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148 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The One
Before I start talking about the Zune I have to say that I've had several mp3 players in the past, from flash-based to HD-based. My newest one is this 8GB Zune. I got my Zune about a week ago, after getting rid of my 3G 8GB Nano, that I was not happy with. So this is why I'm more satisfied with the Zune vs. the Nano...

Hardware
-Shape is easier to hold...
Published on December 19, 2007 by catalyst

versus
179 of 202 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Music To My Ears
I opened my new 8GB Zune to the pleasant surprise of what amounted to 3 pretty simple steps to getting started:

1) Download the Zune software (required from the Zune web site). However, while a pretty simple step, it takes about 20 minutes or so to get through if you include signing up for a Zune account.

2) Load the songs you want.

3) Let...
Published on April 11, 2008 by Sky


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148 of 154 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The One, December 19, 2007
Before I start talking about the Zune I have to say that I've had several mp3 players in the past, from flash-based to HD-based. My newest one is this 8GB Zune. I got my Zune about a week ago, after getting rid of my 3G 8GB Nano, that I was not happy with. So this is why I'm more satisfied with the Zune vs. the Nano...

Hardware
-Shape is easier to hold and use than WS Nano
-LCD is glass, more durable and sharper than plastic on Nano
-Zune Touch Pad is more responsive and precise vs. click wheel
-Wireless sharing/syncing option
-Built-in FM Tuner
-Better sound quality even without EQ...I just hated how bad the Nano sounds even with Shure headphones

Software
-Very simple and easy
-Asthetically better than iTunes

User Interface
-No Coverflow but interface is more organized and intuitive
-Customizable background, not an option on Nano
-Easier to read

I have not tested the battery life but it's rated close to the Nano so I'll live with whatever it really is. One thing I haven't checked on but someone else wrote about was the Zune not being a UMS Device when plugged in. Hopefully that's something Microsoft can/will change so that you can store other files on it. Overall, I'm must more satisfied with this player than the Nano.
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303 of 327 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Zune- bye, bye Zen and Windows Media too, November 14, 2007
By 
R. L. Lewis (Tacoma, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have a couple of Zen MP3 players that have worked well for me for a couple of years now, but both have begun to have problems and I decided to take a chance on the new V2 Zune. It was a good decision. This is a great product. All that comes in the box is the Zune, a sync cord, earphones, and brief documentation. You need to go online and download the Zune software to a PC and then hook up the player before you can get it to do anything. This doesn't take too long and the Zune will provide you with some sample content to try out as part of this process. The Zune sounds great, with plenty of volume and a decent set of earphones. The click wheel is intuitive and masterable in just a few minutes use.

As nice as the Zune is, a pleasant surprise is the Zune software. This is really more than just a tool to sync your tunes with your Zune. It is an attractive, intuitive, easy to use full fledged media player as well. It can easily replace Windows Media Player and is better looking than any other offering out there- Apple included.
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167 of 183 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great device, November 21, 2007
By 
This review is from: Zune 4 GB Video MP3 Player (Black) (Electronics)
This is my first mp3 player. I'd always thought I might like a small device that could be used while exercising, but I've hesitated to buy one because I wasn't sure how much I'd actually use it. The Zune feature that pushed me over the edge is the FM radio, which made the device too attractive not to try out. I'm extremely happy that I made the plunge and bought the Zune. I now take it everywhere and listen to music or the radio at work, on the bus, at the gym, everywhere. It has easily surpassed my bar of usefulness and utility. I'm not a big gadget person and I don't like the time and energy it takes to figure out how to use a new program or game, but the Zune user experience has been everything that I could have hoped for. The controls are simple and a pleasure to use. Right out of the box I was able to get it figured out and working. This is a great device.
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179 of 202 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Music To My Ears, April 11, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I opened my new 8GB Zune to the pleasant surprise of what amounted to 3 pretty simple steps to getting started:

1) Download the Zune software (required from the Zune web site). However, while a pretty simple step, it takes about 20 minutes or so to get through if you include signing up for a Zune account.

