10 Reasons The Zune Beats The iPod. Seriously.

Every time I show people my Zune, they’re intrigued. Perhaps they’ve never heard of it. Most don’t even realize it’s made by Microsoft. Few have ever seen one. So with the shopping holidays right around the corner, I wanted to make sure that everyone has the information they need to make the best decision. The Zune really is a better choice.

1) The Zune Pass

This is, by far, the single greatest reason to get in on the Zune Social. A song from the iTunes store costs 99 cents. Let’s call it $1 for simplicity. Get 15 songs this month? That’s gonna cost you $15. What if you could take that same $15, and instead have access to ALL the music? That’s Zune Pass.

The Zune Pass is a subscription service that allows you to download all of the music you want for a $15 monthly fee. And here’s the best part: each month, you get to pick 10 songs to keep FOREVER. In the iPod world, you can get 10 songs for $10, but you can’t download thousands of other songs for $5 more.

In case that’s not enough…you can use ONE Zune Pass to fill THREE Zunes. So you and your two children/siblings/parents/friends/roommates/strangers/colleagues can now get all the music you can listen to for $5 per person. You’ll just have to fight over the 10 songs you’re going to keep every month.

2) No Generational Gaps

Have an old iPod? I don’t mean the oldest one, I mean anything but the newest one. Ever crave some of the new features? Wouldn’t it be nice if Apple would update your iPod’s firmware to do some of the neat things the new ones do? That’s not going to happen. They’re counting on you buying the next one too. That’s how you sell millions of devices each year. Just get your customers to buy a new one. Again.

The first Zune to be released was the Zune 30. Today, there’s also 4GB, 8GB, 16GB, 80GB, and 120GB models. But the great part of each new release is that the firmware is updated on ALL of them. Including the Zune 30. It has all of the features of the newest Zunes, and will continue to be upgraded as new software features are added. There’s no such thing as an “old” Zune.

3) Price

For all of my comparisons here, I am using the prices at zune.net and ipod.com. Retailers will probably have sales, but the device’s site will be official record. I am also only comparing similar models by size. There is an iPod Shuffle in 1GB ($49) and 2GB ($69) sizes, and a Zune 4GB ($99) and 80GB ($229) that do not have comparable models. In every case, the Zune is cheaper, with more features, and is forward-compatible with new versions. The iPod costs more, does less, and does not receive upgrades in the future.


8GB Models
2,000 songs | 25 hours of video
Zune 8GB ($139)
iPod Nano 8GB ($149)


16GB Models
4,000 songs | 50 hours of video
Zune 16GB ($179)
iPod Nano 8GB ($199)


120GB Models
30,000 songs | 375 hours of video
Zune 120GB ($249)
iPod Classic ($249)

4) Wireless Sharing

Microsoft Zune - SharingSome call it “squirting,” because you can “squirt” a song over to someone else’s Zune. This feature not only allows you to detect other Zunes in your vicinity, but also send songs from your device to the other one. The recipient can then listen to the song 3 times over 3 days before it goes away. This same technology also allows you to play games (like Texas Hold’em) with the other Zuneheads in the room.

This feature also allows you to see what other people are listening to, so you can find recommendations for yourself in the Zune Marketplace.

5) Wireless Sync

All of these devices are still dependent on using a computer as well. You’ve got to plug your device into the computer with all of your music in order to get new songs, podcasts, audiobooks, etc. With the Zune though, as long as it is charging, it can get your new stuff. Leave it plugged in your car’s power outlet. Charge it in the kitchen. Set it in the dock near your stereo. It will use your wireless network to get everything you’ve added to your collection since the last time you synced up.

 

6) Wireless Shopping

Ever been sitting in a coffee shop with your device, and wish you could just get that song your friend told you about? Instead of writing it down, sending yourself an email, etc. and getting it later? The Zune Marketplace is completely available on your device when you’ve got access to a wireless network. And McDonald’s has made their internet access free to Zune users. So just look up that song, and add it to your cart. It’ll be on your device in a few seconds, ready to play.

