Not Your Usual Zune Review- 01.30.08
Secret: after CES, i kind of wanted to love the Zune. Well i got curious enough to want to play with one at least… they’ve been doing great things with the arts community (i really do love those crazy Zune Arts animations - and their artist collaborations for Zune designs are fun), they’ve been supporters of NOTCOT with advertising, and the packaging/design details/UI were intriguing… i really do like the font they use on their main interface, and the way it glows as you scroll around! But sadly, much like the ratings option they give you… i’m going to have to rate the experience so far with a ‘broken-heart’… i’m not even sure what that means? Is it that i no longer love the song? Basically i’m completely behind on posts today b/c i had to delve into the painful world of windows - which for this Zune i actually tried to give a second chance. I blew through one dell xp laptop, and had to move on to a tiny sony vista machine before i was able to even get it to let me play a song. Anyhow, more on all of that below… but while i spent ages installing, etc, i fell in love with the design details and packaging… particularly the Zune Premium Headphones. See many pics of the packaging and headphone details ~ as well as the CES Zune section with all the artists pieces up after the jump!!!
The unboxing was pretty sweet ~ i love the way the box opens, and that are smaller boxes inside for the USB cable and standard headphones ~ something about all the matte black boxes with crazy pink-orange gradient insides that was subtle yet surprising everytime… not that i’m a big pink fan whatsoever, but the splash of color amidst the matte black made me smile.
Although a bit apple like… still cute that it says ‘Hello from Seattle”
Here are the Zune Premium Headphones ~ i’m loving them so far. They are magnetic! (so they get less tangled in the case?) ~ instead of the usual rubbery coating, they are like a mini climbing rope! Nice little zune logos and their favorite pattern… a nicely designed simple brown magnetic carrying case with that Zune pattern INSIDE on the lining… and a cute tiny cord wrapper (looks like a little pink hair elastic)… also they come with the standard various sized ear buds for your comfort.
I was amazed with the attention to detail on this little gadget (that may be far too easy to lose! or launch somewhere?) ~ with tiny logo and grab tag, it is an interesting solution to the cord mess situation.
Tried to get you a picture of the interior, and then gave up and also just flipped it inside out…
On the headphone packaging there was this bizarre warning sticker about not turning the volume up too much? But is that an ipod nano in a book? What’s that mean? Read the manual?
Adorable, and slightly sad, the rating option on the zune gives you three options… blank, heart, and broken heart!
Here’s the Zune Originals gallery section of the Microsoft CES booth…
Here’s a close up of NOTCOT friend, Catalina Estrada!
On more artist variations, they even have a special series of Valentine’s Day Zune options…
Oh, and as for why today took FOREVER? Well beyond having fun with the packaging and accessories they sent over… i can’t stand that out of the box, i can’t even use the RADIO before plugging it in. And why can’t they make this Mac compatible? Its a really pretty UI and UX within the ZUNE itself, but as soon as you involve the software and windows side of things, the experience got heinous quickly. First i borrowed a win XP dell laptop, it froze up a few times on the install of Zune player, and then froze up on the uninstall, then refused to install cleanly b/c there was a previous install… ARGH. So then on to the next laptop, grabbed a tiny sony vista laptop, and luckily it finally installed, updated the zune, let the zune free so i could at least poke at it… but then came trying to transfer music/podcasts to it, and the Zune player is one of the worst experiences… although relatively pretty for what it is, the usability studies seem to have been skipped. Dragging songs didn’t actually bring the music on, podcasts weren’t happy syncing, it was difficult to tell where i was in the process… click on an error link to a webpage that would explain the error took me to pages where it says “summary : unfortunately, there is no specific web help message for this error yet.” But now that i have some music and podcasts to test out on it after a few hours, its a pleasant experience when i don’t try to connect to anything. And i do LOVE that it has radio! And radio that even shows you what is playing, if that information is available. Anyhow, that is where my whole day seems to have gone… so perhaps i’ll update this again after playing with it for a while.