Mossberg, Pogue unimpressed by Microsoft Zune | iLounge News

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Mossberg, Pogue unimpressed by Microsoft Zune

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The Wall Street Journal’s Walt Mossberg and The New York Times’ David Pogue, two of the most well known and widely read tech columnists, both give less than stellar marks to Microsoft’s Zune media player in their reviews of the device today. While both writers give the Zune credit for a handful of features—with Pogue even calling the device “excellent” at one point—they both offer up fairly damaging final reviews.

“This first Zune has too many compromises and missing features to be as good a choice as the iPod for most users,” Mossberg writes. “The hardware feels rushed and incomplete. It is 60% larger and 17% heavier than the comparable iPod. It has much worse battery life for music than the iPod or than Microsoft claims—at least two hours less than the iPod’s, in my tests. Despite the larger screen, many album covers look worse than they do on the iPod. And you can’t share music libraries between computers like you can with iTunes… Overall, the iPod and iTunes are still the champs. Still, I expect the Zune to attract some converts and to get better with time. And this kind of competition from a big company with deep pockets and lots of talent is good for consumers in the long run.”

“Competition is good and all. But what, exactly, is the point of the Zune?” asks Pogue. “It seems like an awful lot of duplication—in a bigger, heavier form with fewer features—just to indulge Microsoft’s ‘we want some o’ that’ envy. Wireless sharing is the one big new idea—and if the public seems to respond, Apple could always add that to the iPod… The Zune 1.0 player is pretty barren, too. It doesn’t have a single standard iPod amenity: no games, alarm clock, stopwatch, world clock, password-protected volume limiter, equalizer, calendar, address book or notes module. Incredibly, you can’t even use the Zune as an external hard drive, as you can with just about every other player on earth.”

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Comments

1

Those reviews have gotta hurt.

The funny thing about Mossberg is that he’s spot-on with his criticism of everything Windows, but much too lenient of everything Apple.

His bashing of the Zune may be appropriate, but you could see it coming a mile away.

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on November 9, 2006 at 5:03 PM (CST)

2

By the way, the biggest mistake Microsoft has made with both the Zune Marketplace and XBox Live is requiring the use of stupid “points” to make purchases.  That is the lamest thing ever.

Posted by Talking Madness in Los Angeles on November 9, 2006 at 5:09 PM (CST)

3

I would compare Zune to a luxury car that’s missing a door or something; there are several nice features (wi-fi, large screen), but it lacks the basics (equalizer, alarm clock, the ability to be used as an external hard drive, etc.). The more I hear about Zune, the less it impresses me.

Posted by Brendan Murphy on November 9, 2006 at 5:21 PM (CST)

4

Oh yea,...well, maybe we “Zuneies”(Zune fanboys) don’t think much of their publications! Mark my words, we are growing in numbers and someday our device will have it’s day. Once we can battle head to head, our size advantage alone will allow us to crush the delicate form factor of your tiny little ipods. Patients fellow ZUNEIES, for now we wait as we build our forces!

Posted by T.S. on November 9, 2006 at 5:48 PM (CST)

5

Well you won’t be getting far if you’re all paitents, T.S. Paitence might get you somewhere though.

“you can’t even use the Zune as an external hard drive, as you can with just about every other player on earth.” Wow….that’s quite pathetic, Microsoft.

Posted by Nuke666 in Melbourne, Austalia on November 9, 2006 at 6:06 PM (CST)

6

It will be interesting to see the device when it final hits the shelves next week.  I checked out a Zune iLounge-like site and watched a youtube video on the interface (http://www.zunescene.com/).  Although I was impressed with some of the features (FM radio and wireless connectivity) I was more astonished by how complicated it all seemed as the guy went through the different menu options.  That is one of the best parts of the iPod, it is simple to use and uncluttered.  I think the Zune is trying to be too many things and will never reach the audience that the iPod has because of the confusing interface.

Posted by cjp on November 9, 2006 at 6:23 PM (CST)

7

just a full list of Zune’s weaknesses. Pass it on…

Zune is 60% larger and 17% heavier than the comparable iPod!

It has much worse battery life for music than the iPod or than Microsoft
claims—at least two hours less than the iPod.

Larger screen, lower quality… many album covers, photos look worse
than they do on the iPod. It has the same resolution, but stretches
everything.

You can’t share music libraries between computers like you can with
iTunes.

With wireless turned on, battery life on the Zune is just 10 hours and
12 minutes, even if you don’t send or receive any songs. Even worse if
you do.

The wheel, isn’t a wheel, but merely up/down - left/right buttons!

Zune’s online store offers far fewer songs, just over two million,
compared with 3.5 million for the iTunes store.

Zune Marketplace offers no TV shows, movies or music videos that iTunes
does, and has no audiobooks or podcast ability.

Even worse, to buy even a single 99-cent song from the Zune store, you
have to purchase blocks of “points” from Microsoft, in increments of at
least $5!

You can’t just click and have the 99 cents deducted from a credit card.
And the point system is deceptive. Songs are priced at 79 points, which
some people might think means 79 cents. But 79 points actually cost 99
cents. (In true MS theft style!)

