Thursday, August 28, 2008

News:: We Like The Blogs With The Zune

I'm a freak
I like the girls with the boom
I once got busy in a Burger King bathroom


What does a classic line from the best dance-related hip hop song ever made have to do with Microsoft's new(ish) music player? Nothing really, except I needed a catchy title for this post, so I swapped out Boom for Zune and, uhhh, boom, there you have it (well I switched Girls too, our wives come by here every once in a while, need to keep things on the up and up). Anyway, like most people in Canada with a music-related blog read by more people than their Mom and the guy that sits next to them in English class, we were asked if we wanted to try out Microsoft's new music player as one empire attempts to eat into the iPod empire.

There are two reasons we agreed to do this. One, we listen to a lot of music, and obviously the people that frequent this site likely do as well. So, we figured who's more qualified than us to check out a device that could potentially help out our readers? Well, lots of people are more qualified actually, but reason number two is also very important: we enjoy the free stuff. We have our scruples where the music we cover is concerned, and we don't want to propagate the music blogger stereotype of grubbing for any and all freebies available, but still, free stuff is aight.

We've put the Zune through some hill-related paces over the last few weeks, so how about some pros and cons:

Pros

Design: I think basically the Ack and I agree that they designed the hell out of this thing. From the packaging, to the look and feel of the unit itself, to the interface, they have certainly paid a lot of attention to the details.

Interface/Display: Putting it simply, the Zune is pretty to look at. There's something very satisfying about the full-screen album covers that are displayed when you are playing music. There's also a number of ways to navigate through the Zune, which makes it seem easier to use that the iPod's menus. The Zune click/scroll wheel is also superior to the iPod's scroll-only steez.

Better Software: The returns are early, but I like the Zune software better than iTunes. I didn't mind iTunes really, but it was a little too flaky for me, crashing quite a bit. I keep my music on an external hard drive on my network, and iTunes found this rather challenging. The Zune software seems to be ok with it.

Size/Weight: This thing is light, and the Ack gives it his running stamp pf approval. I can vouch for it being an easy commute companion, taking up no space at all.

Cons:

Install: The Ack was not a fan of the Windowsy goodness of the install for the Zune software. It take some time, with multiple updates required before it would run. He's a Mac guy though, I didn't notice really, that's kind of the norm isn't it?

Wireless Sync: This is really a plus, as when I got it to work (after much messing around, really not that easy), it was mighty slick. However, if you run Zone Alarm as your firewall, as I do, then you can forget about getting it to work. Well I'm not turning off the firewall, so it's wired sync for me. I was looking forward to this feature immensely, so not being able to use it is a negative.

Headphones: We got some of the deluxe headphones with our Zunes, and while they are really quite nice (I really like the cool rope-like cord on them, another of those solid details I mentioned), they ended up being kind of a disappointment. For whatever reason, they don't seem to stay in my ear all that well (I tried all sizes of the rubber covers that come with them), we Ack and I both felt our existing headphones were better (Bose and Sennheiser respectively)

So after that, what's the verdict? I have to say I'm pretty impressed with the Zune overall, and I think it's a worthy competitor for the iPod. If you're in the market for a new music player, at least give the Zune a look.

Posted at 10:47 PM by naedoo :: 4 comments

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At 8:33 PM, Blogger Allan did sayeth:

Hmm I personally don't like firewalls so I love the wireless sync.

I never find myself downloading anything problem some ;).

As for headphones, I'm still using the normal ones but the ear buds kept falling off until one time I accidentally dropped it in a puddle...

 

At 6:56 AM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

Well, you are a trusting man, Allan from Allan's World of Music, leaving your machine open for all the world.

I, for one, salute you.

 

At 10:15 AM, Blogger guero canadiense did sayeth:

And I find it interesting that you open a post on the Zune with a take on a song by a band that shares a name with an old hacker group...

 

At 10:17 AM, Blogger naedoo did sayeth:

haha, well I had no idea. But it is very interesting, get Alanis on the phone!

 

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