This summer I won a Zune from Little Missus Sunshine and my husband promptly stole it from me as soon as it arrived... ok, he didn't really STEAL it. I have a Mac computer and the Zune isn't compatible so he gets to use it with his PC.
Anyway, I asked my sweet hubby to give you all a little review of our new Zune. So without further ado I'd like to introduce you all to my husband Doug.
Zune Review by Doug
We received a Zune in the mail. How cool is that? The model we got was the 8gb model, black. First impressions, cool looking, very neat box and packaging. After five minutes of playing with it I determined that the unit was relatively intuitive to use. Pretty simply navigation and the styling is cool without trying look like an iPod.
Screen is bright and easy to see, has a +2, -2 brightness menu. The headphones are good, not the best you'll find, but better than a lot of headphones I've had on my head, they seem to be very close in quality to the headphones you get when you get an iPod (I have a 2GB iPod Shuffle). I appreciate the volume control on this unit. Some digital players are too loud when you want it to be 'just' audible, and at other times don't go loud enough to shut out the noise in a busy and loud environment. This one seems to do both well. Music plays well, videos are easy to watch even on the small screen. If you listen to long podcasts, I listen to one that is regularly over an hour, you can stop it, listen/watch something and have it resume exactly where you left that podcast. However, when scanning through a podcast it will only fast forward and rewind in larger chunks. This is frustrating if you miss one detail and just want to back up a few seconds to listen to that point again. Battery life is better than I expected. An unexpected kind of feature I found was that if the headphones become unplugged it pauses whatever is playing, a very welcome little feature in my mind.
Overall, I think it is a well designed little unit. It, like many other players has a proprietary cord. If you don't have the cord it came with, it's not much use. You can sync music to it via wireless connection, but that does nothing to charge the battery. I have not found much use for the wireless connectivity. It is much slower than simply plugging the thing in as far as copying music on it.
After using it for a few weeks I can safely say that this is an easy to use music player. The software is functional, it could be refined some but it seems a little resource hungry when running it on your computer. I have a Acer laptop with 512 mb of ram and a dual 1.66 Mhz processor and there are times it seems a little sluggish. The software came with a few preloaded 'skins' to alter the look of the player. None of them really jump out at me. There is a social networking part to the Zune too. At this point I can't seem to get into using it as I only know one other person with a Zune. At this point I don't think I will make use of it much as I really don't know many people I could share and compare with. If it was able to sync with other music players and platforms I could see much more use in it. I doubt however that Microsoft will open Zune.net to others. Maybe they can't even, but as it is, I'm not sure I'll use it much. I'll keep trying it periodically though to see if it something that will be useful to me.
Overall, I'm very pleased with the player. It is a very neat little package and in my opinion a very good alternative to the iPod.