September 16, 2006

Two days...

...after Apple announced the new iPods, Microsoft sent their new mp3 player ZUNE to several bloguers to be reviewed. Here are some of their conclusions:

Salient features

  • 3" Color Screen (compared to 2.5" for iPod) with shifting orientation for music (vertical) and picture (horizontal) playback;

  • Wi-Fi Wireless Technology, allowing Zune devices in the same room (distance specs TBA) to beam songs between units, to be used for the lesser of three days or three plays. Zunes can also beam pictures, but without limitations;

  • FM Radio reception;

  • Personalization of screen and wallpaper with user-provided images and pictures.

Limits and Weaknesses
  • Dearth of options. True, it's the first generation, but having only one model ready for launch, while Apple diversifies to ever-increasing, niche options on every level is not gonna be pretty;

  • Limited use of best feature. Zune brings the advance of community sharing, allowing devices to wirelessly share songs. But this won't mean much when you're the only early-adopter in the room;

  • Weight. From a crude assessment, the 30GB Zune is roughly the same weight as a 60GB iPod with a plastic cover;

  • Loss of iTunes-purchased music. Microsoft has no plans to provide for the conversion of protected/DRM iTunes songs;

  • No compatibility with Macs.

The blog Stereogum offers a complete review of the player.

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