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I decided to purchase a Zune because I was fed up with people always talking about how great their Ipod was. I wanted something different and when I spotted the Zune and saw how it had better features than the Ipod I decided to give it a go.
Memory wise the Ipod and Zune were exactly the same both with 120GB of memory so this was no different, what was attractive in regards to this was that the Zune was significantly cheaper. From what I remember there was between £50-£100 difference. Certainly not an amount of money to be sniffed at, and that money is certainly better off in my pocket than in Apple's.
The Zune comes with a built in FM radio, which you have to pay separately if you get an Ipod. This is a major selling point between the two and certainly helped swings things in the Zune's favour. Also in the Zune's favour is the software itself. There is much more scope to personalize all aspects of the menu's and screens compared to the plain white screens and at times complicated menu systems. The software to be installed on your PC also is less restrictive than that of Itunes. Itunes is a system resource hog and slows down your PC while it's running, there are no such problems with the Zune software and it runs without causing your PC to slow down.
In the software itself the feature to automatically find information about your music and add album art is nearly always correct, contrast this to Itunes' which can be very hit and miss. The process of syncing your music to the Zune is very straightforward and does so automatically when plugged in, alternatively you can do it wirelessly since the Zune can connect to your home network. Another neat feature is the ability to share songs with other nearby Zune users. You can send them a song which will be stored on their library and they can listen to it three times before it expires. Quite useful for letting your friends and family here some great new music.
Obviously the Zune is slightly bigger than the Ipod Classic and while many may see this as a hindrance I believe it's quite useful as it makes it easier to watch any films or view any pictures that are on your Zune.
Personally I love my Zune, it is the best mp3 player I've ever owned and I'm glad that later this year the Zune will finally make it's debut in the UK.
I have been using Microsoft Zune since they first appeared in the US market, as an alternative to the Apple iPod. Having owned both MP3's I would choose the Zune again.
ZUNE vs iPod:
1. Unit Size
iPod wins this one, but the Zune is not huge, it fits in your pocket and is not too heavy, I find it quite reassuring in an old school kind of way!
2. Screen Size
Yes, the upside of the Zune being larger is the superior screen size! It makes viewing photos and videos much more enjoyable than on the iPod.
3. Ease of use (unit)
The Zune is extremely easy to use and navigate through, featuring a large central button that is similar to the iPod's scrolling system and a simple menu.
4. Ease of use (software)
Here is where I feel the Zune really overtakes Apple. The software is very clean and simple - yet you can keep drilling down on information to edit it to suit your preferences in a more detailed manner. The automatic album info update works every time, unlike my experience of iTunes. It is easy to sync to the player, and all the info transfers correctly.
You are not limited to the number of computers/libraries you may have - your entire library can be copied to another computer without deleting the original one. This is great, if, like me, you store your music on both your work and home computer.
So, if you do not want to be on the Apple bandwagon, this a very good MP3 player that is of an overall similar quality.
If you can put up with the larger size (which is its biggest handicap), you're on to a good one!