Netflix, Inc.
ADVERTISEMENT

A Comparison: Zune to iPod

NOTICE: December 27, 2007. I'm still here. A new Zune 80 vs iPod Classic comparison will be posted to the front page of Mindsplice.com as soon as I get some actual face time with the Zune 80. I will not be writing a complete comparison on the Zune 4/8 vs the iPod 4/8 Nano, that may change. 

There are positives and negatives about each new device, iPod and Zune, which need to be investigated in greater detail. 

Changes to the Zune: 
80 GB ($249)
Larger screen, same resolution.
WiFi syncing - sync without connecting to computer.
Software no longer supports smart (auto) playlists.
Software no longer supports 5-star rating system (New Love/Hate rating)
3 play/3 day now just 3 play - no time limit.
Podcast support.
Removed EQ from Zune device.
Customized rear surface.

Changes to the iPod Classic:
80GB ($249) or 160GB ($349)
Coverflow viewing method - scroll through album art.
New all-metal case design.
Redesigned interface.

The Zune added several requested and desired features. However, Microsoft also removed some of the best features from the software  - ratings and auto playlists.

Apple added coverflow which is basically an alternate music browsing method. The entire update appears mostly design and interface driven. 

Of course, Apple also released the iPod touch, which outsold the Classic and the Zune throughout the holiday season on Amazon. The iPod touch is a compelling alternative to both the Zune 80 and iPod classic, with a few drawbacks of its own - storage capacity and a lack of physical volume buttons.

As always, leave a comment or send me an email if you think there's something important I missed or got wrong.

Obviously, without hands on, I'm not yet able to write a comprehensive factual comparison.

END NOTICE.


This is the Microsoft Zune review for those wanting to compare Zune vs iPod. It should answer most of the Zune FAQ. The comparison covers the new Microsoft Digital Music Platform to the established Apple Digital Music Platform. The intent is to present differences of Zune based solely on factual information while covering each platform's strengths and weaknesses. For our purpose, platform will include the hardware, software and business model. The Microsoft Digital Music Platform will be referenced as Zune and the Apple Digital Music Platform will be referenced as iPod.

Each item is a fact; it is the readers responsibility to determine if a point matters to them. Example 1: Zune lacks a lossless music format, iPod supports lossless music. Zune lacking lossless support is a fact; whether lossless support is important is subjective. Example 2: Zune offers pre-loaded media content; iPod does not. Zune's addition of pre-loaded media is a fact; whether it is useful is subjective.

The feature analysis on this iPod and Zune comparison is based on the market's reception to each specification listed below.

Legend:
Excels Zune excels in this area.
Adds Zune adds a feature over iPod.
Neutral Zune is comparable to iPod in this area.
Negative Zune is inferior in this area.
Lacks Zune lacks a feature of iPod.
Unknown Limitation of a Zune feature that iPod lacks.

Platform:
Neutral Both are proprietary, closed platforms.
Platform Components
Zune:
Zune Software and the Zune Marketplace

iPod:
iTunes and the iTunes Store

Additional Details
Both iPod and Zune are proprietary, closed platforms. This is also called vertical integration, in which the online store, jukebox software and portable music device are all developed by one company to ensure seamless compatibility. It also means that because of digital rights management (DRM), purchased music from the online store works only with the respective player. However, the companies could license their hardware, software or DRM at anytime resulting in an open platform.

Negative Zune has fewer device models and configurations.
Available Models and Configurations
Zune:
Zune 30GB: $249 (Black, White, Brown, Red and Pink)

iPod:
iPod 80GB: $249 (Black (Charcoal) or Silver)
iPod 160GB: $349 Black (Charcoal) or Silver)
iPod Nano 4GB: $149 (Silver)
iPod Nano 8GB: $199 (Silver, Green, Blue, Black or Product Red)
iPod Shuffle 1GB: $79 (Silver, Green, Blue, Purple or Product Red)

Neutral Zune's 30GB model costs less than Apple's lowest model (80GB).
Pricing
Zune:
Device: $199.99
Songs: 79 Microsoft Points ($0.99 each)
Albums: Varies
Subscription: 14.99/month

iPod:
Device: $249
Songs: $0.99 each
Albums: Varies
Subscription: N/A

Negative Zune is only available in the US.
Availability
Zune:
Device is only available in the United States.
Zune Marketplace is only available in the United States.

iPod:
Device is available worldwide.
iTunes Store is available in 21 countries.

Negative Zune software is only available for PC.
Software Compatibility
Zune:
Software is only available for Windows PC.

iPod:
Software is only available for Windows PC and Mac.


In the Box:
Plus Zune includes required software on CD.
Included Software
Zune:
Software is included in the box and is available online.

iPod (30GB):
Software is only available online.

Positive Neither include an AC adapter.
AC Adapter
Zune:
AC adapter is available for $29.99

iPod:
AC adapter is available for $29.99

Neutral Both include earbuds, case and sync cable.
Other in the Box
Zune:
Earbuds, case and sync cable.

iPod:
Earbuds, case and sync cable.


Physical:
Negative Zune is 40% larger to grip and 17% heavier.
Size and Weight
Zune:
Height: 4.4 inches
Width: 2.4 inches
Depth: 0.6 inch
Weight: 5.6 ounces

iPod (80GB):
Height: 4.1 inches
Width: 2.4 inches
Depth: 0.41 inch
Weight: 4.9 ounces

Positive Zune body is more resistant to scratches and fingerprints.
Body Materials
Zune:
Body appears to be a rubberized plastic with a matte finish.

iPod:
Front is scratch resistant metal. Back is shiny metallic.