2) Load the songs you want.

3) Let the unit fully charge.

And that's it. You're ready to rock and roll. Or at least that's it for me. For now I don't see myself using the Zune for anything but music. But it should be noted that the Zune also plays videos, pictures, podcasts, FM radio and can also network with other Zune owners in your direct vicinity.

The Zune charges on any USB connection, but you won't be able to get it to do anything else until you download the cruddy software package. Did I say "cruddy" software? Let me share a few gripes:

All of the music stored in my PC library from CDs that I've ripped is Windows Audio Lossless...apx 30mb per song. With other media devices like the iPod, Zen or Walkman they automatically convert to much smaller mp3 files (like 3mb per song) when syncing. But the 8GB Zune syncs my collection at the full file size allowing me to put on only about 250 songs instead of thousands. I spoke with Zune customer support and they confirmed that the Zune won't convert my WMA Lossless library to MP3s on the Zune. I'm really disappointed that the Microsoft Zune won't do this with my Microsoft WMA lossless files but my Creative Zen, Apple iPod and Sony Walkman all WILL!!!! The customer support person did hint that an update that includes the capability could be on the near horizon, but she wasn't making any promises.

{5-7-2008 UPDATE! A PATCH HAS BEEN RELEASED THAT ALLOWS CONVERSION OF ALL MUSIC TO "DEVICE QUALITY"; hence, WMA Lossless audio on your PC can now be converted to apx 10 MB or less...whew!} (However, after all my complaining, I find it strange that the Zune now will not allow transfer of music at any higher than "device quality"; in other words, I could now not transfer songs at the full WMA Lossless file size even if I wanted to.)

If you're used to the Windows Media Player's 5-star rating system, that's out the "Window" with the Zune. With the Zune all you get to do is rate a song "I like it" or "I don't like it". Who has songs that they "don't like" in their library? All I wanted on my Zune was my 4 & 5 star rated songs from Windows Media Player. Since the Zune didn't identify with that system, I had to go through hundreds of songs and either rate them or tell the device not to sync with a certain song, BECAUSE....

The device will automatically sync with every song in the folder(s) that you tell it to monitor on your PC whenever you connect the device. You can tell the Zune not to sync with a song by right clicking on the song in your Zune Library and selecting "never sync with my Zune", or with the 5/7/2008 you can now tell the Zune not to sync with songs that you "don't like". You can also choose the option that stops the Zune from auto-syncing and make it sync to songs only when you do it manually.

Finally, the unit comes pretty bare bones: it includes some fair-at-best headphones and a USB connection...no AC Adapter.

So all in all, is it a decent music player?...sure. Is it as good as it could be?...It could still use some patches, but hearing that the patch that fixes the sync conversion is available was music to my ears.

5/12/08 update - Since the Zune Version 2.5 update was released, I bought a second Zune for my son. The second Zune had an issue recognizing the new update prior to being fully charged, because Zune's that are being shipped at the time of this writing are still version 2.3. Therefore, the fix for this is (at least for me) was changing the order of my 3-step instruction above to:

1) Let the unit fully charge.

2) Download the Zune software. However, while a pretty simple step, it takes about 20 minutes or so to get through if you include signing up for a Zune account.

3) Connect the Zune; it may then tell you that you need to upgrade the device to version 2.5 which takes only a few more minutes.

4) Load the songs you want.
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35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cool as an iPod? No way. More loved? Yes!, July 10, 2008
By 
K. Rule (Beaverton, OR USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
We have 4 in our family (myself, my wife and 2 kids). Over the years we've had several iPods and recently we have a mix of Zunes and iPods.

IPods are great. My wife has an iPod Touch and we've had several previous iPods over the years. However, our Zunes get far more use than the iPods these days.