In addition, you can go out and get the latest podcasts, audiobooks, etc. that you may not have had time to get and synchronize the last time you were home. This makes it even easier for you to get the content you want, when you want it.

 

7) Customization

Sure, engraving is all the rage. You’ve got this gorgeous, expensive device, surely you want to make sure everyone knows it’s yours. But text just isn’t enough. In addition to the cool face I put on mine, there’s about 75 other designs to choose from. But if you just want text, you can do that too. One other thing (that might only be important to me), the iPod has a shorter character limit than the Zune. So those of us with long names (or URLs) might not get them to fit. The ‘m’ in my .com wasn’t allowed.

8) FM Radio

Sometimes, we just want to listen to the radio. Or the TVs at the gym. Being able to tune in to the local radio stations is a big plus. Even with thousands of songs at our fingertips, sometimes they get mundane.

Now let’s say you hear a song that you don’t know. And it’s good. Just click the “Add to Cart” button, and you can have it. (And if you have the Zune Pass, you don’t even have to pay for it.) If you’re in a wireless hotspot, you can even download it right away! It takes the RDS data from the radio station and finds that track in the Zune Marketplace. Easy.

 

9) Xbox 360 Compatibility

One of my favorite features of the Zune world is its compatibility with my Xbox 360. I can use the music on my Zune to replace the in-game music from a game. The game makers generally choose good music, but sometimes it just gets old to hear the same 5 or 6 tracks OVER and OVER. If I can use the thousands of songs on my Zune instead, why shouldn’t I? I can even use my Xbox controller to change the songs once the Zune is plugged in.

In addition, the points that I use to buy games from Xbox Live Arcade, movies from the Xbox Marketplace, etc. are the same points I use to buy stuff from the Zune Marketplace. And my usernames, login information, profile info, etc. are all linked. Very cool.

 

10) You can create your own games for it.

This is a blog for software developers, and I need to make sure there’s something in this post for you. Using XNA (the same .NET technologies for building games for the Xbox 360), you can create games for the Zune as well.

You just need XNA Game Studio 3.0 CTP and the Zune software. There’s even a sample game for you to download and toy around with the code. Here’s a link to the project files.

 

11) Free television and movies.

[UPDATED] I’m not sure how I missed this originally, but this is a major point that needs to be added. If you are running Windows Media Center (if you’re running Vista Home Premium or higher, you are), you can record live television to your hard drive. Those files can be synced to your Zune as well, making your Zune a place to watch all of your favorite TV shows and movies, for free. I find that I record shows that I don’t have time to watch during the week, but that provide plenty of entertainment on an airplane, or shows where the audio is plenty for while I am driving. Sometimes podcasts just aren’t what I’m in the mood for. So there you go. A bonus eleventh point!

Overall, I see the Zune as the choice for more features for the same or less price. Add that to the Zune Pass, and you’ve got something amazing: a feature-rich device with all the music you can handle. And because of the forethought spent to decide on a hardware platform, there will be plenty of new surprises coming in the future, without the need for another purchase. I’m looking forward to it.

The iPod is a good device. I’m not saying it isn’t. Clearly, as everyone seems to have had an iPod at one time, they are popular. But being popular just because you’re popular isn’t enough. Some of this innovation will certainly be copied, just as some of the things the Zune does were certainly inspired by Apple. But after reading this post, if you don’t agree that today’s Zune is the superior device, I’d love to hear your side. Please leave me your comments.

55 thoughts on “10 Reasons The Zune Beats The iPod. Seriously.

  1. The thing i like most of the Zune is thewirless sync. Because on the days i cant find my usb cable i dont have to go crazy looking everywhere for it. I can still sync it.

