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A Hands-On Zune Review 279

Posted by Zonk
from the zunetastic dept.
jayintune writes "2old2play.com got the chance to sit down with Microsoft's new media player, the Zune, to give some comments and insight into the players User Interface, Video Playback, Music Sharing, as well as software and setup." From the article: "I had expected the player to be fairly heavy, but after holding the Zune in my hand it was clear that I was wrong. It is not as light as the latest video iPod, but compared to my fourth-generation iPod, the Zune was lighter. The top of the Zune had a clear glass layer while the exterior had a tactile feel to it, nothing like the hard metal and plastic of the iPod devices. The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it. I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down."
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A Hands-On Zune Review

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  • NDA? Goose? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:24PM (#16523489) Homepage Journal

    The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it. I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down.
    Laughing off the uncomfortable silence, I focused on the player and the user interface (UI). The interface is amazingly responsive to my actions.

    Um... Yeah. looks a news headlines, again. OK... maybe the author just having a little fun with the reader.

    Clicking on the "community" button allowed me to see the other two Zunes nearby. I decided to send them my community member a song. Browsed to my music folder, found to a song and, instead of selecting to play it, I chose to send it. Prompted with a list of Zune's nearby, I chose one and sent it. Watching the other Zune, the user was prompted to download and accepted the request. It took less than 20 seconds to send the whole song which included album art.

    Sounds lengthy, but if you're trying to chat up a hot prospect 20 seconds is plenty of time to break the ice.

    Upon a successful transfer, the music is wrapped with a digital rights management (DRM) layer which will give the user a three day or three-listen license. I don't know about many of our readers, but I can listen to a song over and over again. Three plays... please!

    DRM(!) huhhhhh HUUHHHHH huhhhhh HUUHHHHH Welcome to the dark side I wonder if there's something which allows you to add it to a wishlist to buy later if you decide you like it.

    Yes, it is a first-generation product but I really like the direction Microsoft is taking with the Zune.

    Clearly the reviewer is happy with DRM. Only one model, Hmm.. So when's the Zune Femto coming out?

    • Zune Meme Analysis (Score:5, Interesting)

      by broward (416376) <browardhorne@gmail.cCHICAGOom minus city> on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:32PM (#16523589) Homepage
      Microsoft's traditional marketing isn't working well.
      Gee? What other ploys can Microsoft try?

      Unfortunately, the mental bandwidth already belongs to iPod, it will be hard to dislodge them in favor of Zune.

      http://www.realmeme.com/roller/page/realmeme?entry =zune_meme_rerun [realmeme.com]
      • by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:49PM (#16523787) Homepage Journal

        Microsoft's traditional marketing isn't working well. Gee? What other ploys can Microsoft try?

        Unfortunately, the mental bandwidth already belongs to iPod, it will be hard to dislodge them in favor of Zune.

        They've got a big hurdle they'll have to clear, because anyone who already has an iPod and has purchased a considerable number of songs will not switch, because they'd have to buy the same songs again. No thanks. Zune will have to appeal to first time buyers and a lot of them will be asking the same question, "is it as good as an iPod?"

        • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:22PM (#16524063)
          because anyone who already has an iPod and has purchased a considerable number of songs will not switch, because they'd have to buy the same songs again.

                Don't forget that the entertainment industry is BUILT on selling people the same crap over and over again... this might just work. "Oh but it sounds so much better on my Zune..."
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by vertinox (846076)
            Don't forget that the entertainment industry is BUILT on selling people the same crap over and over again...

            True, but this is because of the habbits of the baby boomers were used to... There was no way for them to copy their vinyl to 8 track and then to CD.

            Secondly, there style of music kind of died a while back and since they have no new artists to be on the lookout for so they have incentive to buy that "super enhanced remaster" version of the Beatles for the 32nd time.

            Wheras the younger 80s/90s generatio
        • by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:28PM (#16524121)
          Not only that, but anyone who has purchased songs in Microsoft's PlaysForSure scheme have been FUCKED by Microsoft. It's incredible to me that there isn't a larger outcry in the press over this. Microsoft spent a couple of years badmouthing Apple's vertical model and praising their third-party licensing format, then suddenly turned around and abandoned it in favor of Apple's. If Apple released a new iPod with FairPlay 2.0 that didn't play any FairPlay 1.0 files, the torches and pitchforks would be out.
          • by cpeterso (19082) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:20PM (#16524515) Homepage
            MP3 is the only real "Plays For Sure" audio format.
          • by I'm Don Giovanni (598558) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @02:20AM (#16526187)
            Not only that, but anyone who has purchased songs in Microsoft's PlaysForSure scheme have been FUCKED by Microsoft. It's incredible to me that there isn't a larger outcry in the press over this.


