First Look At The Zune

Nov 10th, 2006 | By | Category: iPods & Portable Media Players

The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg has an early hands-on look at the Zune, and finds many of the same concerns that Microsoft’s Zune announcements raised.
According to Mossberg, the Zune has too many compromises and missing features to be as good a choice as the iPod for most users.

“The hardware feels rushed and incomplete. It is 60% larger and 17% heavier than the comparable iPod. It has much worse battery life for music than the iPod or than Microsoft claims — at least two hours less than the iPods, in my tests. Despite the larger screen, many album covers look worse than they do on the iPod. And you can’t share music libraries between computers like you can with iTunes,” notes Mossberg.

In addition, Mossberg noted that the Zune music store had fewer songs and that Microsoft’s pricing system was cumbersome.

“Zunes online store offers far fewer songs, just over two million, compared with 3.5 million for the iTunes store. In fact, as of this writing, songs from one of the big labels, Universal, were missing from Zune Marketplace, though Microsoft says it is confident it will have all the major labels when it launches Zune on Tuesday. Also, despite the players capability, Zune Marketplace offers none of the TV shows, movies or music videos that iTunes does, and has no audiobooks or podcasts.”

“Even worse, to buy even a single 99-cent song from the Zune store, you have to purchase blocks of “points” from Microsoft, in increments of at least $5. You cant just click and have the 99 cents deducted from a credit card, as you can with iTunes. You must first add points to your account, then buy songs with these points. So, even if you are buying only one song, you have to allow Microsoft, one of the worlds richest companies, to hold on to at least $4.01 of your money until you buy another. And the point system is deceptive. Songs are priced at 79 points, which some people might think means 79 cents. But 79 points actually cost 99 cents.”


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