Here's why:

1) Subscription Service - Microsoft's all you can eat subscription service costs about $16/month. It supports up to three devices. That covers, me and my kids (my wife insists on using only her iPod). The kids and I get gobs a new music as it comes out.

2) Easier to use software - Surprisingly, the Zune software is easier to use than iTunes. Hard to believe, but my wife has no end of problems syncing her iPod and finding stuff she wants to download. My kids (11 and 7) don't have this problem with the Zune software.

3) It works with Tivo2Go. If you have a Series 2 or 3 Tivo connected to a home network you can download TV shows to the Zune. Yes, this is also true for the iPod, but it works very will with the Zune too. My kids have been watching old movies (The Adventures of Robin Hood w/Errol Flynn and Captains Courageous w/Spencer Tracy are their favorites from the TiVo - not to mention Mythbusters).

4) Microsoft has good customer service with the Zunes. I had a HD version die and they replaced it promptly after providing proof of purchase. The warranty is for 1 year I believe.

The big wins at our house is the subscription service. Lot's of great choices (including currently released albums) for 3 devices for about the price of one CD a month. That's hard to bet and makes us very happy.

This particular Zune model is especially nice. It's nice and small, but with the same interface as the large Zunes. Movies play very well on this device. The battery life seems quite a bit better than the HD Zune I have, especially when playing movies. Hopefully it will be a bit more robust than the HD media players. I had problems with both iPod and Zune HD units dying (or is it wearing out). I'm very happy to make the transition to solid state storage with this unit. 8G seems reasonably large for my needs - I don't really need to store my entire music collection on my media player. I currently have 4 full length movies, about 30 albums and several Zune recommended playlists with room to spare.

Granted it's not a iPod Touch, but to be frank, all my wife does is fiddle with her iPod Touch. She doesn't really use it to watch video's or listen to music. I think the iPod Touch is really targeted to folks with a short attention span -folks who'd rather be reading their email or browsing the web than enjoying good music or a classic movie.

This Zune might not be as cool as an iPod Touch (or an iPhone for that matter). But it's an excellent media player with a great subscription service. That makes the Zunes far more used in our house than our iPods.

So don't let your smug iPod owning friends tell you their iPods are better. Just smile and enjoy all of the new music you've downloaded legally for a pittance.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 3rd Generation Zune 16GB rocks!, September 17, 2008
I just picked this up yesterday and I am very impressed. Move over Apple!
Pros:
- Great user interface. It's elegantly designed and very easy to navigate. I like the button touch volume control which allows me to change volume through a cover or through my pockets (something you can't do on the ipod). The player itself is beautiful too.
- Lightweight and easy to use device. The actual device is basically the same as the 4GB and 8GB 2nd generation models. LCD, weight, and hardware functionality is basically identical as far as I can tell. Of course, here you get 16GB of memory.
- Love the FM radio and new Zune 3.0 features. You can easily add songs you like while listening to the radio to your cart (on your device) and then download them either when you connect to your computer later or immediately through a wifi network. You also have the wifi marketplace which allows easy download of songs with Zunepass and I like now that there is a clock on the device.
- The software PC interface is slick and intuitive. You can easily drag and drop songs to reorganize them and I the interface is far more slick than iTunes. There are helpful features to get album art or even missing tag information on music as well. MixView is a very cool feature that enables you to see related artists with a simple click of the mouse. There's also a user rating system for songs though the classification is binary - either like or don't like.
- Great sound fidelity, although there is again no equalizer
- Superfast download/sync speeds. Downloaded about 3,000 songs in minutes!
Cons:
- You need Zunepass to get the most out of the marketplace, and it's expensive at $15/ month. But for that, you can wirelessly (through wifi) preview songs and download them (and most songs/artists are available on Zunepass). And if you ever stop your subscription, you lose your music. If that's unappealing, you can always download and pay for songs individually.
- Online marketplace interface can be a little vexing and still a work in progress. The music is there, but not the easiest to get to it.
- Earbuds that come with the device are so so. To get full sound fidelity, probably will need to upgrade them.
- 1.8" screen is great for navigation and music, but only adequate for video. If you want primarily a video device, I'd get the 120GB 3rd generation video player. The screen is much bigger (3.2") though the overall device is bigger and heavier (4.5 ounces vs. 1.7 for the 16GB)
- 16GB model only available in black and like previous versions, scratches/smudges show up easily.