  2. I bought the Zune 30GB model when the Zunes first came onto the market. Back then the Zune didn’t have a huge amount of stuff to offer over the Ipod but I bought it anyway only because Apple has brainwashed about 77% of the Mp3 player buyers out there. So I feel special and different. But if Zune did ever overcome the Ipod I probably wouldn’t switch because of most of the new features of it. ESPECIALLY the free firmware updates.Another point you could make is that the Zunes are built with MUCH more quality than the Ipods are. -Zunes are built to be able to hold the newest firmware and graphics -(Zunes are built to last) The 30GB model is like a BRICK, dropped multiple times onto pavement while riding bike, skateboard or getting out of the car. The 80GB not as much experience (because I care so much for it) but still no destruction after being dropped off my desk a few times.Great post btw, keep it up

  3. I had a choice between and iPod and Zune. Dollar for dollar I chose the Zune and everytime I use it I am SOOOO glad I made that decision. Now THAT is nice Trivia that the ORIGINAL Zune get’s updated with the same firmware as mine. There’s a bonus to be had on eBay! Sweet!

  4. I love the Social features too, that you can find out the songs your friends are listening to. This adds variety as well gives you something to talk about next time you see each other. The channel subscriptions are also great for variety, it automatically pulls down the top downloaded tracks based on genre, I’ve discovered some new favorites this way as well.

  5. It's really nice blog and i enjoyed reading it.I like to hear songs and here i like to share about freemp3 toolbar which allows to convert you tube videos to mp3, sounds interesting, right?

  6. To everyone that needs 10 reasons why an ipod is better than a zune is missing the point. People want an mp3 player to listen to their music. I think the ipod is still the easiest way to do it. The UI for itunes and the ipods is hideously simple. Also, Tim makes a great point about market momentum. It’s easy to get help with an ipod. Especially with apple stores around that can help people in person. You don’t need 10 reasons, you only need 1 or 2. For some people, I think the FM radio or the Zune pass are all they need to make them switch. Just not me – since I don’t find a ton of value in either.

  7. itunes is the worst software EVERitunes is on like what version 8in my opinion zune software 2.0 was better then what itunes is nowthe only nice thing about itunes is the giant store, because local bands put their music one there through tunecoreand have you ever went through a long list on an ipod? it takes FOREVER, on a zune just one brush of the thumb down and you have jumped like 30-40 items

  8. I upgraded from a gen2 20GB Ipod (was about $900 back then btw) to a 8GB Zune in April.The feature you’re missing is the “go to artist” option on the Zune – it Rocks!I put my player on Random, but then I hit a song from an Artist and think, hey I want to hear their other song. This on the Ipod was painful, you have to go back and find it all manually. The Zune takes you to that artist and you can change to play their songs or add a song to your current playlist. Awesome.The only thing missing is a CrossFade option between songs to remove silence, I loved this on PC based MP3 players 10 years ago – why don’t the Zune or Ipod have this?

  9. I have had my zune for about a year. (Seems longer though.) I love it and since the games came out, I have used it even more. (Though I still haven’t figured out how I could use it more than 24/7…) I had a creative 256mb muvo before my 4gb zune. The only problems that I have is that I need more storage space on my zune. (Which will be fixed as soon as I can buy a 30gb.) And that when I watch a movie or play a game, the battery gets sucked dry really fast. But those are minor problems.The biggest thing I have with Ipod: It CRASHES AND WON’T REBOOT. You have to wait hours for the battery to be fully drained in order to reboot the damn thing. Oh and why did it crash? It fell or it had firmware problems. (This was my brothers ipod…)I don’t really do this, but since people keep comparing the Itouch and the Iphone with the zune. (Even after it has been stated that the Itouch and the Iphone are not dedicated music devices like the zune.) All those after this post that compare the Itouch and the Iphone to the zune are lazy people that don’t know what they are talking about, so just ignore them.

