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Thread: Microsoft Zune - The media player alternative to Apple's iPod

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Microsoft Zune - The media player alternative to Apple's iPod

    Microsoft Zune

    Introduction :(the device)
    With the "Zune" Microsoft tries to defy Apple, iPod family, the market for mobile music player, which dominates. After the Zune's initial release, only one version with 30 GB hard drive in the U.S. is first started, then a slightly revised edition with 80-GB hard disk and a compact player with 4 GB or 8 GB flash memory. To synchronize with its own software is used. Since the Zune has not sold particularly well so far in, there is still no publicly announced plans for a launch in other parts of the world. Microsoft announced only that the Zune will be available spring in other parts of the world. The low dollar makes the direct import from the U.S., however interesting, because the Zune even for express shipping and customs and VAT is hardly more expensive than high costs with an iPod nano. Since the Zune is the USB port charged over, you need not worry about it do, how to battery on 220V mains charging gets the integrated. A charger is not supplied already. Who needs it necessarily "get Zune" accessories.

    It can be updated via firmware update, however, and then dominated almost all functions of the new devices. The second generation Zune, 80 GB hard drive costs about $ 250. The flash Zunes with 4 GB and 8 GB cost about $ 150 or $ 180. For the test came a Zune 8 GB of memory used.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Microsoft Zune - The media player alternative to Apple's iPod

    Features & Functions :
    The Zune player is all because of their interesting features, Apple's iPods do not offer on his part to:

    - FM radio: The built-in radio receiver receives the Zune FM radio stations in stereo. Radio stations with RDS shows the name display on the Zune with. The Zune also offers a channel memory. Recording of radio broadcasts is not possible.

    - WLAN 802.11 b / g: With the integrated wireless module, the Zune can wirelessly sync with a PC. It supports WEP, WPA and WPA2 encryption. Zuner between two players, music can be transferred directly. However, Microsoft provides them with a DRM protection to a maximum of three times to play the title transferred in this way allows. Of course Zune can also synchronize using a USB cable and is used by the Xbox 360 as a media player also recognized.

    - Audio formats supported: AAC (without DRM), MP3, WMA (including Microsoft DRM). All relevant compression formats supported by Zune. From the iTunes Music Store can only AAC files without Apple's DRM the "Zune" to play. Paradox: while the Zune uses a different DRM system than that of Windows Media Player that most online stores with WMA files use some. Therefore, allow for "Playsforsure" devices intended DRM-protected WMA files to the Zune will not play. In our own "Zune Marketplace" Microsoft also offers some files without DRM in the MP3 format for music. The counterpart to Apple's iTunes can be outside the U.S. but with very roundabout way to use only as a Microsoft Live ID with U.S. residency and pay U.S. Xbox Live Points required.

    - Video formats: WMV, MPEG4/H.264. The firmware supports not only the playback of NTSC resolution of 720 x 480 pixels at 30 frames per second but PAL video with 720 x 576 pixels and 25 frames per second.

    Software Installation :
    While Microsoft in recent years has involved itself, from MP3 players through the operating system as easy as possible to support the design, the group performs with the "Zune" a break: For like an iPod is not without iTunes, the Zune also needs necessarily his own "Zune" software for synchronization of music. The Zune is not recognized as an MTP device but can install the Zune software will be filled with music by the driver only. Although the Zune already a demo music and video choice is available, the installation must be activated on first and receives (if any) directly a firmware update. Currently, the software is at the level of version 2.3. The cable connection, the special USB cable made to be about only because Microsoft no standard device USB mini-jack but a dedicated port used most.

    The software is not included but can be downloaded from the Internet must. This should not be the software under but directly the complete package "zunepackage.exe from the Microsoft website to download and install. When you install the Zune software shows picky. It can be true now, even without trickery on a computer with a Windows XP and Vista install, the installation fails, however, if prerequisite software components, such as "XML Lite" are missing. It is also advisable to Zune without going through a hub directly to a PC to connect with, otherwise the synchronization can occur in problems if the player does not receive enough power.

    After installation is complete, you will first choose the folder from which the Zune is to be synchronized in the background and the software builds on its database. Existing databases, the Windows Media Player has been created for already, can not import. Way around the Zune is not recognized by Windows Media Player and can be just as much about the Windows Explorer's filled with. With operating systems other than Windows XP and Vista can not use the Zune anyway. With the "zAlternator" but it is now a small tool available, which is a synchronization of the Zune with Windows Media Player or iTunes allows.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Microsoft Zune - The media player alternative to Apple's iPod

    WLAN :
    About the Zune software, you can also wireless module to enable synchronization of the Zune. There shall be keys for WEP, WPA or WPA2, the one, the confirmation and review of the Zune will be transferred to. The Zune can only be set firmly on a WLAN. A search directly on the device to scan for available wireless networks is not possible. With WPA-encrypted wireless network Note: Links to such wireless networks can only be produced with keys to 62 characters instead of the maximum 63 possible characters are made of. The wireless sync is a button in the Settings menu to start. After the synchronization is not turned off the wireless but again must be turned off manually but. As long as you do not sync with the menu of the Zune goes out of, is the wireless connection and there are changes in the music library are immediately checked against the player. To synchronize a few files, synchronization is the Wi-Fi quite practical. For larger changes, however, should the much faster USB connection should be favored. Nevertheless, the wireless synchronization of one of the best features of the Zune, which running-in and complete the save. This possibility does not even offer the iPod equipped with wireless touch or iPhone from Apple. However, WLAN is the otherwise little used for other functions. The direct syncing of podcasts without a PC, listening to Internet radio or even a real Internet access can not use the Zune with. The only other feature is the music sharing with other Zune players via Wi-Fi, by the DRM protection but ensures that transferred songs can be heard only three times in this way.

