Top positive review
3 people found this helpful
Zune 30 - solid and feature rich!
on December 7, 2007
Two of my three children have the Zune 30 (the other insists on iPOD). I played with both and considered functionality and ease of use; not only on the device, but on the user interface-sync software. The Zune came out on top.
The Zune 30 packaging is very high-tech and attractive; extremely well engineered. Everything you need is there. Nice quality ear buds, USB charge/sync cable, 1 install CD, getting started manual, and of course, the beautiful Zune itself.
The installation process could NOT be simpler; however, to have the optimal experience, your PC needs to be connected to the internet (broadband preferably). You'll first load the software from the CD (it will get latest updates from the internet, which could take a few minutes). After (I repeat AFTER) the Zune software is loaded, you connect your Zune to your PC using the provided USB cable. The device will be detected and go through an upgrade process (depending on your version of the Zune). My Zune did not come with the most recent version of the O/S (which, by the way is really cool), so it was automatically upgraded. During the Zune upgrade, there were a couple of times where I received messages that the USB device may not have been installed properly, but that self-corrects before the automatic upgrade process completes. Just sit back and watch. By the way, my PC was a desktop with Windows XP SP2.
The Zune software is easy to use and presents user with synchronization options. If you have your media (music, pictures, and videos organized in the window default "My" folders, the Zune software will automatically detect them. You just set the settings to automatically sync.
The sync process is fast. I have almost 3,000 MP3s and it synced (copied from PC to Zune device) in less than 10 minutes.
The Zune user interface is attractive and very easy to use. As far as buttons/controls on the Zune go, there are only three (four if you include the "hold" button on the top of the unit), which makes operation very simple. There is a "back" button (which works like a navigation button on a browser... taking you back to the previous screen), and Play/Pause button, and a menu navigation / select button (the larger circular control between the two other buttons). The navigation through the menus is easy and intuitive. I was able to use mine like a pro within a minute.
File types used by Zune: m3u, m4a, m4b, m4v, mp3, mp4, wma, wmv, zpl
The main menu items are Music, Videos, Pictures, Social, Radio, Podcasts, and Settings.
You can list songs by genres, albums, artists, playlists, or show all songs.
When playing a song, the album art will show on the screen (if available).
You'll also see info about the current song (title, album, artist).
There is a progress bar that shows time into song and time remaining in song.
The circular control will allow you to navigate between songs in the playlist/album (click left or right side of control).
You can also control the volume by clicking the top or bottom of the circular control.
Of course, you have the option of shuffling (randomly played songs) at all levels (all songs, artist, album, genre, etc.)
This is also a repeat option.
The Zune plays MPEG-4 and WMV video.
I synched My Pictures folder. It was fast. The pics look really nice.
The only thing I would change is the ability to automatically detect the orientation of the picture (landscape or portrait) and adjust how it is displayed.
You can play slideshow of all of your picture, a single folder, or scroll through a folder of pictures using the navigator control.
You can listen to music while looking at pictures, which is cool.
Allows you to share media with other Zune users in close proximity.
I beamed some songs to my son's zune. They appear in your InBox (and are good for three days or 3 plays).
Of course, if you REALLY want to share an MP3, just give them the file using a flash drive to load on their PC and they can add to their collection.
Try that with an iPOD... forget it.
Awesome radio interface with autoseek, presets. Some radio stations broadcast info about the station and currently playing song.
The Zune will show this information, if available.
PodCasts - Video clips you can download from the internet
There is battery level indicator that displays on the lower right corner of the display.
The battery life seems to be excellent and is recharged while connected to your PC with the USB cable.
Is there anything bad about the Zune?
I'm glad I waited 24 hours before finishing the review because at first I thought that while the Zune is connected via the USB cable, you can't use it for anything other than charging or synchronization. That is only true when the Zune sync program is loaded on your PC. Simply unload the Zune program (mine is set to automatically load when I connect the Zune via USB, but that can be changed via Settings / Device / Sync Options) and you can use the Zune while charging via USB cable.
Is the Zune 30 too big?
That is personal preference. I personally like the size. It fits comfortably in my hand and it has a nice look and feel.
If you're looking for something really small, look at the iPOD nano 3rd generation but say goodbye to 30 GB.