            I don't understand your logic. How did anyone that buy PlaysForSure music get "FUCKED by Microsoft?" That would imply that those that bought PFS music would be better off in some way if Micrososft didn't come out with Zune, at all. But that's not the case.

            PlaysForSure still exists, and those that bought PFS music can still buy many PFS players. They won't buy Zunes, but how does that mean that they were "FUCKED by Microsoft"? They can buy still buy PFS players, just as they could before Zune. Only if PFS was being terminated, would they be "FUCKED".

            Also, most PFS users use the subscription model; the nice thing about that model is that you're free to switch services at any time without any loss in investment whatsoever.

            As for MS badmouthing Apple's lock-in model, then choosing it for themselves, they're admitting that Apple's model is more successful. Apple fanboys should be happy at being vindicated (but MS is still offering subscription as well as purchases, so they didn't copy Apple's model entirely.)
            • by countach (534280) on Saturday October 21, 2006 @07:25AM (#16527241)
              >PlaysForSure still exists, and those that bought PFS music can still buy many PFS players. They
              >won't buy Zunes, but how does that mean that they were "FUCKED by Microsoft"? They can buy still
              >buy PFS players, just as they could before Zune.

              Yes you can still buy PFS player... BUT FOR HOW LONG?? Analysts are predicting that Zune won't take iPod market share but it will take the share of non-iPod players. So MS is aiming to sink the PFS community with a new entrant.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by EvanED (569694)
          Zune will have to appeal to first time buyers and a lot of them will be asking the same question, "is it as good as an iPod?"

          My MP3 CD player (RioVolt SP250... old school) just bit the dust. Not sure what I'm gonna get in replacement. But *my* question would be "is it cheaper than an iPod?"

          (Actually I might get a player with a built in compactflash slot so I could move pictures from my camera to the hard drive.)
          • by zeno_2 (518291)
            The new prices on the ipods are actually pretty good i think, only 250 bucks for an 30gig ipod video. You can even get a small connector for it that has a usb port on the other side. Plug your camera in, and move your pictures to your ipod. Here [apple.com] is a link. Looking a bit further into that camera connector, there aren't very many camera's supported =(. BTW, what mp3 players have a cf slot on them?
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by prockcore (543967)
              The new prices on the ipods are actually pretty good i think, only 250 bucks for an 30gig ipod video


              Yes, but it's only $150 for a 20gig Zen Photo Sleek. Which is large enough for most people. I hate that Apple keeps dropping their lowest model in order to keep the price above $250. In 3 months, the 30 gig ipod will be history.
        • by wired_LAIN (974675) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:53PM (#16524719)
          I thought that Microsoft was providing all the songs that you bought on itunes for free? I remember reading that in a previous /. article.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by saleenS281 (859657)
          That sounds an awful lot like a monopoly. Refer yet again to the fact for some reason you see no problem with that when Apple does it, but if MS does they're the devil and should be sued to oblivion by the EU...
      • by WasterDave (20047)
        Unfortunately, the mental bandwidth already belongs to iPod, it will be hard to dislodge them in favor of Zune.

        Yes, but you could have said the same about "PlayStation" a few years ago. Sure, they've not won yet, but they're doing a fine job.

        Dave
        • Oh, don't worry - Sony is relying on that mental bandwidth to sell the PS3. Should it fail to live to hype, most people won't notice because most people are oblivious to hype and listen only to adverts and word-of-mouth.
          However, should word-of-mouth turn bad - as it already has amongst geeks - then that mental bandwidth will quickly be replaced by the words "Three-Sixty" and "Wii".
    • Re:NDA? Goose? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Gogo0 (877020) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:36PM (#16523643)
      Why does everyone talk about sharing music while you talk with some hot girl you met in a club/bar/wherever?
      When I meet a girl in a bar, unless it was the starting subject, talk about music is usually scraping near the bottom of the conversation barrel.
      Even if music is an important subject, what are the odds that said girl will have dumped her $300 Ipod for a Zune and will be able to recieve your music?
      Where do you meet people who want to trade music anyway!?