  10. I didn’t have time to read all 94 comments so hopefully I’m not repeating anything. I did want to comment on a few things I’ve read plus other negative comments I usually encounter.First off, your first reason really could be broken up into two or three separate points.1. Zune Pass a. Use all the subscription music on three Zunes. b. 10 free DRM-free songs per month. c. Download songs with your subscription using the Zune Marketplace software on three computers. Even this could be broken out further because you can actually stream the music on many many many more computers!(I’m actually sold on the Marketplace functionality alone.)So, on to the negative remarks.Q. “Well what if I don’t want to pay $15 a month?”A. “You have the OPTION to subscribe. Otherwise just use it like you would any other music player that doesn’t have the OPTION for a subscription.”Q. “I don’t trust M$ and DRM. They are out to take our money, pillage the village and steal our children.”A. “Tell me, which company do you think would benefit the most from DRM? Would it be a company with enormous market share and users who have an equally enormous collection of DRM protected music? Or, a company attempting to gain market share from those leaders in the market? Now I want you to think really hard about this and tell me who would benefit the most if DRM went away? As that so many have gotten this wrong I’ll go ahead and say it; the company who has locked in users for almost a decade would probably be hit the hardest if their users could just up and walk away with all their purchased content.”* This leads me into another favorite anti-Zune question.Q. “Well if I pay $15 a month for the subscription and I cancel it what happens to all my music.”A. “All the music you’ve bought, including the 10 free monthly songs, will play just fine. You just won’t be able to play the songs you simply downloaded.”Q. “Well see, that’s my point, all the music goes away.”A. “Umm… No, the functionality would then act similar to iTunes (except you still have ALL the added Zune perks, including re-subscribing and having all your subscription music play again). Here, let me ask you a similar question; What happens to my channels if I cancel my cable TV service? Oh, it goes away… Now, would it sound stupid if I started to throw a fit about that? Think about it.”* I particularly dislike this question, well it’s more like a statement.Q. “The Zune music sharing feature only lets you play a received song 3 times.”A. “You must be kidding. Here you have actually managed to take an optional feature and turn it into a negative quality about the product. For one thing, if you receive a song and plug in or wirelessly sync your Zune, the Zune Pass allows you to just transfer your subscription info right to the song. Actually, I believe with the now built-in marketplace, you could do it right over any WAN right on the device.”Okay, I’m done with the Q/A deal but I’d like to end it on a happy note, I’d like to add to your #9 reason. First, you can leave your Zune plugged into your Xbox and just wirelessly sync it. Wireless is not as fast as direct LAN but it is more than acceptable unless you’re restoring your entire music library. It is in no way a negative feature about the product. And to be clear it is fast just not ‘as’ fast. So yeah if you are syncing huge podcasts all day long then you might want to consider otherwise. You can wirelessly sync an album in a matter of seconds so that’s not even near an issue.Also, you don’t have to connect the Zune to the Xbox at all. The Xbox will connect right to the Zune Marketplace software running on your computer which allows music, videos, shows, pictures, etc all to be streamed instantly.NOTE: None of this is even comparable to iPod and Xbox or the iPod and the PS3 like one user mentioned. This is due to the fact that iPod does not play OR EVEN HAVE AN OPTION TO PLAY subscription music. However, plugging in a Zune or streaming the content to your Xbox allows for a pretty excellent experience.Ah, another last one. Windows Media Center plays all your Zune content as well. This means that you can have your computer or a Media Center Extender (such as the Xbox) play all the content as well.Okay I’m done. There is so much to say but I’m a bit winded as I’ve been explaining the Zune’s benefits for quite some time now. It gets frustrating talking to a wall all the time. It is rewarding though when a user takes my word over Best Buy, Circuit City and GameStop employees and buys the Zune. They usually buy a second one for their spouse within weeks.Thanks,Zac B.

  11. Thank you for posting these reasons. Hardly anyone I know owns a zune. Thats why I’m not turning my wireless on as much as I should be. NO ONE OWNS ONE. Maybe with the upcoming holidays people will reconsider the zune.

  12. What about the Creative Zen? It beats the iPod with it’s 16.7 million color screen, FM Radio, Microphone, supports more formats – windows. Creative invented the iPod interface, which Apple stole.

