|Average Customer Review: ( 630 customer reviews )
Write an online review and share your thoughts with other customers.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
891 of 963 found the following review helpful:
Outstanding. Nov 13, 2007
By L. Gonzalez
I've owned 5 different kinds of iPods, as well as the original Zune, and I must say, that this product is by far the best of the group. I spent the day trying to return my iPod Classic (80GB) so that I could get my hands on one of these---and I had to look just about everywhere in town to find one.
Is this better than the iPod Classic? Undoubtedly. I can make a fair comparison, as I have been toying with the Classic for the last two weeks. I've had iPod Nanos (first and third generations), 3 iPod Videos (5G), and an iPod Classic (80GB). The iPod is a fine product line, but I had too many bad experiences with the 5G video to want to keep them. I heard that the Z80 came out so I went and bought that one instead.
I'm going to spend most of my time here discussing how the Zune 80 compares to its predecessor, the Zune 30, as well as the iPod line--as it has set the standard for mp3 players for the last few years.
Screen- The glass screen looks much better than the original Zune's plastic one. The 320X240 resolution looks great. It looks far better than the Classic's screen. You can turn it sideways to take full advantage of it while watching videos. The iPod Classic's screen can only be viewed from one direction, and it has for the most part remained the same since the fifth generation. The video quality is great. Although this is technically the same resolution as the ipod Classic, nano, and Zune 4 and 8, it still manages to look great because of its size and clarity. You will notice that the quality on the smaller Zune appears sharper, but that's only because there are more pixels per square inch on them, due to the smaller size. Still looks awesome. This screen is slightly larger than the 1G Zune, but overall it is still smaller in both thinness and height. The glass screen is far more durable than the plastic one, and after a few months of testing it now I can say that it does not scratch easily, if at all.
Build- This thing is built to last. It feels a lot denser and sturdier than the last year's model. The first generation Zune couldn't win a beauty contest by a long shot--but I think this one's a winner. Aluminum back reminds me of the iPod line, although it's much better because it is brushed metal. (Meaning you don't have to keep it in a glass case, and bring out gloves when you want to handle it, like you did with the iPods). The paint, believe it or not, is actually very difficult to scratch. I've put it in my pocket with my keys, and the screen nor the paint scratches. I wouldn't want purposefully subject it to such tests, but it happened, and it's still in pristine condition. I scratched the back of my iPod Classic the first day I got it because of the glossy metal back. Scratching the back of your iPod is inevitable. I really don't see a need for a case.
Zunepad- The iPod's scroll wheel was a nice piece of work when it first came out. The Zunepad is better. Bold statement? Maybe. But I can now navigate via touch controls in four different directions as opposed to two with the iPod. And it is very easy to do so. I was skeptical at first, but Microsoft nailed it. You can choose if you want to flick your fingers across the "squirqle" to play your music, or you can just press the buttons to navigate. Nothing against Apple, but the scrollwheel on the Classic wasn't nearly as sensitive as the 5th generation iPod video's. Aren't you supposed to make progress when you release new hardware? I had problems with my Classic's scrollwheel's sensitivity. I can definitely see myself navigating menus much faster using the Zunepad.
A few things that I've noticed: Zunepad doesn't work with gloves of any sort (most of the time). Not that big of a problem, but I have noticed something interesting. Even the analog buttons underneath the Zunepad do not work if you are wearing gloves. It must sense that your skin is actually touching it to work correctly. I found that rather odd. I get some response out of it, but it usually doesn't respond the way you want it to. This is a big deal for me, as it is getting cold. Taking off your gloves to change a song is a burden, although I still enjoy using it more than I did the scrollwheel (which worked with gloves.) I've tried cotton, leather, and suede. This sounds crazy, but it is my biggest gripe with the Zune 80.
Firmware- Not too much different from the original, aside from aesthetics. It just looks pretty. Oversized letters are nice to look at, in addition to some decent animations. You can set your own backgrounds, as opposed to having the iPod Classic automatically flowing album art in the back (I hated that). The "twist" interface is much easier to use than that of the Ipod. I'm pretty sure I can get to a song much faster than someone with an Ipod. It works similar to a spreadsheet, as you have artist, songs, albums etc. listed at the top, with the contents of the respective categories listed below. A simple f lick to the right or left immediately changes categories. Microsoft definitely wins in this department.
Radio- You'd have to pay for this if you bought an Ipod Classic. Although I don't use it, it is still nice to have.