      Maybe I'm just weird, but when I go somewhere to meet girls, I dont even bring my mp3 player.
      • Re:NDA? Goose? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by ackthpt (218170) * on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:44PM (#16523737) Homepage Journal

        Maybe I'm just weird, but when I go somewhere to meet girls, I dont even bring my mp3 player.

        What is the most common vehicle for marketing? Even if it's far removed from reality... Come one, you know what it is.

      • Re:NDA? Goose? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by kfg (145172) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:51PM (#16523805)
        When I meet a girl in a bar, unless it was the starting subject, talk about music is usually scraping near the bottom of the conversation barrel.

        I meet girls in coffeehouses, although I don't call them girls. I call them musicians. Music is almost always at the top of the barrel as a conversation subject.

        Where do you meet people who want to trade music anyway!?

        See above. I'm not a music spectator. I'm a participant. Trading music is something musicians do, although this is often done through actual social interaction and not just "socially." It's sometimes called the aural tradition.

        Even if music is an important subject, what are the odds that said girl will have dumped her $300 Ipod for a Zune and will be able to recieve your music?

        Not a chance in fucking hell. Guess I'll just have to get her email address, huh?

        KFG
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by fatphil (181876)
          But music is different from music trading.

          about 2/3rds of the people I know and hang around with are musicians (just back from a gig by one of them, in fact), and yet music sharing almost never bubbles up above the horizon, even if music is the prime topic of conversation.

          FatPhil
      • Re:NDA? Goose? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Dunbal (464142) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:52PM (#16523811)
        Where do you meet people who want to trade music anyway!?

              High school.
        • Re:NDA? Goose? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AdmiralWeirdbeard (832807) on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:01PM (#16524377)
          Actually, I'd *hate* to be walking around any hipster enclave with one of these.
          I live on Capitol Hill in Seattle, and I can just see retarted hipster indie-rocker wannabe's walking around trying so upload their "band's" single on to any/everyone's Zune.
          It'll be the next venue for that annoying asshat who hangs around the bar w/ cheap PBR pushing cheaply made cd's onto passersby.
          If for no other reason, this should dissuade you from picking one up.
          Just my $0.02
      • by antek9 (305362) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:53PM (#16523815)
        Where do you meet people who want to trade music anyway!?
        Me? Why, on usenet. But, shhh, don't spread the word...
      • When I meet a girl in a bar, unless it was the starting subject, talk about music is usually scraping near the bottom of the conversation barrel. Even if music is an important subject, what are the odds that said girl will have dumped her $300 Ipod for a Zune and will be able to recieve your music?

        Right on, but it's worse than that. If you do ever meet some kind of rare recorded music groupie, is there any chance in hell they would be impressed by "sharing" a song three times? Like Jobs said, it's much

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by vought (160908)
        Why does everyone talk about sharing music while you talk with some hot girl you met in a club/bar/wherever?

        Because this is Slashdot, and people here only conceptualize meeting a girl in a bar.

        Pull out a Zune and ofer to share a tune with a real girl in a real bar, and I'd lay my neck on a block against you getting laid, much less her number or name.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by countach (534280)
        If you meet a girl, you want to make sure she is "PLAYS FOR SURE".
  • by NineNine (235196) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:27PM (#16523521)
    Let me go ahead and burn karma to get this out of the way:

    He's lying! He's a paid Microsoft shill! There's no way that it's as good as he says! It must be rigged! It's probably the new iPod and he thought it was a MS product! He's brainwashed by the DRM! It doesn't run Linux!
     
    ... am I forgetting anything?

  • Hold on just one sec. I need 5 minutes in the bathroom after reading that Slashdot story.

    Of course, I'm imagining that the submitter is, um, not your typical Slashdotter.
    • by jlowery (47102)
      And I'm betting the submitter would rather not imagine you're anything like Moe Howard.
  • Stroke It (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Gogo0 (877020) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:29PM (#16523543)
    I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down

    Anyone who makes a statement like that in a review has obviously made their mind up about the device (they WILL love it) before they even saw it. Though I may be wrong, I cant read the article at work to see if he panned it or not.