  13. DRM is not an issue with Zunes. Roughly 90% of the tracks on the Zune Marketplace are DRM-free mp3s. The only time DRM is in play is when using the Zune Pass. The 10 songs you get to keep are DRM free as well…

  14. I travel regularly & had a zen xtra so I could carry my whole music collection with me & listen to whatever my mood dictated. A couple years ago I wanted an update in capacity & to add video capabilities. After some research my first choice was a zune, but they weren't selling them in Canada yet, so I got an ipod classic 160gb. I found it to be capable, & it turned me on to podcasts & it had some other features that I used regularly (alarm clock, games). Recently the zune 120gb with a/v package was on sale here, so I got one (with a plan to sell my ipod). But here are ten reasons why I am dissapointed in the zune (hardware/software). 1. zune software was a pain to install even though my computer met all the published specs.2. about 5% of tags were imported incorrectly by zune software (100% worked with itunes, mediamonkey, windows mce2005 & winamp) so I have only imported about 1,000 of >10,000 songs so far, because of the problems.3. no search function within the zune player (how do I find a specific song when away from my computer?) THIS IS A BIG BIG DISAPPOINTMENT!4. no lyrics access within the zune player.5. the screen on the zune has the worst motion blur I have ever seen on any lcd (video is ok when sent out to a tv)6. no built in alarm clock (saw that someone has written their own, but haven't tried it yet)7. no video playlists (& about a half dozen other sorting & tagging shortcomings in the zune software)8. a long list (of songs etc) takes too long to navigate because you can't jump by whole letters.9. even though it can play mp4 video it can't play divx or mpg1/2 video which are easier to decode.10.battery life is poor for videos & games.With that said, I have to add that I like:1. the fm radio2. that users can write their own games3. you can uses headphone jack for video out (ipod no longs supports this)4. it was a really good price for a player with, dock, remote & video cables.The bottom line, that I take away from this, is that the designers at microsoft are simply stupid, while the designers at apple are intentional assholes.

  15. The Zune Pass is the big advantage it has over iPod for getting new users, but the point you make about Apple’s planned obsolescence of each iPod generation, plus their terrible after sales support and horrible warranty polices, is what I think will see Apple lose market dominance to something like the Zune eventually.

  16. Number 9 isn’t much of an advantage. The 360 has excellent iPod support. The PS3 only supports the iPod and the support sucks.#2 is why I bought a Zune 30 after I outgrew my 1st gen iPod Nano. I was pissed that the 2nd gen Nano could play videos but they didn’t update my 1st gen. I knew my 1st gen could handle it – 3rd party firmware supported it.#5 is one of those features that sounds cool but I doubt it is used much. Syncing using USB is a lot faster. If you are within range of your network it doesn’t take much to then plug it into the computer.Some of the features you listed the iPod Touch supports.The features I miss from my Nano are the calendar, sleep timer, and alarm clock. Those were great when on trips.

  17. The 3-day restriction on shared songs has been dropped, for your information. Now you can play a shared song 3 times and take as long time as you need to do it.

  18. Dave,Are the Zune Pass and an FM radio not compelling enough to consider a Zune the next time you buy an MP3 player?I’m truly writing this because I don’t understand the undying allegiance some people have to Apple.Heck, I WORK for Microsoft, and I would hardly say I have an allegiance to them. I buy and use plenty of competitive services and products, primarily because they’re the best choice…not the one with the once-bitten apple on it.What makes the iPod experience so good? What am I missing? I’d love to see a list of 10 reasons why iPod is better than Zune…

  19. Seriously, you pull prices from different websites and don’t call that fudging the numbers? Amazon isn’t running a sporadic sale on any of the items I listed. You’d have a stronger argument if you just listed 3 or 5 reasons that are valid and accurate. Weak pricing, the ability to “squirt”, etc… are all just fluff.

