I am a big fan of the Zune but not to the point where I cannot point out it’s short comings. There aren’t many, at least for me. Several months ago, I subscribed to the Zunepass. Zunepass is a monthly subscription where you can download ‘all you can eat’. Well, only to a point. Zunepass is a pretty good deal: you pay about $15 a month for the privilege of downloading music. As long as you pay, you keep the music. You stop paying, it stops playing. Only, it does not quite work that way. Recently, I spent a week at the beach and had very limited dial up Internet access. Since it was slow going, I never bothered to sync the Zune. Not syncing for such a long time has a nasty side effect: your Zunepass music stops playing. Yep. I’m guessing that everytime you sync, it is going out to the Marketplace and renewing some token or something that allows that music to keep playing. Stop connecting for a few days and that token (or whatever) expires and so does the music. Very annoying. I would expect it to do that after a month, but not after only a few days. Also, even if something is listed in the Marketplace, it does not mean you can get it via Zunepass. In fact, there’s a lot you cannot get. Plus, it does not apply to videos at all. Currently, you cannot rent video, only buy it. Don’t get me wrong, Zunepass is pretty nice, but these little shortcomings are a bit aggravating.
I have an original Zune 30gb player. It is, basically, pretty decent hardware. It is the right size for me, has a good feel and the weight is about right. The screen size is nice and it is fairly sharp and bright. The problem I have with it is the video out. The quality of the video out is just a bit better than VHS tape. I used to think it was ok, but the more I use it, the less inclined I am to suggest people actually use this feature. Now, before I go on, let me stress that this ONLY applies to the first gen Zune. The Zune 80 actually has really good video out via the sync connector. In fact, there are a couple of docks that have component output for the Zune 80. Resolution, from I understand, is better than the newer iPod’s . On the Zune 30, though, the video looks muddy on bigger screens. This limitation really hit me while on vacation. The composite video on the Zune 80 is, I am guessing, similar to the Zune 30 so if you have an 80, I’d suggest using a sync cable with video out.
Another major aggravation with Zune is the pc software. The version 2 software is better in many ways than the first gen software, BUT…it is so SLOW. I do all the tricks to speed it up, but after only a few syncing’s, it slows to a crawl again. I should not have to fiddle with the software as much, it should ALWAYS be snappy and responsive. Downloading and Syncing seem to be where it really slows. I also wish it were a bit more customizable. I’d like to sort different ways as well as be able to selectively stop an item from syncing while the sync process is taking place. Sometimes, I might be in a hurry and do not want to wait for a certain file or files to finish. Being able to right click a file and stop the sync would be tremendous.
My final aggravation is a big one. For what ever reason, Zune Marketplace often times puts multiple copies of the same file on the device. For example, last weeks ‘This week in photography’ is on the device FOUR times. Yet the software only show one time. Makes it hard to cleanup the device. And the dupes eat up space. Microsoft needs to fix this.
That’s what bugs me, how about you? What issues to you have with the Zune (or iPod, for that matter.)