All in all, I am psyched they came up with a 16GB version without increasing the size. I primarily use this as a music player and couldn't be happier with my purchase!
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yes, I'm an Apple Fangirl; and yes, I like the Zune, December 11, 2008
This review is from: Zune 4 GB Video MP3 Player (Black) (Electronics)
I have an ipod classic, but after ruining multiple classics jogging with them, I decided to get a flash-drive based player, and thought "it's now or never" to try out the Microsoft Zune.

First Impressions: The packing is very nice; it's been said before, but it's very true. It made me realize how plain the iPod box is. This isn't a really important thing, but it's a nice touch.

The Zune itself is somehow a lot sleeker in person than in pictures; I don't know why, it just is. It's not as thin as my mom's 3rd generation iPod Nano, but it's not super thick either, and the controls kind of blend into the machine, at least with the black.

Sort of important: The Games were not already in the machine! I certainly didn't buy the zune for its games (which pale in comparison to the ipod's) but this had me pissed off until I figured it out. You have to update the zune, even if its new, to add the games to it.

Okay, ease of use: I've been using the trial for the zune pass, and converting the music using TuneBite (so that I can keep it even when my trial is done), and since I'm not paying for anything, it's a good deal for the next week. :)

I decided to not read the manual and try to figure out the controls on my own (to simulate the normal user of a new product), and it took me a little bit, being used to the ipod clickwheel, to realize that you scroll up and down, and not round and round. I miss the click wheel, but since apple patented that, it's not Microsoft's fault and theirs is a decent alternative.

The Zune 3.0 Software is gorgeous, much better looking than itunes, but I've gotta say: Personally, I'm all about playlists; I like to get ocd about them; and I just don't like the way the Zune software has you create them.

I didn't think I would appreciate or even really use the radio function, since I haven't been into radio since I was fifteen and got my first ipod, but the ability to add things to your cart actually got me listening to local stations again. Plus, it reminded me that my favorite npr "podcasts" are actually streaming 24/7 on the airwaves, lol.

The battery life seems about what my mom's ipod nano is; not great, not bad. An interesting note is that the zune doesn't need to be "ejected" from the computer; it can just be unplugged without harming it at all.

I didn't use the earbuds that came with the Zune, since I have my own higher-end pair, but they look and feel a lot like the apple ipod earbuds that come with that product.

Look, the thing is, product-wise, an mp3 is an mp3 is an mp3. If you're looking to play games on your player (and I understand that urge), get an ipod, but if there's any chance you'll use the radio function, try out the Zune. If you don't mind buying the "newest and latest" once or twice a year, get the ipod; if you don't want to have to bother with that, get the Zune, since unlike the ipod, the Zune's new features are always available, even for older models.

All in all, I don't feel nearly as culturally irrelevant holding my Zune in public as I thought I would, and the interface doesn't look cheap or "second tear" at all.

It's a good investment, and I'm glad I made it. It's one less ipod classic I have to replace.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb alternative to the iPod, December 28, 2007
By 
JP Gaubier (California, USA) - See all my reviews
This second generation Zune is a lot of fun to use. In my opinion, the the touch-sensitive Zunepad is easier and more intuitive to use than the Ipod's scroll wheel. The Zunepad allows you to "swipe" to scroll, which makes it a breeze to manage long song lists. I also prefer the Zune's snazzy interface to the iPod's, which is getting a bit boring. The Zune software is also a pleasure to use, and makes it fun to explore new music (especially if you use ZunePass, the [...] monthly music subscription service).