    I say this because I know that I will be stroking my Wii on Nov 19th. Dont try to hide your feelings from your readers if you are reviewing something, some people actually take reviews seriously.
    • by Soul-Burn666 (574119) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:56PM (#16523845) Journal
      I will be stroking my Wii on Nov 19th.

      Too much information.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:29PM (#16524133)
        I woke up this morning, went into the bathroom, and squirted a 'video' from my 'zune.' When I got to work, I squirted a 'song' from my 'zune' whilst in a crowded elevator. Those who received it said it "really stank."
  • by justinbach (1002761) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:30PM (#16523559) Homepage
    The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it. I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down."

    I haven't RTFA, but I'll be damned if I'm going to after that little choice excerpt--this stuff reads like B-rate pr0n narrative!
    • by justinbach (1002761) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:34PM (#16523617) Homepage
      Haha--ok, I lied, I went against my better judgment and RTFA after my first post, but my suspicions were confirmed--look!

      giving you a feeling of probing deeper into the device.

      What the hell, man?!? I mean, I love my portable music as much as the next guy, but i sure as hell am never going to make it THAT physical...
      • by Dunbal (464142)
        What the hell, man?!?

              Methinks 2old2play doesn't get out enough. And is in desperate need of female company, asap!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by misleb (129952)
      I haven't RTFA, but I'll be damned if I'm going to after that little choice excerpt--this stuff reads like B-rate pr0n narrative!


      You seem to imply that there is such thing as an A-rate pr0n narrative.

      -matthew
  • smells fishy (Score:5, Interesting)

    by JJ!x (1016247) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:33PM (#16523613)
    2 articles; hmm first ditch the Apple iPhone and than stroke the Zune .. something smells fishy here :-)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Not to mention the fact that 4th gen iPod [cnet.com] weighed 5.6 oz. and Zune [engadget.com] weighs 5.6 oz. Miraculously, Zune is lighter.
    • It's all about deflating the Apple stock price so people can buy before it picks up again after Macworld. Happened the same time last year (remember all the "iPod killer" articles?).
  • sheesh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:38PM (#16523665)
    I think he was told to put it down because it was about to squirt.
  • What if (Score:5, Funny)

    by bcmm (768152) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:41PM (#16523699)
    What If Microsoft Made A Media Player And No One Cared?
  • OEMs... (Score:5, Funny)

    by User 956 (568564) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:42PM (#16523705) Homepage
    The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it.

    Yeah, I remember reading somewhere that Microsoft contracted out to the RealDoll company for that part.
    • The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it.

      Yeah, I remember reading somewhere that Microsoft contracted out to the RealDoll company for that part.


      No the skin is made by Trojan (it's a scumbag).
  • by rminsk (831757) on Friday October 20, 2006 @07:58PM (#16523857)
    Zune sounds very much like ziyun which is a Hebrew curse word for f***.
    • Zune sounds very much like ziyun which is a Hebrew curse word for f***

      What would you say about the Friends of the Zoo [fotz.org.au]?

  • wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kurtis25 (909650) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:01PM (#16523887)
    I'll wait until my Zune automatically recieves audio and video ads from stores I enter. Nothing like walking into a Walmart to have my Zune download an add on it's own which then starts to play through my headphones. I can't wait.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Dunbal (464142)
      audio and video ads from stores I enter

            And I'll bet THOSE won't expire in 3 days...
  • That's pretty much the only function I can think of for something like this. The cheatastic options are limitless.
  • All Zune colors were present, brown, white (or off-white) and black. The brown design was by far my favorite color of the three.

    Brown is the new white apparently.
  • by Aqua OS X (458522) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:18PM (#16524023)
    Who wrote that article? Borat?

