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I am an avid anti-apple product buyer, and jump at any opportunity to buy something "different." When Microsoft released the Zune, I bought one in minutes, in limited edition pink. At first, I was slightly frustrated with the Zune software, as not all computers are compatible with it and it definitely does not work on macs. But I came to understand it and still prefer it over iTunes. I was also not happy with its size and weight, not really small or comfortable enough for jeans' pockets, but it looks cool and fresh, so that was a good trade-off. Another thing I loved was the background changing feature, allowing me to add a nice wallpaper to the already sleek interface. But although it's flashy, soft to the touch, and fun to use, an Mp3 player with a hard drive has one major drawbacks: it's breakability. I broke the first one simply as it fell out of my car side door, and my second one was broken when standing up from a chair and falling off a table. When I say broken, I mean hard drive failure. The physical features were not easily damaged.
Hard drive failure in a Zune is not a cheap fix. It basically results in needing a new device. Moreover, I've heard of people with Zunes suffering a hard drive crash without dropping or injuring the zune at all. BEWARE! If you're an active person and will bring the Zune with you traveling, running, or anywhere at all, it is easy to break.
That said, the 16GB and 8GB versions have no disk memory, and are much more versatile. I love many things about Zune and am a happy owner of the 8GB machine. Even though the backlight sometimes fails...(it's 5 years old!!) yeah, I still love it.
I recently purchased a Zune, and I love it. The 30 gb memory is plenty for all of my songs and videos. The size and feel of the unit is solid, which lets me feel like it wont break when I'm on the move.
The zune has a very large screen that is easy to read. Everything is controlled with the dial and the button. The menu is very straight forward. You have options to choose from like whether you want to listen to music, view pictures, watch videos, browse the marketplace, or set up your options. It's not very complicated, so in the matter of minutes, you will have the feel of your zune.
Included in the package was a special USB cable to connect to your computer. The zune has a special input port, so you can't just use and standard usb-usb cable.
While this MP3 player is on the heavy side, it is very durable. The plastic casing seems to be thick and sturdy.
My favorite part of the unit is the video display. The videos look crystal clear on the screen, and I'm very impressed.
The battery life is pretty good when you're playing music, but uses a little more power for the videos. I could easily get through the day without needing to recharge, but I'm not sure if I could go two.
Overall, this is an awesome MP3 player. I would suggest it to anyone looking to go mobile with a large amount of songs and videos!
I got my Zune 30GB second hand back in February for about £80 off eBay and i was very happy with it, it was great to be able to store all my music on one device, the Zune 30 is built like a brick and is quite but i like the look of it and feel of the button and i also very much like the fact that it has a ZIP hard drive inside and not flash memory.
The Zune software and firmware
The Zune comes with its own software which you use to sync your music to your player and it's a great peace of software it looks lovely and is nice and simple to use and so is the firmware it's very clear to the user and is laid out very well.
The device has five buttons in a circle up, down left and right and select they work fine but it's not the best navigation system that I've used but it does the job , the screen is good and has a hard plastic over that can take a beating and is overall a very robust mp3 player. But not without its problems, last month the hard drive started to fail and I've since had to replace it costing me £26 and everything worked fine again for a week but now the headphone jack is playing up and does not play sound intro the right ear unless i push down hard on it, it might be due to be when i took it apart but pretty sure it's not so I'm going to try some fixes that people at mentioned online. But when you consider that it's a second hard device and three years old it's not done to badly and I'm not going to give up on it yet and will try to resolve the headphone jack problem. I would recommend holding out until the Zune HD comes out which looks very good indeed.
With Apple dominating the market of MP3 players, it is hard for any other competing device to get a foothold especially in the UK. This is the case with Microsoft's offering to the market, the Zune.
Somewhat of a rival to the Ipod, the Zune has been going steady in the US but has never and probably never will be formally released in the UK. Despite this, many people (including myself) decided to ship one of these in from the states due to their impressive features. Firstly, in comparison to the Ipod, the Zune is a little bulky however, this makes it so much more durable than the flimsy Ipod. Secondly, the screen is much larger than an Ipod meaning video playback looks far better in comparison. Another feature of the video playback is that unlike the iPod, the Zune rotates the video image so that you view it in Landscape not portrait. This both improves the quality of your viewing and does not leave you squinting at the screen like the Ipod often does. Further to this, unlike the Ipod, the Zune has an in-built radio option meaning it is also a portable radio player as well as an MP4/MP3.
The most impressive feature of the Zune is the Zune Marketplace. This is somewhat like iTunes allowing you to purchase tracks and albums however the most notable feature of this is within the Zune device itself. You have a friend who also has a Zune. You have a new track or album you think they might like. Through wireless association built into the Zune, you can send the track to your friend allowing them a certain amount of free listens to the track. Me and my friends often found ourselves doing this with a number of new songs that we found during our time at 6th Form. In terms of the software that comes with it, the Zune far surpasses the iTunes. Okay, so it doesn't have things such as coverflow however it is brighter, less drab and easier to use.
