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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.
33 comments|24 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 28, 2011
I purchased the Zune 8g some time ago. Having owned it for about a year now, I have some input for future consumers that I wish I had been given.

I would give the following pros and cons:

- Unique
- Intuitive controls
- Good battery life
- Software is easy to use
- Device settings allow for a lot of cool customizations

- How to turn Zune off not included in package (read below)
- Syncing with Xbox doesn't show podcasts (which has since my initial review apparently been patched)

I have never been one for apple products. I can't understand the appeal of having the same exact thing as the person next to me. Microsoft is something I'm very familiar with and enjoy the ability to customize my EVERYTHING. I thought buying a Zune would compliment that desire well and for the most part it does.

The Zune software is easy enough to use. Without doing the "Zune Pass" (the subscription based portion for buying media) it is still easy enough to categorize a collection, set automatic downloads for my favorite podcasts, and update cover art/ musician information for my collection. Any changes I make within the software are immediately applied to the music on my Zune during syncing. The Zune software even allows me to sync on my home wireless network when I'm within reasonable proximity to my computer. If I've changed album cover art or set certain podcats to automatically be downloaded to the Zune, this function does it for me while the Zune is charging. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the 21st century exempli gratia.

The Zune itself is easy enough to use, but not straight out of the box. I had to dredge the internet for the simplest of actions: how to turn the darn thing off. The included instructions list other great functions, but no where in the included paperwork does it say how to turn the thing off. Bad move indeed, Microsoft. It lists all sorts of hibernating and standby modes, but not how to turn it off. By holding the "back" button and the "down pad" direction at the same time the machine turns off within 10 seconds. I read a few reviews from customers experiencing horrid battery life and now understand why. I can usually get about eight hours out of a full battery. I found out this last weekend the cigarette lighter I was using turned out to be faulty and went on a true eight hour road trip through most of California. My Zune died in the parking lot of my destination. Other than that the machine itself works well. Its intuitive controls are easy to navigate. I haven't tried watching videos on it, but I'm sure if a video addict needed a fix they would prefer a larger screen.

My Zune plays well with others. Other Microsoft products, that is. It greets my Xbox 360 like an old friend, syncing instantly. My laptop and desktop are equally as welcoming when it comes into proximity. It's like my home network is Cheers, and a Zune named Norm just walked in.

If I had to to it all over again I would in a heartbeat. The price on the factory refurbished Zune was somewhere around 30% of the MSRP. For what I got it was TOTALLY WORTH IT. I hope my anecdotal experiences have helped your decision making process in some way.
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on June 13, 2009
I've had my refurbished zune 4gb for about two weeks now. I think Microsoft tried really hard to make the zune a good ipod competitor, and I commend them for that. I've had an apple ipod nano video as well. The zune player is nice if you enjoy getting your local FM radio, which I do. I am able to get podcasts that I got from apple itunes at the zune marketplace. I can watch TV episodes that I recorded on my Windows Media Center PC on the zune player which is nice because you can save money and have more freedom because you can watch what you record. The recorded video plays smooth too. The zune also recognizes the music and podcasts I have in my itunes library, so I didn't have to work hard to get my music into the zune media management software. The wifi on the zune player for me was not really usable because it kept dropping the connection so I couldn't use it to purchase songs from the zune marketplace. Lastly, even though the zune player is refurbished Microsoft still gives you a 1 year warranty.
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on July 2, 2009
When I first saw the zune 8gb I thought to myself "Damn that is one thin music player". So I decided to look around the internet and I checked out amazon.com, because of the affordable prices, I wanted to buy a zune 8gb and I found this one for 77 dollars (price may change over time). Now thats one helluva deal. Even though its refurbished, I kinda got the feeling of it being all sratched up. So I did some research on refurbished items and I just said what the hell I'll give it a shot. A week and a half went by and it arrived! I opened up the box and there it was my refurbished zune 8gb. I was really amazed on how brand new it looked, like no has ever used it. On the description it says that theres cosmetic blemishes but I saw no blemishes what so ever. It was practically new. It came with everything the cables, earphones, users guide, and the player it self. I took the player out of it plastic and damn was it thin in person. It has a sratch resistant screen and body which is a BIG plus!

Now for the Pros and Con

-Thin and light weight player
-One helluva deal for a refurbished zune. Looks brand new!
-The audio quality on the device is great.
-Has a Scratch resistant screen and body which is a Big Plus!
-Pocketable when you're on the go.
-Easy UI
-The screen has good resolution.
-Well made
-Wireless syncing which is freakin awesome
-Good battery life
-Easy touch pad
-Great alternative mp3
-You can watch videos and look at your pictures

-proprietary cable
-Ok earphones
-proprietary software which you have to download from[...]
-1.8in screen

Inconclusion its a great mp3 player with lots of features, and some features that ipod does not have. A great alternative other than an ipod.
Overall I get it a 9 out of 10.
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on October 22, 2012
Essentially, this MP3 player is awesome because it does just what I wanted. I wanted an MP3 player that was not an iPod that I could use for running, working out, connect to my car, and use with the sound system for my group exercise classes. I needed it to have a large screen and hold lots of music. I have not used, nor do I plan to use the picture, video, or podcast features. Also, if you use this to exercise and you sweat a lot, then I would suggest buying different ear buds because the ones out of the box don't stay put while moving.

The thing I learned after I bought this device is Microsoft isn't supporting them anymore and the Zune software is poorly designed and refuses to sync playlist. Never fear however, you can always just use Windows Media Player to sync music to this device. Since it's a Microsoft device WMP works with it flawlessly.

Perfect, perfect, perfect alternative for the Apple iPod.
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on July 16, 2012
I'm glad I made this purchase. Apple products were just pissing me off because everyone had them. Anyway The only thing I regret was maybe getting the 8gb because im already more than half way full on my 4gb :/ I like the purchasing system with paying $10 a month compared to $1.30 per song. I downloaded 200 some songs in one night so I saved a ton! Plus zune market actually looks for music you like and its really good! Overall I wish i had a zune hd but they were way to expensive and it wasnt an Ipod so Im happy! great product!
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on March 26, 2013
Was kinda suprised that microsoft put this out.

I spent a little extra to get a brand for my son so he wasnt walking around with a sanyo or other cheap brand electronic company

- the box came busted up, but thats fine, i dont need the box.

the item came refurbished, completely dead.
it was made of a hard plsatic material , and with very little weight it felt incredibly cheap. like bad cheap, one of those things you feel like you will snap in your pocket cheap.

can play video, but screen is a little to small IRL to enjoy it. the headphones were okay.

Sadly i think i would of just bought a cheap-o if I realized this was the quality I was getting :(
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on December 8, 2012
This was a birthday present for my boyfriend - he loved it! Almost never puts it down and certainly never leaves it anywhere. It works great and has a great UI. Maybe a little too cool... Haha. I would recommend this (or any Zune player, really) to anyone looking for a simple way to play music and save money by avoiding any Apple products. Don't get me wrong, iPods are cool, but when it comes to a money matter, this Zune was just as good for much less.
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on July 29, 2014
i moved on to iPods. Microsoft just had too much wrong with it. i always had problems syncing music and this that and the other thing. not everything supported Zune, where as everything makes itself compatible with an ipod
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on January 4, 2013
Received replacement the very next day !!! Installing it was a chore, I had many frustrating problems ... Then I installed windows 8 which I had sitting around here for months ... Took 30 seconds with *8* !!! Easy to add, buy & download music & make playlists... Great interface with my car stereo, even the one in my '92' Buick Roadmaster limited !!!
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