  20. I own both an iPod Touch and and a 2nd generation Zune 80 Gig model. The current 120 gig model is actually a 3rd generation device.Here are my thoughts on the matter:The Zune is a better Music Player and Media Player for a number of reasons still not supported by the iPod Touch..I can bring my Zune into the room with my Xbox 360 and if there is wireless present I can play any music on the Zune’s hard drive over my 5.1 Xbox 360 stereo hookup just by being in the room thanks to the Zune’s support of Universal Plug N Play Music Sharing over wireless. If I bring my iPod Touch into the room I have to sync it up to my PC to work there is no UPNP capability on the IPOD TOUCH.The IPOD TOUCH with it’s applications makes a better PDA, but I bought the device as a Music Player and on the merits of music play alone it wins. As far as a connected device goes, I also think the Zune is far superior. Even though my new 2008 Ford Focus with Microsoft sync supports any IPOD, the experience is much better with the Zune plugged in. Mostly no one knows what a Zune is, so I can leave it in the car not hidden like the ipod. The big difference that people who are IPOD folks really don’t grasp is the connectivity with Windows Media Center and being able to take Media directly to and from the Zune including music. I like the IPOD Touch’s built in stores, that work over wifi but lets face it everytime I get something through that it’s like Apple is nickel and diming me.I don’t have to buy TV programs to watch later with the Zune, I just record em with Media Center and send it on over (no confusing Itunes syncing software to deal with either).. The Zune has no problems with my music collection licensing or ever finding music art if I didn’t buy it from Itunes either..Games on the Zune are top notch, and are developed on the same system as PC and XBOX 360 games.I like the IPOD Touch’s PDA functionality, but it suffers on the music side of things.. For music it’s just not as functional..There isn’t a lack of content for either system. I can’t wait to see Microsoft and Netflix get together for a streaming movie client on the Zune. Yeah I am dreaming, they haven’t announced it but I think since how popular it is on the Xbox already it shouldn’t be long before it makes it to the Zune..The IPOD TOUCH IS A GREAT PDA, but not such a powerful IPOD..

  21. Wow this post really left a smile on my face.As being the only kid in my highschool with a zune (zune 80) i’ve been teased, since apparently the “Ipod” is better. I had an 80 gig video ipod before. Let me tell you, this came no where near the quality of the zune 80.My ipod’s hard drive went bad a week after warranty ended. Whoop de doo apple, of course I’ll pay you $150 for another hard drive!Fuck off apple. The xbox console was microsofts debut into the console market. It was weak. The Xbox 360 came out afterwards, and it’s the most popular system out right now. It’s fanbase and online game community is incredibly large.The zune was microsofts first entry, and it was good. The zune 80 was the second product released, and it was better.Now when the zune 3 comes out, microsoft will handle apple easily.About time OSX brats.

  22. The reason I bought my zune was to keep from being part of the fad of iPods. Now that I have one, I can easily confine my friends in to buying them, because they are amazing.As for apple, I have an iPhone, which I wouldn’t have if I had bought it myself instead of getting it as a gift. If you look at it, it has no songs on it, but that doesn’t make it any less of a piece of junk. It crashes constantly, and just generally doesn’t like me, which I hear is exactly the same with the touch. Apparently they all suck.

  23. @cakesyWow, you’re ignorant.The Zune absolutely has WiFi. In fact, the primary feature of Zune since day one has been the availability of WiFi – something Apple only recently added with the the iPod Touch.Any BTW: If you consider storage to be an important element in choosing a media player, my 120GB Zune beats the holy CRAP out of the iPod Touch’s 32GB maximum for the same money.Don’t go talking about things you know nothing about, child.

  24. Solid post Jeff. I have a zune 80 and have had it for about 6 months, and so far I have nothing to complain about. I have had 4 ipods in the past and none of them were as good as the zune. For one i don’t lick the click wheel on the i-pod and secondly the UI on that thing is terrible. The zune on the other hand is perfect for me. Nice big display, and it is very simple to use. Also iTunes is much less usef friendly than the zune software. I’m never buying another i-pod again!!

  25. The reliability of this player is unquestioned. For the previous comments about the Zune being a “brick.” I’ve dropped this thing so many times and it still works amazes me. I’m in the USAF and I’ve been to Iraq on 2 deployments already with this thing and its still going strong. Right now I’m on my third deployment with it (hell, I’m upgrading from my 1st gen 30gb to the new 120gb). I had a iPod once, and I’m glad that it got lost in the desert or I wouldnt have gone to the Zune. Thank you Microsoft, now get me an alarm clock dock for it and I’ll be a happy man.