There are however, some drawbacks to the Zune. Firstly, there is no click-wheel like the iPod meaning you have to navigate through menus with a d-pad style control. Furthermore, the range of colours that the Zune is available in is rather drab. Finally, if you plan of switching from an iPod as I did, you will find that any files you have in .aiff format will not play on the Zune as it only play MP3 and WMA.
This is a great little player and is much cheaper than the rip-off Ipod for what you get. I'd seriously recommend getting one instead of an Ipod if you do not yet own an MP3 player.
The Zune 30 GB by Microsoft brings a feel of sophistication and style. In comparison to its leading competitors, it is quite light, only weighing 159 grams, which is good for a hard disk based player.
Unlike the majority of MP3 players, the player can't be used like a flash drive to transfer files, meaning that it is not possible to plug the player into computer A and use it to copy a file to computer B.
In addition to its main purpose of audio playback, the player also supports viewing pictures and watching video clips. The player allows you to share files with other Zunes wirelessly.
When using the supplied headphones, the sound quality was slightly above average, its in-ear headphones makes the bass rich. When the headphone cable is moved it creates a rather loud sound when it is moved against your clothing. Upon using an additional pair of headphones, the sound quality had a minute improvement. The max volume of the player is not restricted, therefore listening to music continuously at full volume will damage your hearing.
When transferring files to the player, you must use a software that needs to be downloaded. The installation itself took quite along time, and no warning message appeared. Other than that, the player is user friendly.
The battery stamina is quite good, on average providing about 14 hours of continuous audio playback.
In addition to the bog standard features, it also boost FM radio capabilities, and the ability to create a favourites list. However, it does not have a repeat all function and equalizer setting.
The player does not support WAV or copy right protected WMA file format. Its file transfer rate is quite fast taking on average 2.1 seconds to transfer 10 megabytes of audio files.
It can only be used with Window Vista and Window XP operating systems.
The Zune is a severely underrated product, particularly in the UK where it has yet to be even be officially released by Microsoft. A rival to the iPod, it has many features previously unseen in MP3 players, such as Wifi which you can use to 'sync' wirelessly with your computer, or indeed with the devices of other Zune owners - if you're lucky enough to find one.
As one would expect in a top-of-the-line media player, its audio and visual features are excellent, both in terms of quality and overall compatibility. Though the software can be frustrating to use (in the sense that it's overly simplified and thus difficult to tweak more advanced settings), its simple to move playlists, songs and movies to the Zune device.
Its unique looks are a strong selling point; rather than go for the aluminum and gloss black of most players on the market it aims for a more trendy and less futuristic look, the first generation models in particular looking very distinctive against similar MP3 devices - whether or not this is a good thing depends on the user. The interface of the Zune is one of its best features; as easy to use as it is attractive, browsing through the player is a joy.
The software (both for the PC and on the Zune itself) is constantly being updated, each version becoming more feature packed and easier to use than the one before it. A word of caution to Mac users, however - though Microsoft state compatibility is coming soon, at the time of writing it is difficult to sync the zune with the OSX software without using unofficial tweaks or software.
Battery life is excellent; after losing it in a desk I was pleased to see it still turned on (with 3/4 power) some weeks later. Out of the box, the only way of charging is through USB, though docking stations which charge through the old plug socket method are available.
In all, the Zune is certainly worthy of consideration when looking for an MP3 player, particularly if you're a Windows user.
Zune 30GB Brown - Purchased from Blue Proton for £114 Dec 07
Although bulkier then the iPod it was slightly smaller than my Creative Zen so it was a downsize for me! The main feature is the 3" crystal clear colour screen which looks great. There is a "wheel" style navigation underneath and a play/pause button and a back button. You have a lock switching mechanism on the top which is also where the headphone socket is located.
So far, its been a year, I have lost the lock switch twice, whether its my nails or not I don't know but I always ping it off, luckily I have found it, otherwise I would either have it permanently locked or permanently unlocked!
I have no protective cover for my Zune and I have no scratches on it at all, and it's been thrown around in my bag and my pocket for a year so it's VERY hard wearing.
Although bulky, I think it's quite attractive and I would never lose it, I have many friends who have lost their iPod Nanos 
Ease of use:
Uploading tracks: One thing it doesn't have is drag and drop functionality which I miss so much! You have to use the Zune's own software which is good to use but lacks the quickness and ease of drag and drop! Being Microsoft I would have thought you would be able to sync with Windows Media Player, but no.
The software sometimes seems to have issues with syncing the Zune but it's usually a matter of the unplug it, plug it in again!
The software automatically detects new music in locations on your computer you can set (i.e. my music folder) which is very useful, and then it's a matter of dragging and dropping it onto the "Zune Icon"
The Zune itself is very easy to use; the Play/Pause button essentially doubles as an on/off button. The menu display is clean and simple to understand. You choose music/video/pictures/radio/social.
Tracks are categorised in many ways: Song, Artist, Album, and Genre making it simple to choose what you are after. The player generates a Playlist which seems to be a combination of recently played songs and recently added songs. You can create your own playlists but I haven't found a way of doing it on the actual player you have to do it manually through the software.
Videos have been a bit of a nightmare for me, I have had to convert everything and have had to lower the quality A LOT because otherwise it takes forever to upload to the Zune.