Zune Software- I'll be honest, I've been using itunes for a few years now, and I hate it. When I bought the original Zune, I thought that escaping itunes would be a good thing. I was wrong. The original software was abysmal. BUT, the new software is a vast improvement. It's almost too simple. And it's also easy on the eyes. I may consider using this as my default player from now on---something that I would have never done with the original software. The reason why I got rid of my original Zune in favor of the iPod classic was the software. I was tired of using it. Now I have more reason to keep my Zune.
After using it for awhile, I have noticed a few quirks with this software, mainly that it seems to sync a small group of songs over and over again. I see this being fixed by Microsoft's next update. I've been using it for awhile now, and I am not entirely as optimistic about it as when I wrote this review. It is STILL superior to itunes, and definitely the original software, but they need to fix a few issues with it. Namely the syncing options. The software recognizes some of the videos in the mpeg 4 format, but not all. I am thinking that this might have been a problem with the conversion software (Xvid->mpeg4).
The sound quality, which is probably the most important part of this review, is great. One problem is that they removed the equalizer, so what you hear is what you get. That wasn't a smart move on Microsoft's part. I think it sounds louder than an iPod, but I'm not an audiophile by any means.
Premium earbuds. These are alot nicer than most other stock headphones. They're the in-ear type, and they will take some getting used to if you've never used them. Bass response is a plus. I tried them earlier and they are comparable to my more expensive Sony's.
DRM- I don't know alot about this category, so look at the comments that people have left at the end of this review. I don't use this type of content. I do understand that anything downloaded from itunes will not work on the Zune. So if your entire library was downloaded on itunes, don't get this MP3 player. It's their way of making sure you continue to buy their products, as well as preventing piracy.
Wireless sync. I really can't use this. I hear it works nicely though. I can't really imagine using it, so take this one as you will. I really don't see the big deal about this. If I'm syncing my music, I want my Zune to charge as well. Maybe this feature is for lazy people, but I don't see it as useful.
Drive usage. You can't put anything on here that doesn't run through the Zune software. In other words--You won't be using this as a portable hard drive, even though most of us will not fill it up with music. You can do whatever you please with an iPod. There ARE hacks online that require you to alter your registry available online. Google is your friend. Try it at your own risk.
Battery life- Okay, the battery life isn't too shabby when just playing mp3's. I went a weekend with reasonable use without having to recharge it (forgot usb chord in the car). Battery life with video isn't good at all, but I don't think it was too far off from that of the Classic iPod. I'd prefer the large screen and lesser battery life over that of the Classic any day.
I'm not a Micro$oft fanboy, contrary to what this review might look like. I've owned nothing but ipods before owning the 1G Zune. I must say that this seems to be the best one I've owned, and I don't regret returning my Classic.
It's easier to use, has a nicer screen, very generous capacity, great sound and video playback, a built in radio, and sleek design.
If the iPod Classic can earn four stars, this definitely gets five, as it is the superior mp3 player---by a longshot. It's not without its shortcomings, but they are forgivable, considering we've been under "ipod control" for the last few years.
That's about all I can think of. Hope this helps.
99 of 109 found the following review helpful:
Better than iPod Classic, but could be better Nov 13, 2007
By H. S. Jawanda
The rating is actually 4.5/5, but since Amazon doesn't allow fractions, I put down 4 stars.
[Disclaimer]I work for Microsoft. I think I have been objective in this review--you can draw your own conclusions.[/Disclaimer] Also know that I do not work in the division that makes the Zune, so I have no insider information.
Let's start with my likes and dislikes of the Zune 80:
* Beautiful, bright, large, glass (not plastic) screen. The size (3.2") is so much better for viewing videos and pictures.
* Size and weight (lighter than iPod Classic).
* Capacity (80 GB).
* Built-in Wi-Fi and associated wireless sync.
* UI (both of the device and the PC software).
* FM radio.
* Ability to rent music (allowing one to listen to whole songs before deciding whether to buy or not).
* Build quality.
* Customizable backgrounds.
* Wi-Fi sharing--if there aren't enough Zuners around you, this is not of much use.
* Simplification of the 5-point song rating scale to a 2-point (like/dislike) scale.
* None of the Zunes work as mass storage devices (portable hard drives)--every other player on the market has this ability, so why not the Zunes?
* Automatic playlists are no more.
Now for a more detailed review of some features...
SYNC-ING: USB OR WIRELESS?
