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5.6 out of 10 based on 715 reviews

Microsoft Zune

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  • User Score (783)
    8.7 8.7 from 783 reviewers
  • Expert Score (27)
    7.5 7.5 from 27 reviewers
  • Design (4)
    5.0 5.0 from 4 reviewers
  • Value for money (112)
    6.0 6.0 from 112 reviewers
  • Features (105)
    6.2 6.2 from 105 reviewers
  • Ease of use (106)
    6.1 6.1 from 106 reviewers
  • Performance (3)
    4.9 4.9 from 3 reviewers
  • Sound quality (8)
    5.5 5.5 from 8 reviewers
  • Overall quality (4)
    6.0 6.0 from 4 reviewers
  • Display (4)
    5.7 5.7 from 4 reviewers
  • Audio & image quality (104)
    6.3 6.3 from 104 reviewers
  • Ergonomics (3)
    4.9 4.9 from 3 reviewers
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7-8
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5-6
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Microsoft Zune

The Microsoft Zune 80 is the flagship model of the company’s Zune portable media player product line. Unveiled on October 2007 and made available the following month, this high-end device is the successor to the original Zune, the Zune 30. The Zune 80 is a member of the second generation of Zune players from Microsoft. This generation also includes the Zune 4 and Zune 8 flash-based devices. The 80 is available in two colors: black and red.

The device, which sports an 80 gigabyte h…

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Microsoft Zune

The Microsoft Zune 80 is the flagship model of the company’s Zune portable media player product line. Unveiled on October 2007 and made available the following month, this high-end device is the successor to the original Zune, the Zune 30. The Zune 80 is a member of the second generation of Zune players from Microsoft. This generation also includes the Zune 4 and Zune 8 flash-based devices. The 80 is available in two colors: black and red.

The device, which sports an 80 gigabyte hard drive, improves upon the original in all aspects. The Zune 80 measures 4.26 x 2.41 x 0.51 inches while weighing in at 4.5 ounces, making the player a bit thinner and lighter than its predecessor. It also has a larger scratch-resistant screen at 3.2 inches, compared to 3 inches for the Zune 30.

Other improvements over the original include much better battery life. The original Zune lasted up to 14 hours of continuous audio playback while the Zune 80 lasts 16 hours longer. The “Zune Pad”, the 80’s touch sensitive control pad, replaces the directional pad of the original. The new control pad is reminiscent of the iPod’s Click Wheel.

As with the older model, the Zune 80 supports a wide array of audio and video formats. Apart from videos and music, the device also has support for podcasts and FM radio.

One of the unique selling points of the Zune product line is the Wi-Fi connectivity. The Zune’s wireless capabilities offer over-the-air syncing of the device with a PC as well as media sharing with other Zunes. Zune owners can share their music, podcasts and pictures over Wi-Fi. Shared songs are, however, limited to only three playbacks.

Added enticement is access to the Zune Marketplace, which offers millions of songs from major labels, music videos and TV programs.

Review Summary

The Microsoft Zune is the company's attempt to a holistic approach to music and entertainment. The Zune features 802.11 WiFi, 30GB of HDD, a built-in integrated FM tuner, a 3-inch screen and most of the basic music, pictures (JPEG formats) and video playback of other players on the market. The Zune of course supports music recorded in the Windows Media Audio Standard, better known as WMA, as well as in MP3 and AAC formats. Reviewers were surprised by the AAC support (can anyone say Apple iTunes?).On the video side, no surprise here the Zune supports Windows Media Video or WMV formats. On the down side, the unit offers no support for MPEG-4, DivX, or AVI.

The wireless Zune-to-Zune sharing option is the promotional highlight for this unit. Find another person with a Zune and you can share your recoded tracks with that friend over the WiFi. However, the proprietary aspects kick in here after three plays on your friend's Zune, or after three days, at which time he or she can flag the song for purchase at the Zune marketplace. That is unless they are an unlimited “Zune Pass” subscriber. Unprotected sharing of other personal videos can also be done. All all in, the Microsoft Zune offers good playback performance of audio, video, and photos. It is reasonably intuitive and comes with a good FM radio. The unit works well with the proprietary Zune Marketplace software. Most importantly, the unit offers wireless sharing of songs and photos with other Zune users. In addition, the Microsoft Zune has many other accessories available. However, the unit only supports audio and video currently being offered in the Zune Marketplace (other than non-DRM protected media you might already have on your personal computer) and you cannot use Wi-Fi feature to stream or purchase content. If you have prior downloaded music from Napster or AOL Music or MTV's Urge, it will not play on the Zune.

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Previous questions about this product

  • 8GB Zune lost audio suddenly?

    I have a Zune 8GB and have suddenly lost audio. Plug doesn't feel loose, other headphones don't work either. Have tried slightly pulling plug to see if there was any sign of connection. I don't even hear the "pops" associated with the controls.

    (No answers yet. Write an answer!) 2009-07-05

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