I saw some new Zune devices at Best Buy. NOW I know it’s been awhile, since the launch, and I KNOW that I only just saw the flash Zunes (no Zune 80’s), they look really awesome!
Now I know that everybody knows, that the way major retailers display a company’s products is usually awful. I mean really awful. Like a computer sits on a pretty ugly shelf, and sometimes the peripherals don’t work, or the whole screen won’t work, and maybe you see a clutter of wires, the screen is really blotchy, and so on. It’s just awful looking.
The way Best Buy’s music devices are set up were no different. Some Samsung players were recharging, and I wasn’t able to play with them, especially the new Samsung touch player. The iPods were in there usually state of smudges. The flash Zunes weren’t too bad, but I did notice a few fingerprints on several of them. Sigh. Also, none of the players had any ear plugs. None. Although I probably wouldn’t stick something everyones’ ears had touched. I’ll bring my own next time. (BTW: My earbuds that came with the Zune got destroyed, probably because of me, and I can’t put it together again.).
So I took a look at the flash Zune’s, and I was impressed.
The feel of it was very awesome. The front was the plastic feel, like that of maybe a Nintendo DS. But maybe more stronger-like. It just feels like it’s pretty durable, and can handle anything.
The back was pretty much like an aluminum brush, and that too felt neat. Not the kind of plastic-y junk metal that goes on the back of iPods and gets scratched and nicked. The flash Zune’s had real brushed metals, and the whole thing just say quality.
So I played with them a bit. They were pretty neat. I kind of like the new interface. The "twist" menu is pretty dynamic as ever, and they modified it to be more visual-like. It works pretty well. Better than the iPod’s drop menus. With the iPod menu, you have to keep diggin into and out of the darn menu. The Zune’s way better. Although in some spots, the text has gotten smaller.
The new firmware now gives us podcasts, and a more presentable UI, although the old Zune UI wasn’t too bad either. I did notice that this firmware isn’t as speedy as the last one. I remembered before updating my Zune, that the music menu went by superfast when I wanted it to. The new UI isn’t slow, but it’s definitely not as speedy fast as it felt before.
Overall, the new Zunes are a definite buy. I probably wouldn’t have recommended a gen 1 Zune, but these Zunes are definitely give a more solid experience, and Zune-haters have even agreed that these Zunes really do make a difference, and is a solid competitor against the iPod.
If you ask me, the Zune hardware is way better than the iPod hardware. At least with the Zunes, you’ll know they won’t get scratched, and nicked as bad as the iPods.
Even though I didn’t get to see a Zune 80 (none in stock for some reason), I think the front of the device is far better. Mostly, the fact that the "back" and "play/pause" buttons are more close to the Zune pad (right on the side) than the ones for the flash Zune. That gives the Zunes a bigger screen, and a more complete look than the flash Zunes.
So the Zune hardware devices are awesome. A definite must buy. I’ll be talking about the Zune computer software in my next post.