  26. I LOVE my Zune!! I have the 120GB model, filled to the freakin BRIM with tunes from ZunePass, 80GB and counting. There is just no comparing the two and I used to be a die hard iPod guy.

  27. I’ve owned both iPod and Zune and am most happy with my current 80GB Zune. I also currently have an iPhone, which, while it does play music, is not even close to being a replacement for the Zune. I love that I can use Media Center to record 12 hours of the Disney channel, sync the video to my Zune and play it through the DVD players in my wife’s SUV while we’re driving 12 hours to Ohio.My wife loves that she can wirelessly sync her 30GB Zune while it’s in the cradle in the kitchen.One more thing I really like? The fact that I can plug my $400 Ultimate Ears direclty into my Zune, while the stupid iPod needed a $20 adapter cable to use a standard 1/8″ headphone plug.

  28. @cakesy: the zune does have wifi. it had wifi before anyone ever thought of putting wifi on a portable media player.that’s actually how the zune can send content to other zunes, or how it manages wireless sync.as for support for Divx and similar, i expect the next update may include support. Windows 7 already has it built in (with support for transcoding) so i figure the next version of ZMP may use these and devices can get that axxo rip of Dark Knight easy.

  29. To all of the people comparing the Zune 80/120 to the Ipod touch, please dont. My friend and his brother both own ipod touches and I think that they summed it up best. I quote “The Ipod Touch is not a MP3 player, it is a PDA that can play MP3s.” That is really what it is. The itouch should be compared to PDAs, not MP3 players, simply because it does not appear to be focused on music, but instead the main selling point is the appstore. The comparison that SHOULD be made however, is between the Zune 120 and the Ipod Classic, since the Classic is sold as an MP3 player. Just thought I’d join it. Great article by the way. P.S. To the person who said that the 30GB is a brick, you got that right. I’ve had mine for 2 years now, and dropped it (accidentally) on blacktop, cement, and floors. This is usually caused by it falling out of my shirt pocket. Each time it happened, I was horrified, yet each time it happened, it came out with barely a scratch. I swear that it is the most durable MP3 player I have ever seen.P.P.S. Note that my last MP3 player was a Creative 20GB Zen Sleek Photo the broke simply because I had the gall to use it consistently for a year.

  30. Very good point of view. Well articulated.In the Road Ahead, Bill Gates details why #2 (obsolescence) is the fuel of the (software) industry. I think Apple learned that lesson very well from the teacher Microsoft.The Zune is after all a very good value but one that competes against its own kind in the personal media player realm stealing market share from other manufacturers.

  31. Jeff, XNA Game Studio 3.0 is now at its final version; it’s no longer a Community Technical Preview.And yeah, I love playing games on my Zune. Heck, I liked how one guy has made an RPG for the Zune. (Sure, RPGs may not be liked by everyone, but they are good time-killers.)

  32. “This feature not only allows you to detect other Zunes in your vicinity” – then I hope it has a range of several miles.

  33. I started off with a first gen black 30gig, and since then I’ve upgraded to the black 80gig, as well as convincing 4 of my friends to buy 80gigs as well. Some of the features that got them hooked? The fact that Zune is designed for people with friends. I don’t need to say “Hey man whatcha listening to?” because i can just check on my zune. More than music, we send each other pictures constantly, and they dont have any time limit. And now the five of us can all sit around and play Texas Hold’em with each other, or have a Checkers tournament. And for anyone who says that ipod has more games with better quality, I’ll direct you here: http://www.zuneboards.com/forums/download-completed-games-174/These are regualr people who love their zunes and know how to program, and a few of these games are flat out amazing.

  34. #12: MixviewI love the Mixview feature, which shows you artists/albums similar to an album you’re looking at. Great to find similar sounds and artists.#13: PicksShows you songs you may like, based on your current collection. Pretty hit and miss, but I usually get 2-3 new songs per pick-list, which is enough to make me love it.I was a little iffy about the Zune pass before, but now that we can keep 10 songs a month, there is no better deal. I download songs when I hear them playing on the radio somewhere, since most places have a wireless signal you can pick up. Zune really is setting trends that I expect everyone to pick up.

