iPod.  You can't keep the files you share, so file sharing is a wasted feature.  The screen, while bigger, is exactly the same resolution as the iPod, so your pictures wont look any better.  Let's not forget the Zune's biggest fault - you can't use the damn thing as a portable hard drive.  Every other media player around has that basic function...so the Zune's inability is downright ridiculous.

  • User profile image
    Matthew Mushall

    I don't think size was too much of an issue here, but features and market dominance is.  The iPod is highly established and people aren't going to jump ship for a player that doesn't really give them anything new.

    The only added feature that really matters is the FM radio.  Nothing else the Zune has is a feature over the iPod.  You can't keep the files you share, so file sharing is a wasted feature.  The screen, while bigger, is exactly the same resolution as the iPod, so your pictures wont look any better.  Let's not forget the Zune's biggest fault - you can't use the damn thing as a portable hard drive.  Every other media player around has that basic function...so the Zune's inability is downright ridiculous.

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