Sunday, December 16, 2007

Zune 80

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We all know that my posts on this blog have been erratic to say the least but also you need to realize that I am at the height of my game and does that mean perhaps that I do not have access to a high speed, direct connection 24/7 because I am a DT? Well most would be able to say yes to this question but I am in the minority because of my local. Anywho, we also know that I loved and owned a Zune 30 since it came out in mid November 06. Recently, a Zune80 showed up on the doorstop which was actually quite a nice surprise. Having played with it for nearly 3 weeks, it is now time to release a bit of a review to my sporadic readers:


18 Words: Black, subtle, sleek, urban, and well some 14 more. The design is far from perfect but the strong aluminum backing placed next to the flat black gives it an heir that is by far different then most other DAP's yet allows the player to retain an air of quality which is a must these days with people thinking Ipod's are the ultimate end all of DAP design which is complete and utter rubbish.


Working so close to a residence is especially nice these days with gas prices even though I might own a car which could easily be called anorexic. So one usually finds themselves hiking between work and sleep which means that music definitely needs to occur on both sides of the trip. Navigating the menus is simple with the tactile / touch z-pad (I will never call it a squirqle). It is pretty much like scrolling through music with a bicycle wheel, you spin it up and it simply flows through your artists/albums/etc and you stop it with a simple click. If that does not touch your fancy then you can simple use the tactile buttons to get there, much like the Zune30. This appears to be the best marriage between touch and tactile that has come out of the warring DAP companies so far.


There has been a lot of caustic remarks all over the place about the software and how it messes up people's collections and seems to do a fairly good job at pulling people's hair out when organizing tracks. This of course would not happen if we would take care of our music and tag it at the mp3 itself and not use itunes or some other program besides foobar. Besides this small point, the software is incredibly easy and intuitive for any user. The only problem is that one never knows when the files were added or if they were recently added. The old software had a recently added tab for both the software and the device which made tracking songs very easily as well as fixing them along the way.


Yes!!! They sort of did something right by taking away the three day rule from the three play / three day problem but they still left it with a DRM hamper. Of course, most of the stuff I receive from other zune's are complete rubbish but I am sure some of us trade good songs...while other then myself really. This feature, although probably highly unused is still a trump card: see a zune, connect, hey I bet you would like this band, they are really cool and worth your musical time and money. With the new software they also gave it the ability to wire-lessly sync music from a computer to the device. This feature has not been tested because I live in the boondocks with no wireless network needed but I doubt I would use it since DAP's music collection needs to stay as clean and simple as the computer collection. I am sure the transfer keeps the items the same but I am paranoid...enough said? Again, not having wireless connectivity or the need to set up a network, I do not use it but if I did I definitely would for updating podcasts on the fly.


The player itself is a huge step up from the predecessor however, if I had not been given one I would have waited a couple of more months for the to release third party items like cases/docks/speakers. In addition I felt like the touchpad was somewhat dim when I first started but either I learned or it softened up and now I can fly with the little thing. The main item that distinguishes the Zune80 over the Ipod then? Well there you have your answer Mr. is not an Ipod and never will be. If you want an item that has been really the same for three iterations then sure go for an Ipod Classic (The touch is in it's own league and anyone who uses it to compare against the Zune80 is also a bit dim) but if you want something refreshing, fun, different, black, freakishly well made and string, and customizable then the Zune is yours.