For Reference the Zune accepts:
I have read that the Zune doesn't accept iTunes tracks, I haven't tried myself though.
This is just so people in the UK know that the Zune Social which allows you to share tracks etc with other Zune users around your area is not active in the UK and as far as I know there are no plans as of yet to release it here 
Even with its few floors I really get on well with the Zune, it has a very long battery life (8-10hours) and I find it very easy and intuitive to use. It is very robust and feels very solid.
The Zune accepts a wide berth of music formats and there are many converters available if needed. The uploading software is again very simple to use and has a very comprehensive help section if needed.
It may be worth noting that the Zune does not come with a mains charger only a USB cable. I purchased a compatible charger on eBay which did the job. But it may be worth noting if you are out on the road with no computer and your battery dies you are going to be stuck! (This is from experience)
The zune has done much more than i expected when i first ordered it. At first i found Zune marketplace to not have the selection of similar products. But over time it has grown and i eventually got the zune pass which is a wonderful thing. For only 15$ a month i can listen to about any song i want which i believe is better than paying 99 cents for each and every song. But one of the best features that i just found out about was that you can put games and applications on your zune for free. With a quick google search you will find websites that have these games and instructions of how to put them on your zune. I have such games such as pac-man and texas hold em. But there are some cons to the zune it can get pretty bulky at times just because of its sheer size, but also when playing games or watching videos i have found that the battery just dies way to fast to really enjoy the movie. But overall i would say that the zune has been a favorite purchase of mine and highly recommend it to all my friends and family.
I have owned this products for a few months now and it has been the best mp3 players i have ever used. Its firmware allows easy transitions between songs and videos as well as proiding supurb sound and vision. Also for £120 it was great value. Although i did have to by an imported one due to Mircrosofts shortsightedness when not releasing it worldwide. On top of this a few weeks ago the firmware was updated to give it most of the features of the newer zunes, meaning that i can sync it over my wireless network without connecting it to the computer ,another great feature.
My main concern with the product is the fact that it can not be used as a portable hard drive as most other mp3 players can including its main rival the ipod. It was also an inconveniance having to buy an imported one however this isnt a major problem as many ebay sellers already have stocks imported.
My final note on the product is its durability having dropped it down stairs and into a glass of water(dont ask how) and it still works as it did on day one. All this without a case.
Ok everyone who expects a 3000 words expert review please click on this link http://reviews.cnet.com/mp3-players/zune-30gb-black/4505-6490_7-32068976.html
This is the longest, best and most detailed review of the zune 30gb available. I did not copy it cause I thought that this would be wrong and I won't paraphrase it (I would achieve around 2500 words). This might have been the chance to get a crown or win the monthly competition but I hate cheating (myself).
So now I gonna describe the player.
The Zune created by Microsoft and published in 2006 is now a year old and has some brothers the new zunes 4, 8 and 80 (numbers indicate GB - storage). The first zune originally came out in three colours white, black and brown (brown?? yes!! and this colour was the seller number one whether you believe or not) later two more colours joined the group - pink and red. And some special editions such as the halo3 edition.
The zune is compared to other players quite big and chunky. Compared to the 80GB ipod it is not only bigger but also heavier and thicker. And features one of its biggest assets - huge 3" screen. Some people might not be impressed because they don't see the reason for watching video on a diplay of that size. Other love to show off.
More features which the player offers are - well palying music is an obvious one, playing videos, inbuilt FM radio and wireless capabilities. Wireless was the major diferentiation aspect from other players, however I think it was rather useless. The owner could share his music with friends, family or anyone having a zune. Very nice - innovative. BUT the song could be only held for either three days or three plays. Plus not many people owned the zune - so there was noone to share with.
The software for the zunes was horrible - basically a bugged copie of windows media player. I will not spend my time describing it in detail because there is a new fantastic software for the zunes which was released in November 2007 and was design from the scretch.
Offering only a few assessories the zunes were also seen as inferior. The marketplace (like itunes) - as it was new - did not offer that much choice/music (has also improved now, still growing)
And while earning a lot of bad reputation and people thought that Microsoft floped. It still reached the company's objective of reaching (i think it was) a million sales until summer 07.
If you now think: what the hell is a zune I have never heared about it. This might be due to the fact that they are only available in the USA and will shortly enter Canadas Market. The launch in europe is also still unforseen.
Since the launch in 2006 a lot has changed and the new products are really nice and much better than their little brother, who is not really in the shadows because the old player benefits from the new software and firmware updates. Praise Microsoft for giving the old player everything the new one has (almost, hardware and design are still the old ones). Apple never did that - they just forced the customer to buy a new player in order to be able to benefit from new features and the new firmware.
The zunes have now earned plenty of very good reviews since november 07 and were number two on the most sold gadget list during the black friday in america. (black firday is a major discount day, electronics can be bought for really cheap/ number one was nintendo wii).
If dooyoo will add one of the new zunes to their catalogue I will write a further review which will show you the improvement.
Still interested in the 3000 words review because I did not give enough details (irony is sweet), visit the link above. By the way I am neither Zune fan nor Ipod fan.