Archive for the ‘Zune’ Category

Seeing the Zune close up

Friday, October 6th, 2006


So today I got to try out the Zune first hand. Grand Valley alum Eric Maino stopped by campus today to give a recruiting talk and brought along two Zunes for people to check out. Honestly, I’m impressed.

Now my initial reaction to the news of the Zune was one of disinterest. Yes, I’ve got an iPod, and yes, I’ve ordered a R2H UMPC. So to me the Zune is just another entertainment device.

Actually getting the device in my hands I was impressed. The device weighs about the same as an iPod however the body of the Zune has a slightly rubberized feel to it. My first impressions were that yes, it does slightly resemble an iPod in that is has the circular buttons for manipulating their menuing system. Other than that, I think I’ll say it stands on it’s own. It has a fantastically crisp and clear screen. The pictures do not do this screen justice. I will say that I cannot critique the sound quality as I’ll leave that to the listener. I had my PC speakers hooked up to the device, and later my iPod headphones. I’d say the quality is on par with the iPod, however once again that could matter on the media, bit rate, file size, etc.

The navigation is a bit tricky. Well maybe not but I’m used to the “spinning” of the iPod, the Zune uses directional clicking to navigate the menu options. This took a bit getting used to, however I do like the fact that the “back” button, as well as “play/pause” is separate from the directional buttons.

The user interface is clear and easy to see. There is also a vibrant background image, however the image doesn’t hinder the menu’s contrast at all. Video playback on the device seemed rather clean, without any noticable skipping or frame rate problems. I’m also going to assume that this may vary depending upon file size, bit rate, etc.

I will say the Zune beats the pants off of the iPod in one feature, the radio. The Zune offers a radio function which allows a user to scroll across the radio frequencies. When the user is dialed into a strong radio signal the screen shows the call numbers of the station and also the type of music the station plays. This was amazing!

Now my roommate Brad over at BigRed’sPlace will also be blogging about his thoughts on the Zune, but overall I will say that because I’ve ordered a UMPC and I’ve got an iPod I don’t think the Zune is for me. However if you are looking into purchasing a portable entertainment device, I’d say this is worth looking into.

Note: I’ve got a few more pictures of the device at my flickr account. Also the device has wireless, however I didn’t get a chance to try that out, so I can’t comment on it.

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Zune will cost $249

Friday, September 29th, 2006

Zune pricing is now out.  $249 to match the cost of the 30gb iPod.  I guess this is a good competitive move for Microsoft, but as for the rest of us who already have iPods, this is just another MP3 player on the market, WhooHoo! (sarcasm).

News from Redmond here.

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Coming Zune!

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

So Microsoft unveiled it’s iPod competitor today.  Per usual with a new Microsoft product, Sci-Fi Tech reports “there’s no precise launch date or price yet, although Microsoft does day(sic) it’ll be available ‘this holiday season.'”
According to Bloomberg, “The player offers a 30-gigabyte hard drive, comes in black, white and brown and allows users to wirelessly share music with nearby devices, the Redmond, Washington-based company said today in a statement.”

Sci-Fi Tech also reports “the Zune will feature built-in Wi-Fi, allowing users to wirelessly share songs and videos… theoretically. The press release says you’ll be able to share full-length “sample tracks” of “select” songs as well as homemade recordings and pictures. Sounds like there’ll be some pretty serious copy protection.”

MobilityToday has a video of the Zune on YouTube

Honestly I’ve got my iPod, i’m going to be purchasing a UMPC as soon as ASUS does a US launch. I don’t see this being a device for me… But it sure seems cool as hell!

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