Here's the deal: Over-The-Air (OTA, aka wireless) syncing is going to be slower that USB syncing, but more convenient. So use USB sync for bulk transfers (e.g., when you sync your Zune 80 for the first time ), and OTA sync for smaller, incremental transfers (e.g., nightly updates). To realize the usefulness of wireless syncing, consider this setup: keep the Zune dock connected to your Home Theater (HT) receiver in the living room, then when you put your Zune in the dock, the player gets charged, the music gets synced and you can play your Zune's music through your HT setup! I think the wireless sync is a very useful feature and finally MS is beginning to realize the potential of the on-board Wi-Fi (though more is possible).
MUSIC: RENT OR BUY?
Both. Renting music allows me to try out unlimited number of songs an unlimited number of times. Buying allows me to not worry about keeping up a subscription--I know that my favorite songs will always be with me. Renting also works well for "in" or "hip" music--this type of music typically gets overplayed and becomes boring before long. The subscription model allows me to fill up my Zune with the latest music for (say) a party, while keeping my options open for permanently acquiring some songs. The Zune Marketplace supports both models.
The ZunePad is a great combination of D-pad (Directional-pad) and a trackpad. It took me all of 30 seconds to get used to it. Scrolling through long lists of songs is a breeze and fun too ;-). You swipe up, down, left or right to navigate the Zune. A quick flick of your thumb will send a long list of songs scrolling in the intended direction, and a touch on the ZunePad will stop the scrolling (the scroll will come to a natural rest too). The whole action is very intuitive and works as expected--for example, the speed of list scrolling is proportional to the speed of your upward or downward swipe.
It is inevitable to compare any new entrant in the Digital Audio Player (DAP)/Personal Music Player (PMP)/MP3 Player market to the corresponding iPod--the Zune 80's natural competitor is the iPod Classic 80 GB. To compare the Zune 80 to any other device in the iPod family would be like comparing bananas and oranges ;-).
How the Zune 80 is better:
* Larger, better screen (screen size vital when watching video)
* Wi-Fi and associated wireless sync (possibility of new features via firmware updates)
* FM radio with RDBS display (a saving of approximately 50 bucks vs. iPod Classic)
* Sound quality
* The UI is far more visually pleasing, both on the computer and on the device
* Subscription-based access to entire Zune Marketplace song catalog
* Zune marketplace has a well-developed social aspect to it (not such a big draw for me personally, but others will like it more).
* ZunePad. Thumb motions on the ZunePad are simpler than on iPod's clickwheel (or so says my right thumb, still recuperating from a serious, though unrelated, injury).
How the iPod Classic is better:
* Mass storage device capability (aka portable hard disk)
* iTunes store has bigger song collection, and has videos too
* Cover Flow (while visually snazzy, CoverFlow isn't very useful for people like me who have mostly individual tracks, not albums).
1. Enable mass storage device mode/capability (aka portable hard drive functionality).
2. Use built-in Wi-Fi to enable direct download/purchase/rental of songs from/to the device (I hope this is already in the works).
3. Bring back automated playlists.
4. Let users choose 2-point or 5-point rating scale.
I will add more to the review as I keep using the device...
57 of 63 found the following review helpful:
Pleasant Surprise - goodbye iPod Dec 16, 2007
"Gadgets always fit"
There is no such thing as a perfect digital player - they ALL have some shortcomings. That being written, I am pleasantly surprised by the Zune 80 gb player. I have owned hard-drive based MP3 players since 2003 when I bought my first one. I was recently using the 5G 60gb iPod and it needed replacing so I start researching players again. After a great deal of research, I bought the Zune but didn't open it right away. I waited a few days. That was a mistake. For a few days, I just used the free Zune software. I have read some reviews that the software is terrible. I initally agreed but after learning it, I realized I reacted in haste. Sometimes it is a bigger challenge to 'unlearn' other product's software. That was my case. Now I like its simplicity. I would recommend some improvements to it though but it is fine in a general sense. The player is quite good. The sound of the music, to me, is better than my iPod. I did a direct comparision listening to the exact same songs with the same headphones on each device and that is how I drew my conclusion. I have read a review that reported a great deal of problems with synching and so forth. I have experienced none of those issues. No doubling of songs. I do see it run back through the list of everything but it isn't resynching everything. To me, it is checking the index of the Zune software's list of files to the index on the Zune looking for differences to know what to synch or ignore. Here is my list of Pros and Cons for the Zune 80.