    Radio :
    The integrated FM radio is quite simply designed, but shows RDS radio text identifiers and program-related information to even if they are broadcast by the transmitter. In large numbers, the frequency is displayed. Including scale display is located in the style of a classic analog radio. A settings allows the Zune to the FM reception on American, Japanese and European bands adjusted. Antenna acts as the headphone cable. In this way allows customary channels receive RDS information in a short time in the display appear the. For more distant stations but mostly the receiver is too weak. Moreover, let noisy channels do not manually switch to mono to reduce noise to. In addition to the automatic search steps is also a manual search at 1 kHz are possible. Even a transmitter memory is available. Stored channels can be extended by pressure cursor left / right retrieve.

    Operation :
    What be the iPod "click wheel" is the Zune to be "Zunepad. This pad in the form of a square with rounded corners and is allowed to touch by moving the thumb up, down, left and right to navigate the music library. Advantage over the iPod: It does not exactly circular movements must do. Those who are proficient in the operation of the iPod is likely, but still a little faster to navigate with the Zune. If that "Zunepad not" suits, it can also turn off completely. Anyway, it is also possible in parallel, the pad to control the Zune by clicking. The Zune itself is very light and can be easily operated with one hand. Fingerprints and dust like a magnet draws the display. The buttons and the display will also show slight gap to the housing to one, in the fast gathering dust.

    The fonts in the main menu of the Zune are pretty big in that act because of their fine character and not very concise. Due to the large fonts, there is also a large scrolling area for the main menu which fully displayed the display will not give up. The sub-menus, with their small fonts appear much more readable. While the original Zune with 30 GB hard drive with an equalizer still possessed, this was the second-generation models saved in. Many adjustment possibilities offered by the Zune also does not otherwise. He offers a simple but handling and when playing music virtually the same selection functions such as the iPod, including one directly on top of the list that appears "Shuffle" mode for random playback. Similar to the iPod, there is a rating function, which allows evaluation of songs.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Re: Microsoft Zune - The media player alternative to Apple's iPod

    Video :
    To view movies, music videos and video podcast is a mini-display of only 3.6 cm width available, which does not even exploit the full width of the housing. Videos are automatically displayed in widescreen, for which the device must then be rotated. The screen has good color and a sufficient contrast. The image is too small details from a short distance still good to know ourselves to be able to or read from the screen fonts. The display of Apple's iPod nano offers the ultimate in direct comparison more in size that is sufficient, normal broadcasts without restrictions to be able to look at TV. A positive feature is that the Zune is quite open to different resolutions and MPEG4 video files with 320 x 240 pixels, 640 x 480 pixels in PAL resolution of 720 x 576 pixels can also play.

    Sound quality :
    The Zune is to listen, it is designed for the U.S. market is the so far as it provides a much higher volume level and iPod at full volume already on the threshold of pain beyond. With the included earphones offer the Zune a very lively sound with barely existing bass and weak highs. Already using simple earphones but the Zune has been a fairly detailed treble and decent bass, the voices from the radio at least give a natural sound. The Koss Porta Pro lets the Zune Katie Melua's acoustic version of "Just Like Heaven" very detailed and physically sound without the highs still sharply to. In the bass range makes the Zune / Koss-rich combination for emphasis and this is less true deep bass though but by a voluminous but still somewhat tight bass on by the higher level tends not to distort it. Equalizer For lack of it in weaker headphones unfortunately no options for sound optimization.

    Conclusion :
    While Apple iPod hype and profits last year slowly and in small steps with its Mac market share from Microsoft in the skim can, dares the Redmond software giant with his Zune onto the terrain of the music player, which is currently dominated by Apple is. While the Zune comes in comparison to the iPod looks more simple, therefore, can ensure features such as wireless synchronization and RDS-compatible FM radio with points with which the most expensive iPods themselves are not equipped. Even with the audio and video playback supports the Zune more formats. Who at a reasonable video playback emphasizes, however, should go to the larger model with hard drive, as the display of the Zune with flash memory is too tiny to see anything good at all. Sonically, the Zune with the included earplugs little convincing, like the Apple player, but produces with additional headphones even without equalizer a very transparent sound.

    Good :
    - Compact size
    - Simple operation
    - Wireless synchronization
    - FM radio with RDS and Radio Text display

    Missing :
    - No Equalizer
    - WLAN with a few features
    - WPA key only possible with a maximum of 62 characters

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