Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Microsoft Zune 4GB Black - HSA-00001

The Microsoft Zune is a great concept that never really lived up to its promises. The second generation has fixed some of the old problems, like offering podcast support, wireless syncing with home computers and better PC software. However, in spite of the improvements it still doesn’t perform as well as the big boys in the flash MP3 crowd.

The Zune has a small screen, 1.8 inches, compared to many other players. The screen is still usable and looks good, though. The menu text is larger, so it’s easier to read, a nice touch because of the small screen size. The Zune does have built-in wireless technology that helps it sync with other Zunes and computers that are operating within a certain distance. And the music format compatibility is pretty good; it can only play protected music from the Zune Marketplace and isn’t compatible with Plays For Sure, but it can play unprotected AAC files. It doesn’t have much else besides that, though, which hurt its ranking considerably. Even though Microsoft offers the same help services that other companies do, somehow the tech support was dismal. It’s difficult to get responses through email and phone support send you in a circle of calling trees and human operators.

The Microsoft Zune is a good alternative to the iPod Nano, but it just doesn’t seem to live up to the standards set by many of the other flash MP3 players.

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