On the downside, the Zune does not play nice with [...]: it's currently not possible to play Audible files on the Zune. A Zune-friendly alternative is audiobooks.com, which offers their titles in universally compatible mp3 files, but they do not seem to have as many titles as audible.com, so if you're an avid audiobook listener, this may be an issue for you.

The Zune 8GB is well-designed and feels solid in your hand. It's a very worthy alternative to the aging iPod line.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best player so far, with interesting new features, December 8, 2007
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This is my fourth portable music player since the first one 5+ years ago, a Rio S30, and it is the best so far (size, weight, capacity, quality, and features).

In addition to music, I always need a radio at the gym, both to listent o NPR but also to listen to the TVs, and the Zune has the best reception so far (and a nice interface to select from favorite radio stations).

I love the podcast functionality (subscribe from within the application and it syncs new downloads automatically, and removes the old ones), as well as the ability to sync over my wireless network at home. I don't buy new songs every week, but new podcasts come out several times per week, and they get sync'ed to the Zune, without having to dock it. And not just audio podcasts, but video as well (the NASA weekly ones being my favorite).

The player is easy to control and the display is very nice. The earphones fit nicely and have a nice sound.

The PC software is simple and easy to use, very focused on the task of getting content to the player. It is also easy to buy additional songs through the software, and I get to use the same points I use to buy things on the X Box.

There are some interesting social aspects to the player and software, for example being able to share your favorites and songs recently played with your friends.

8 GB (in red) was the right size for me. The majority of the songs I like to listen to are now loaded in my Zune, with a nice variety of artists and genres. I also loaded a couple of my favorite photos, just to browse through them now and then.

Highly recommend it.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best MP3/MP4 player i've ever had!, September 30, 2008
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
As a former iPOD nano user, I bought this player just to test it and see the difference between my ipod and the Zune. The winner stays with me, and the other goes to my sister. After testing the player out, Zune stays with me :)

Zune is more of your "music enjoyment device". If you dont need a calendar (which you can get in your mobile phones), games (which are better on PSP), PIM (which your organizer does best), or tend to forget your player cables often, then Zune is just for you. I got my hands on the Zune, the first thing that attracted me was the packaging! Not just a transparent cheap looking transparent plastic which many China players have imitated, but rather an elegant black box with a nice Zune logo embedded on it. I opened it and the player, earphones and USB cable are separated with smaller boxes. Very neat indeed! Above all, amusing but rather fashionable, Zune came with three pairs of earphone sponges with three different colors to suit your current style!

After charging the player, the Zune loaded and I just loved every second I discovered the new features in it. What it has and iPod doesnt have, is the Wireless sync which enables you to sync your player with your laptop without cables. Although syncing 8GB is slow and battery consuming, wireless syncing comes handy after you have added your favourite tunes for the first time! Another thing I love about Zune is the background changing feature. Trust me, I really dont like the root menu of iPOD. Even before I had my Zune. The idea of having the screen always splitted into two for iPOD just didnt attract me. Also, I love the quick playlist feature! I mean, I just uploaded all of my music from my hard disk to my Zune. BUT, not all of the songs are my favourites. Hence, as you are listening, shuffle all the songs, skip the ones you dont like, listen the one you like and add them to the quick playlist. You dont have to make a playlist from your computer anymore! I guess Zune's "Now Playing" screen is awesome! Why? Because the new iPOD nano has a similar interface for their Now Playing like that of Zune's! ;)

I know I'm sounding bias here. I'm not saying that iPOD is a flop. IN fact, iPOD ranks second among all other players (iRiver, Sony, Creative, etc) and that is why I have not used the term "loser" for iPOD at all :) Its just that Zune has won me over iPOD. And took the first place which once blonged to iPOD :)

Regards,
shahz
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Zune 4 GB Video MP3 Player (Black)
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