*Better sounding music (even without equalizer - go figure)
*Choice to use click method and/or touch. If you aren't a huge fan of the iPod click-wheel, you will really appreciate the Zune. I love that change. The touch function is more natural. To scroll up, run your finger up on the touch pad. To scroll down, run your finger down. Or just click on the top/bottom/left/right of the touch pad to navigate. Again, it really is very natural to use.
*Extremely easy on the eyes. This is a pleasure to view. Easy to read.
*Friendly navigation. Again, unlearning other players is the biggest hurdle but worth getting to know the device. Once you do, you will really like this device.
*Larger viewing screen.
*Radio - with RDBS. Very nice feature.
*Supports Podcasts. I subscribed to X-Play's video game review podcast with no problems.
*Nicer headphones included. They come with headphones that have inserts to help find a better fit.
*The quick add playlist is very friendly to use. I didn't really like the iPod one mostly because I wasn't a huge fan of the clickwheel.
*Substantial feel. It handles like a quality effort was put into it.
*Battery life. Not long enough for me.
*Some software design improvements needed on the Zune device and the Zune software on the pc. I could list a set of improvements but I won't. They are more tweaks that I believe the development team could easily add. My field is software so I know I view things from a different perspective.
Overall: HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. I am glad I did not buy another iPod. I am excited about music again thanks to this player. I am actually looking forward to buying CD's and DRM-free music. And remember, there is no such thing as a perfect digital player. Keep an open mind when you are browsing for players. There are many good choices out there, not just one. Oh, and please don't give away music. Pay for it so the artist that you love can devote their creative talents to making even more music. (No - I don't work in the music industry in any way. I just want to at least support the artists that make the music I want to hear.)
31 of 33 found the following review helpful:
Zune 80gb, the best mp3 player out there! Five stars! Jan 09, 2008
By Tracy Marcinco
Watch Video Here: http://www.amazon.com/review/R357K8TL4R8Q4V This video is a basic overview of the Zune. You can see how it functions, and some of the great features. At the end there are pictures of the zune software and the zune marketplace. By Marina
31 of 34 found the following review helpful:
fantastic hardware, horrid software Aug 05, 2008
By Filip Galiza
Over 400 reviews already written here so I will try to keep my brief. I am a web developer so I am fairly good with computers, software and gadgets... just keep that in mind. Here is my take on the Zune:
1. beautiful - very slim and sexy piece of equipment and the red is a nice touch.
2. good headphones - these are ear in semi noise-cancelling headphones. They do their job quite well. The sound is clear, deep base and they look very nice and modern.
3. georgous screen - the huge screen definitely sets this apart from the ipod. When you fly a lot then having this monitor is a huge benefit. Solid display at a good size
4. quality sound - the sound is very good in all accoustic ranges.
5. FM Radio - I still listen to it. Hello NPR!
SOFTWARE - This is the puzzling point. Here we have a company that rewrote the book on usability with windows software, office software, internet software and so forth. Yet they give you an application that, although its intuitive in many ways, it acts at times like it has a mind of its own. Drag and drop is not a simple feature. At times you need second party software to prepare the mp3s to be recognized as belonging to the same album/folder/artist.
Let me reiterate, software is Very frustrating and it is the biggest stepping stone to getting this piece of equipment. I personally would recommend purchasing your Zune from a place that you can return it within a couple of weeks and giving the software a serious test drive. Try its audio syncing, podcast feature, video transfer and so forth. Even for someone like me who is comfortable with applications, I am stunned at how severly limited the application is.
Zune also isn't recognized as an external drive. Forget about using it to carry data from place to place. Hello, its 2008! Worst of all, you can't use windows explorer to drag and drop and manage stuff on your zune hd. This is perhaps my BIGGEST complain. You have to go through their semi-archaic software to manage your music and at times when it syncs, it will screw things up on your zunes HD; files will not belong to the correct artist, some will get deleted cause they no longer are on your PCs HD.
No Equalizer - To this day I havent found anything on how to adjust the sound...
Purchase this if you wanna give it a try. Its good but only buy it from a place that you can test drive it and return it. Spend LOTS of time initially learning the software. This is going to be the big challenge. Try every aspect of the application and see if you can live with it... C+ product. God I could have sworn that Microsoft had something to do with making good software?.. If Apple had FM and a big screen on their IPOD, they would have easily won my dollar.
See all 630 customer reviews on Amazon.com