Okay, so many of you know already, but I got a Zune. I used to have an old Creative Labs Nomad Zen that did just fine, except for one complaint. When I would use it in the car, it was very difficult to control. If I didn’t setup a playlist in advance, it was next to impossible to use. The two biggest issues were the fact that none of the controls were on the face of the Zen. They are all located on both sides. The other issue is that the screen is way too small to be able to see what is playing without taking it off of the dash and moving it close to my eyes. Trying to do this while driving is not a good idea, so needless to say, I didn’t do it too often.

Normally, the controls on the side is not a bad thing. The problem while driving is that I had to do it all by touch and they aren’t built for that. There is no way to determine what button does what.

I was very happy with the Zen except for those issues. It was 20GB, which was a little small, but usable. The battery lasted for upwards of 10 hours.

Well, since I have been going on more and more drives and every month it seems my drive-time to work is getting longer, I decided that I needed something a bit more user friendly. After researching the various DAPs (Digital Audio Players), I selected the Zune.

I sold my Zen to a co-worker and went off to Walmart (where it was $25 cheaper than anywhere else) and picked on up after work a couple of weeks ago.

Now, even though it is a Microsoft product, it does the job very well. The screen is huge! When a song is playing, it lists both the time counting up and counting down. The album art (if you have it) is displayed on the top 2/3rds of the screen. It is a beauty to behold.

Stock Zune Image

I can now glance over towards my radio and see the Zune screen with the song playing as if I was glancing at the speedometer. It is that big! All of the controls are on the front so they are easily accessible.

The Zune team gets my congratulations on an almost perfect machine. I have only a couple complaints:

Firstly, there is no easy way to listen to audio books or podcasts. You can sync the mp3 file, but when you do a “shuffle all music” option, it will throw those files in along with the music. That is something that the iPod doesn’t do. It is smart enough to know that you don’t want to listen to chapter 3 of War and Peace in the middle of listening to Tobymac.

Secondly, there is no way to easily listen to “ranked” songs. The Zune Marketplace media player and the Zune itself have the ability to rank a song from 0 stars to 5 stars. It would be nice to be able to select music and like selecting “album”, “artist”, “genre”, or “playlist”, there should also be “rating”.

  • Justin Morken

    The world can be divided into two groups – those who have iPods and those who don’t. We now know what group you’re a part of, Mr. Berg.

  • Yes. The iPod has become such a status symbol. As much that someone I know is calling the Zune an iZune. Which is another reason that I didn’t pick a iPod.