It doesn’t have a single standard iPod amenity: no games, alarm clock, stopwatch, world clock, password-protected volume limiter, equalizer, calendar, address book or notes module.

You can’t even use the Zune as an external hard drive, as you can with just about every other player on earth.

And lastly, it costs 99 cents MORE than the iPod, which means you lose 1
song even before you pay $5 to listen to your very first song :)

Great work Microsoft! thanks for cementing iPod’s 77% share!

Posted by OS11 on November 9, 2006 at 6:26 PM (CST)

8

“you can’t even use the Zune as an external hard drive, as you can with just about every other player on earth.”

It’s just another example of what really motivates Microsoft. This is obviously a tip to corporations that fear the use of these devices to easily steal data off company workstations.

That’s why so many people say “Microsoft just doesn’t get it”. Their motivation always starts and ends with the almighty dollar! It’s why true innovation never originates in Redmond.

To H#ll with them and Zune!!

Posted by D9 on November 9, 2006 at 6:30 PM (CST)

9

i went to zunescene.com and checked out the ipod/zune comparison, and i might be wrong, but i am pretty sure the ipod pictured is a 60 or 80 gig model.  it definitely looks too thick to be a 30 gig model.  tricky microsoft!

Posted by Jacob Anderson on November 9, 2006 at 7:07 PM (CST)

10

I can’t believe they are even comparing this thing to the iPod…there is none.  Microsoft is in for a big loss on this one.

Posted by franticnomad on November 9, 2006 at 7:45 PM (CST)

11

OS11,

You can add to your list….

Not compatible with “Plays for Sure” devices or content, thus rendering that marketing message meaningless.

Posted by mportuesi on November 9, 2006 at 8:26 PM (CST)

12

I want to suggest 2 taglines for the Microsoft Zune marketing team:

  “Zune. By our lawyers. For your wallets (and life savings).”

  “Bill Gates wants your money.”

Posted by Augustus Thoo in Malaysia on November 9, 2006 at 9:07 PM (CST)

13

I think that the iPod is in some serious danger in the near future. Yes, the iPod does look more atractice than the Zune, but the Zune has more features that i would use more than my iPod’s features which i rarely use.

Posted by justin on November 9, 2006 at 9:13 PM (CST)

14

The thing that struck me most in this article is the fact that album art looks worse on the screen than the iPod’s! That surprised me a lot, given that I thought it was Zune’s one better feature. Why is this? Low-res on a large screen? If it’s lousy then it wouldn’t really compete with even the PSP for video.

I must admit that I’ve been spoiled by the lovely rendition of artwork on my 5G.

Posted by Japester on November 9, 2006 at 9:31 PM (CST)

15

Just read some more articles. The screen is QVGA (320 x 240). They missed an opportunity to offer a higher-resolution screen than the iPod. What’s worse is the fact that the screen doesn’t have a 4:3 aspect ratio, which means that they’ve stuffed up the pixel aspect ratio (rectangular pixels). No wonder images are degraded on this screen. They should have gone with 480 x 272 like Sony did with the PSP.

Posted by Japester on November 9, 2006 at 10:02 PM (CST)

16

Another failed attempt to conquer the unconquerable. I just don’t understand why no one can manage to beat the iPod. I love it and I haven’t seen one player comparable in every element that the iPod succeeds in. How hard is it to make a decent harddrive/video player, especially if you have as much money as MS. Unless someone does something, the iPod will be on top for quite a whil longer. It’s the best.

Posted by ddsd on November 10, 2006 at 12:55 AM (CST)

17

This is rich - the Zzzzzzune/iPod comparison chart

Preloaded Virus:
Zzzzzzzune - none
 
iPod - RavMonE.exe

Hmmm, now how many viruses exist for the Windoze platform?

Manufacturer:
Zzzzzune - Japanese
 
iPod - Chinese

Hmmm, for how long and is every element of the Zzzzune Japanese? Never thought I’d see xenophobia enter the argument…

User Forum:
Zzzzzune - Zune Scene
 
iPod - iLounge

Hmmmm, should we be grateful they include us?

Posted by Bob Levens in UK on November 10, 2006 at 4:11 AM (CST)

18

c’mon apple lets us see the REALLY NEW IPOD VIDEO and forget this ugly thing called zune

Posted by Gonzalo on November 10, 2006 at 5:50 AM (CST)

19

Japester, what are you talking about?  Yes, it has a 4:3 aspect ratio and yes the pixels are square.  The aspect ratio is identical to 5G iPod - you just need to turn the device sideways (what they call landscape mode) to watch full screen video.  In portrait mode it is 240x320 (i.e. 3:4 aspect)

Posted by dodo on November 10, 2006 at 9:20 AM (CST)

20

ipod is here to stay, the 80 gb beat this poor chap zune, ugly device, i dont use windows and will never use it, also this zune, so near so far
hahahah

Posted by alex on November 10, 2006 at 10:19 AM (CST)

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