Top positive review
24 people found this helpful
on June 15, 2009
I bought the refurbished Zune 8 for $77. The price may have changed after I posted this review.
[+] Well-built, all parts are scratch-resistant including the glass and plastic
[+] Sturdy build and flash memory make this drop-resistant even without a case
[+] The touch-sensitive Zune Pad interface is intuitive and fun to use, like a laptop pad that you can click and flick
[+] The screen is crystal-clear, videos and pictures are very sharp
[+] FM radio offers good reception through the earphone "antennas"
[+] Good battery life, just charge once or twice a week with normal use
[+] Supports Zune Pass (14 day free trial available for everyone, regardless of whether you own a Zune)
[+] Built-in Wi-Fi allows you to download and stream songs with a Zune Pass
[+] Free yearly firmware upgrades from Microsoft with new features
[+] Excellent price
[*] Normal resolution (240x320)
[*] Average amount of storage space (8 GB)
[*] Includes stock earphones, which are of average quality but can be magnetically attached for convenience
[-] Small screen (1.8 inches diagonally)
[-] Windows only, but free software Songbird can give limited support for Zune on Mac and Linux
[-] Wi-Fi features drain battery quickly
This Zune was much smaller than I had originally expected-- I never realized how small 1.8 inches really was for the screen. On the other hand, it's remarkably small and thin, and very sturdy for its size. You won't need a case to protect this, since the glass, plastic, and metal are too hard to be scratched in casual use. You don't even have to worry about dropping this, since there's no hard drive involved, which means that the Zune will, in almost all situations, continue to work properly.
One of the main perks for the Zune, compared to the alternatives, is support for the Zune Software. Although it is Windows-only, the Zune Software has a very easy-to-use and nice-looking interface, and has features like Mixview, which suggest new music depending on the history of music you listened to. Also, the Zune is compatible with the Zune Pass, which is a subscription service that gives you access to all of Zune's music library for $15 per month. If you buy songs on a regular basis, this is definitely worth a look. Also, Microsoft rolls out yearly firmware upgrades to all Zune models, so it's like getting a new Zune annually for no charge.
Please note that while the Wi-Fi features are pretty nice (especially for such an affordable MP3 player), you will drain the batter much faster while you are using these features. Turning on wireless already speeds up battery drain, but downloading or streaming music, while potentially handy if you are in a place with Wi-Fi, can make your battery run out 10 times as quickly! Use Wi-Fi in moderation unless you don't want enough battery power to listen to music or watch movies later.
Even though this is refurbished and Amazon said that the product may have "cosmetic imperfections," the only thing I noticed was a tiny dent in the plastic at the border of the glass. It's not easy to spot, and not nearly as obvious as the numerous scratches I've seen on the screens and surfaces of some other MP3 players. This purchase has confirmed for me that buying refurbished is a great way to save money on a good product without sacrificing much at all. You even get the same warranty, so the only real difference is not being able to claim that your product is new (which is certainly worth saving $50 for).
As a device that I use to listen to music on (through downloaded songs or radio) and watch videos on, the refurbished Zune 8 is a steal at under $80.