    [i]I decided to send them my community member a song. Browsed to my music folder, found to a song and, instead of selecting to play it, I chose to send it.[/i]

    That was to a worst two a sentences I ever look, I choose to read.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by phatvw (996438)
      Yagshamesh. I pray sexytime explosion with rubberized device. Is nice.
  • o/^ It's the new Zune review, coming right at you! o/^

    Sorry, just had a flashback...
  • by gelfling (6534) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:24PM (#16524081) Homepage Journal
    And the iPod is pretty guldurn brainless, aint it? I mean there are some weird things about the interface and how it works with Window, but all in all ok. If Zune is even the slightest bit harder to use or the slightest bit less seamless then I'm afraid most people will abandon it. Even with the iPod all those PDA like functions - I know anyone who uses them, it's too hard to use. But the real iPod media functions are very simple. If I had to relearn a new UI one that was even a little bit clunkier then I would quickly go back to my iPod.
  • by chill (34294) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:34PM (#16524171) Journal
    What's the big deal with cover art and screen savers on music players and phones? Do people honestly watch a screen saver for more than 5 seconds before sticking the gizmo in their pocket? Do people actually look at (or care about) cover art? I've always just picked a playlist, hit "play" and put the device back in my pocket. Cover art I view on my PC, but not the music player.

    Same goes for all the hype around the interface? I found the best interface is to create a few playlists on the PC -- which has a real screen and a keyboard -- and move them over. Then, all I really do is pick a playlist which maybe takes 5 seconds in almost any interface. The only other controls I use are volume and stop.

    Do people actually spend that much time fucking around with a music player? Isn't is supposed to like, play music? Or is it a form of entertainment unto itself?

  • by thedbp (443047) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:35PM (#16524175)
    The quote in the summary sounds like the beginning of those first-person porn stories you find in Hustler.

    Welll, not necessarily YOU, the reader, but a generalized statement that one could, if one were so inclined, find such lurid tales in the pages of magazines such as Hustler. But one is not necessarily you. Although, you may be one and not even know it.

    But that's besides the point. The quote in the summary sounds like the beginning of those first-person porn stories you find in Hustler.
  • by Quiet_Desperation (858215) on Friday October 20, 2006 @08:38PM (#16524213)

    I had expected the player to be fairly heavy, but after holding the Zune in my hand it was clear that I was wrong.

    I could sense it somehow, as if the pully-downey force that makes things fall and me very tired was not affecting the Zune as not much as I expected it not too.

    It is not as light as the latest video iPod, but compared to my fourth-generation iPod, the Zune was lighter.

    Ah ha, thought I. As I go back generations of media player, things get heavier. It was also a tad lighter than a 1952 Bendix steam powered black and white television console, thus adding weight (pun intended!!) to my theory. I plan to compare the Zune to a four ton heiroglyphic slab in Luxor, Egypt when I get the chance.

    The top of the Zune had a clear glass layer while the exterior had a tactile feel to it,

    Tactile. Definition: Perceptible to the sense of touch; tangible. So, yes, the Zune did in fact exist as far as my sensory apparatty and perceptualtudeness could determine.

    The 'skin' of the Zune was a 'rubberized' material that had a smooth seductive feel to it. I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down."

    He then called the police who took me downtown to a jail cell, and that's where I'm writing thie review now.

  • Ewww!! (Score:2, Funny)

    by chiseen (846098)
    2old2play?!! can't stop stroking the zune?!! Eww!!!
  • by kitzilla (266382) <paperfrog@ g m a i l.com> on Friday October 20, 2006 @09:37PM (#16524595) Homepage Journal

    I found myself unable to stop stroking the device ...

    Wireless pr0n on-the-go, huh?

  • I was never able to finish my list I started on about a decade ago, "Top Ten Microsoft Products to Stick in your Ass."

    MS Natural Keyboard, Like your favorite pair of Jeans. (rough quote of an actual ad)
    MS Back Office, for your Back Orifice

    I forget most of the rest, but with the new X-Box and Zune products, maybe it could be completed.

    Anyway, as for iPod vs. Zune, Everquest used to have near total domination of the MMORPG market, then World of Warcraft happened. EQ didn't have to lose many users to be eclips
  • by mixenmaxen (857917) <maxNO@SPAMmaximise.dk> on Friday October 20, 2006 @10:41PM (#16525069) Homepage
    I couldn't help but notice that the review was awfully positive, and that it, not even once, mentioned the Ipod which would be natural in a review of the Zune. It did, however, mention passport and the xbox - both Microsoft ventures. Thought it smelled fishy, so I did a whois search www.for2old2play.com, the site the review appeared on. And guess what: The domain is registered by Chicagobased SEO and webmarkting company Lytis.

    Here is a blurb from the frontpage of their website:
    "Lytis offers many different strategies to bring more traffic to your site"

    Yep, and they seem to be pretty good at it too ;-)

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