  35. Uhm, it’s not hard to transfer songs from iTunes to the Zune. All you have to do is burn a CD (or CDs) and then import them from there to the Zune software. Simple. *shrug* Here’s another reason: Service. I had an 30G iPod video that I loved. I bought it in 2005 and used it for entertainment and photo storage when we went to Brazil that fall. In 2007, just two years later, it stopped working. I couldn’t get it past the iPod “sad face” screen, no matter what I did. I called Apple support and was told that since it was outside of warranty they could not talk to me. NOT they could not fix it for free – THEY COULD NOT TALK TO ME ABOUT IT. They refused to offer over-the-phone help, and further said that if I took it in to an Apple store, they could not help me either. I had to buy a new unit. My husband bought me a Zune for Valentine’s Day this year, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I’ve had a few problems w/ syncing and such (my fault-not the Zune’s), but MS has always been GREAT about helping. I’m done w/ Apple where MP3 players are concerned.

  36. The Zune Pass = Not really a great ideaThe moment you stop paying for it, those songs are no longer yours and you can’t listen to them anymore. Buy a song on iTunes, it’s yours forever.

  37. Ok, some good points. Some bad points. Firstly, you won’t find old Zunes that don’t support the new features because the Zune has only been out for about a year. The ipod has been out for 7 years, and technology has changed. You can also update ipods to the newer features, as people have done with iphones/touch to support applications.Also, there is no zune to match the ipod touch, the best ipod out there.Zunes don’t have wifi, can’t browse the web, some ipods can.Microsoft is a dodgy company. Just look at them removing playforsure servers, so all those people who spent $100 on buying songs from them, can no longer play them. There is no guarantee that they won’t do the same again.Also, you can write software for the ipod. It is great to see Microsoft allowing this, but so does Apple.

  38. I really don’t think there’s anything I can say that hasn’t already been said. The Zune is a fantastic player that has made one with my pocket for just over a year and a half now. I will not ever trade my 30GB in for an Ipod. Nope. Just won’t happen.

  39. Basically the list is a comparison of Zune to iPod features. But can you reverse and compare the iPod to Zune and make a case? That’s the struggle iPod users have when defending their product to me. I never had an iPod, my daughter has one and I tell you it seems to perform just fine for her. She does not buy her music off iTunes, she rips off purchased CD’s…again works fine. I don’t like the iTunes store. I think it is cluttered, too busy, really does not direct you anywhere…kinda stab in the dark.I bought my Black 30GB on Black Friday 2006, after researching the Zune in October 2006. What sold me was the Zune Pass and wireless feature….and everything else has since confirmed that I picked the right mp3 player, music store and the shear pleasure of listening and exploring new and old music thru the Marketplace. All the other stuff is a bonus..at the end of the day the main reason Zune is better than iPod is the Marketplace software, store and the Zune Pass…oh and now I get 10free songs every month. And the Social is a very cool place to discover new music..whether old or new artists… Led Zeppelin is only available for purchase on ZMP and iTunes..but now with the 10 freebies…I can get Zeppelin at “no charge”.I have been a music listener for 30+ years…sure I have more than enough vinyl and CD’s to last a lifetime….but listening to them thru the Zune experience just makes it pretty cool.

  40. When you send a song to someone, they can listen to it 3 times over any number of days. The 3 day rule was taken out in v.2.0

  41. I have a 30 GB Black 1st Gen Zune but like you said it is no longer 1st Gen. With the latest firmware my oldie is as good as a new zune.One feature that I love about Zune is its connect as a guest feature (This feature could easily sneak into your top 10). I can sync songs from any damn PC I want. All I’ll need is the Zune software which can be downloaded from its site in 5 to 10 mins max 🙂

  42. Jeff, I’m glad you included 11 reasons, because wireless sync is the biggest piece of crap ever created (aside from white-out). It’s slow, it drains my battery, it’s an attempt at a recipe for laziness. The Zune Pass owns, though.

  43. What about the iPod touch? It really beats any Zune hands down! or any other player in the market for that matter.

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