Regarding the Zune

I watched a VGA video of the Zune interface and yes, it’s really nice (review). It resembles Sony PSP’s UI in principle (able to scroll menus horizontally and vertically at any time). What I like from the Zune except its “next-gen” interface (feels like an upgrade from Win95 to WinXP compared to the iPod’s interface — while the rest of the mp3 market is still resembling Win3.1 (Creative, Sandisk) or DOS in terms of usability), is its ability to play iPod videos and AAC music in addition to WMV/WMA and mp3. Its 3″ screen seems very nice and the radio functionality with RDS too.

However, there are a few things that I really hate about the Zune:
1. No DivX ability, the most common video format.
2. Doesn’t work with WMP. Requires its brand new DRM algorithm (not even the previously Microsoft endorsed DRM format) and accompanied application. This sucks, because it divides the DRM’ed market even more (there should only be one DRM standard).
3. No EXIF support for images (orientation problems).
4. Doesn’t work with Mac OS X (client application available only for XP/Vista).
5. Its 3×3 rule feels sour (you can be sent via wifi a song that you can play either 3 times or keep for up to 3 days). Unfortunately it does this for all songs and so it breaks the licensing of Creative Commons songs.
6. No Bluetooth audio! It would have been better if they included Bluetooth 2.0+EDR (for file exchanging that would be about 200 KB/sec and it would save battery life) with A2DP/AVRCP support instead of WiFi. But I guess they went with WiFi because they wanted compatibility with the XBox 360. Personally, I feel screwed over this.
7. Battery life is not that great, especially for video (4 hours).
8. No kickstand. Why do companies forget to add this much needed piece of plastic on their video devices?
9. No extras: games, voice recording, calendar, notes, contacts etc.
10. Apparently, no lyrics support. Neither Gapless playback support.
11. Can’t be used as a USB drive.

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memson wrote on November 4th, 2006 at 4:28 AM PST:

The iPod Video still has my money. Well, to be honest, you only got about 3 hours tops out of the iPod video too, until the last firmware revision. THEN Apple put in the backlight control. Wham! Playback just went up by 2+ hours. Even on the lowest setting, the picture is still bright enough in daylight. I managed to watch Battlestar Galactica (35 – 40 mins), 4 episodes of Heroes (each 35 – 40 mins) and 3 or 4 video Podcasts (15 mins of Diggnation, Ask a Ninja, a couple of Geekbriefs and a few Rocketbooms) last sunday night, and still had 50% of my battery. It actually lasted then till Tuesday (with a 2 days of further music playing for about 8 hours in all.) This was with the backlight set to about 1/8th on. Not “just on” but still dim, but the next bit. I can’t believe how much more battery life it has given me. I would calculate its somewhere between 5 and a half and Six hours. Mind, the video might have been in straight MP4 rather than the h.264. That might have some bearing on it. You could certainly watch movies on it now though.


kingofthehill@hotmail.com wrote on November 10th, 2006 at 6:01 AM PST:

1: which popular portable music/video device supports Divx?
2: sure I will give you this
3: again, which popular portable music/video device supports EXIF? For god’s sake you can turn the freaking screen sideways!
4: iPod didn’t support Windows when it was first launched either.
5: again, which popular portable music/video device supports sending content over wifi? Zune does.
6: again, which popular portable music/video device supports bluetooth for content transfer that is selling for Around $250?
7: which portable video device on the market now has longer than 4 hours battery life and is as small as Zune?
8: which popular portable video device on the market has a kickstand?
9: if you want games, get a DS. If you want calendar, get a PDA
10: OMFG! which portable music device support lyrics?

Don’t hate Zune just because it doesn’t have everything on your rediculous wishlist.

You are an idiot!


This is the admin speaking...
Eugenia wrote on November 10th, 2006 at 6:12 AM PST:

KingOfTheHill, it is you that it is the idiot. The Archos devices are very popular and they do have kickstands and DivX support. And the iPod does have calendar, and contacts, and games and it does support both platforms. More over the iPod DOES support lyrics. And adding bluetooth functionality over wifi is actually CHEAPER.

Get your facts right.


Alex G wrote on November 10th, 2006 at 10:42 AM PST:

@Eugenia

very mature response…

Archos is non-existing as a competetor. It’s very popular, but within its niche market which is tiny to begin with.

iPod’s calendar and contacts are gimmics. Virtually everyone I know owns an iPod and I have yet to hear someone brag how useful those features are.

Supporting OSX for Zune is silly. Few people who chose Apple as their platform would abandon iPods or consider buying a Zune. There’s little ROI in that market. This is exactly the reason why iTunes is available on Windows.

While you wish list would be nice to have, most people don’t care for most of those features. Even less know what DivX is.


b wrote on November 10th, 2006 at 10:47 AM PST:

1) there should be no DRM standard.

2) There should be native USB Mass Storage drag n drop, not crapsoftware (like Cowon and Sandisk and many others offer). This makes it compatible with virtually any operating system – Mac, Linux, MacOS…

3) there should be FLAC and Ogg Vorbis support.


Ricardo wrote on November 11th, 2006 at 1:07 AM PST:

“very mature response…”
Well Alex G, your post wasn’t very mature to begin with…

There is one difference between Eugenia’s opinion and yours however, she listed positive facts about the Zune.

Don’t let your hate out in just because someone said it does not like the Zune.

Nobody around you uses iPod’s calendar or contacts, that’s fine. None of my friends who own an iPod use a FM receiver however they use the calendar and contacts on a daily basis.

And as for most people not knowing what Divx is, don’t tell me you believe this, because if you ever downloaded a movie from a p2p software (not that I encourage it), you know what Divx is.


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