Booooooom gets a Zuuuuuuune.

The traffic on the site continues to climb, so a giant thank you to all of you who are spreading the word! Business is boooooooming! This could be why a box arrived at my doorstep the other day containing a brand-spanking new Zune. Apparently 300 bloggers across Canada are receiving these 8GB flash Zunes and Microsoft is hoping for some good old fashion word-of-mouth text-on-blog advertising. As I opened the box I said a little prayer for the Zune: “Please God, let the Zune be a decent product because I am going to be blatantly honest about it, and if it’s bad… this review could get ugly.”

Now I wouldn’t say that I am “Pro-Apple” and “Anti-Microsoft”, I am just “Pro-quality-products” and “Anti-crappy-junk”. I also don’t break the bank when it isn’t necessary. Case in point, Apple was selling a sexy widescreen cinema display for $700 and I wanted it. After a bit of research I discovered that Dell’s Ultrasharp monitor was the exact same LCD (just packaged differently) at half the price. I bought the Ultrasharp and I’m loving it. Dell’s customer service is also 1,000 times better than Apple’s, but I digress…

There were two other packages included with the Zune, one contained this little USB AC adapter,

and the other contained these premium headphones! This is exactly the kind of accessory I rarely spend my money on, so the idea that my ears would be flying first-class for a change was a bit exciting.

+2 Bonus points for Microsoft, they took a chance on brown, hot pink, and orange, and it worked.

My white balance is a bit off here, that “red’ is actually pink. Interchangeable covers for the standard headphones…

…the standard headphones that I’ll be throwing in the garbage because I’m flying first-class remember? Booyah, I will call the left one Will Smith and the right one Martin Lawrence (you do the math!)

Things were going so well until I had to download the Zune software to my PC. I was stuck staring at this screen for roughly 20 minutes. Eventually a percentage appeared on the screen and when it finally got to 100% guess what it did? Yes! It started over at 1%, of course! I was about ready to leave some “musical marks” on someone’s face.

Once I got the software loaded it was pretty much smooth sailing. I had to christen my Zune with one of the greatest albums of all time and was happy to find that the “rip” function works just as quick as it does in iTunes on my mac.

I was told that the Zune Social network feature enables you to locate your friends (or anyone else sharing music) via wifi and allows you to send music to each other. That’s what I was told. I have yet to locate a single soul on the Zune Social network to verify this information (hopefully due to the fact that Canada only just got these little guys).

Here I pretended to watch a clip of a breakdancer (clip was pre-loaded on the Zune) for your benefit. The video playback was quite good, although anything’s gonna look good on a screen the size of a calculator watch. Forget all these home theatre systems – you want high definition? Buy a small ass tv and sit as far away from it as possible.


The Zune is certainly not better than the iPod, however I don’t think it’s any worse. The size and weight is nearly identical to the iPod Nano, the touch pad is similar to the wheel, and functions like adding a song to a quicklist are all there.

The one glaring error, and this is a big one, is that the Zune will only work on a PC. Why? Why do this? Why? You already have to convince PC-users that this product is a better choice than the Apple alternative and now you totally eliminate the possibility of having anyone on a Mac even consider purchasing a Zune. If the Zune was vastly different from the iPod I could understand shutting out Apple-users in an attempt to be exclusive but the products are so similar that no one is going to care. It’s like if you invented the drinking straw and then a few years later I invented the “suck-tube”, and the “suck-tube” was extremely similar to the drinking straw but only for Japanese people. 1. YOU WOULDN’T CARE AT ALL! 2. Most Japanese people would continue using the drinking straw! 3. My business would fail!

The Zune is a well-designed identical-twin homage to the iPod. Nothing mind-blowingly awesome but it does everything you’d expect it to do. PC-users, you will be satisfied with this purchase. Mac-users, you can continue to sleep soundly. 5 O’s out of a possible 7.

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