Neutral Both have a mechanism for preventing earbud entanglement.
Earbud Entanglement
Zune:
One earbud is magnetic which allows the earbuds to connect.

iPod:
Earbuds have a small plastic sleeve that slides to the earbuds to keep them together.

Positive Zune offers the additional color choices.
Color Choice
Zune:
Black, White, Brown, Pink and Red.

iPod:
Only Black and White.

Negative Zune has no engraving feature offered by Microsoft.
Free Laser Engraving
Zune:
Microsoft offers no option for free laser engraving.

iPod:
Apple offers free engraving and warranty coverage will engrave a replacement iPod should the need arise.


Screen:
Neutral Both have identical screen resolutions, 320x240.
Screen Resolution
Zune:
320x240 pixels

iPod:
320x240 pixels

Positive Zune offers a .5" (diagonally) larger screen.
Screen Size
Zune:
3-inch (diagonally)

iPod:
2.5-inch (diagonally)

Negative Zune's larger screen at 320x240 creates a less sharp picture.
Dot Pitch
Zune:
134 pixels per inch (approximately*)

iPod:
163 pixels per inch (stated)

Additional Information
A larger screen at the same resolution indisputably creates greater pixel distances and therefore a less sharp picture. User perception may vary. Observe the width of the black grid dividing the pixels.

Pixels per inch is a measure of Pixel density, smaller is better.

*Microsoft does not state the pixel er inch of Zune's screen. However, pixels per inch is a physical property which can be calculated by screen size (inches diagonally) and resolution. LCD screens are manufactured in a limited selection of dot pitches. The calculator figures the Zune at 133.33 pixels per inch. There are LCD screens are manufactured at 0.19mm.

Dot Pitch on Wikipedia

Positive Zune screen works in portrait or landscape mode.
Screen Orientation
Zune:
Primary orientation: Portrait
Portrait mode for using interface and browsing media.
Landscape mode for watching video and viewing photos.

iPod:
Orientation: Landscape

Negative Zune screen cannot be viewed without backlight.
Screen Type
Zune:
TFT LCD screen cannot be viewed without backlight.

iPod:
Transflective LCD screen is visible without backlight.

Additional Information
Transflective LCD at Wikipedia

Neutral Neither are widescreen.
Aspect Ratio
Zune:
3:4 - Portrait oriented

iPod:
4:3 - Landscape oriented

Additional Information
Widescreen is 16:9 ratio.


Device User Interface:
Neutral Both offer effective navigation control.
Navigation Control
Zune:
4-way circular pad with center button, a back button and a play/pause button.

iPod:
Touch sensitive (4 button) Click-wheel with center button.

Positive Zune "Twist Interface" reduces navigation when browsing media.
Twist Interface
Zune:
Left and right can be used to switch between album, artist, song with less clicks.

iPod:
Reuqires backing out possibly 3 menu levels to switch artists, albums, etc.

Negative Zune lacks the variable speed scrolling of click wheel.
Scrolling Through Media
Zune:
The directional pad increases speed the longer it is held. However, it is not variable. Because of the fixed speed increase, a user cannot browse through thousands of songs without pressing the control hundreds to thousands of times. The scrolling speeds up to an non-viewable rate after about 20 songs.

iPod:
The touch sensitive click wheel works like a dial, the faster or slower you move your finger, the faster or slower you scroll. The click wheel can move through a list of 10,000 songs much faster and with better speed control than the Zune. The variable speed allows the user to browse thousands of song titles at a rate comfortable to them.


Positive Zune allows customized background and themes.
Device Background Image
Zune:
Any photo in the photo album can be set as a system background.

iPod:
No option other than white background.

Neutral Both provide alphanumeric position indicator while scrolling.
Alphabet Position Indicator
Zune:
Available on Zune device.

iPod:
Available on most recent devices (2G Nano and 5G iPod).

Additional Information
When scrolling through media a small letter appears to identify location.

G = Generation

Positive Zune implements a loop-style navigation when browsing.
Circular Browsing
Zune:
When Zune reaches the top or bottom of the media list, it wraps around to the other end creating a loop for browsing media.

iPod:
When iPod reaches the top or bottom of the media list, it stops. The user must scroll all the way to the other end.

About this Feature

Circular browsing allows the user to quickly reach the end of the alphabet by initially scrolling up. When at the bottom of a media list, a user can continue scrolling down to return to the top of the list.

Negative Zune requires an extra user action to play a song.
Selecting a Song
Zune:
After selecting a song, the user must press the center button again to choose play. Two options exist, Add to Quicklist and Play Song. Play Song is default.

iPod:
Selecting a song automatically plays that song. Holding the select button adds the song to the current on-the-go playlist.

Negative Zune does not remember last menu position.
Menu Position Memory
Zune:
Does not remember the last menu position while browsing music.

iPod:
Remembers the last menu position, i.e. iPod will return you to Pink Floyd if that is where you last left off.

Positive Both display thumbnail album art while browsing albums.
Album Art Thumbnails
Zune:
Lists 6.5 albums with thumbnail album art.

iPod:
Lists ?? albums with thumbnail album art.

Positive Zune displays edge to edge album art when playing.
Large Album Art
Zune:
Displays edge to edge album art.

iPod:
Displays small album art.

Positive Zune displays 10 songs on non-album screens (iPod, 7).
Lines Per Screen
Zune:
List 10 items per screen (6.5 on albums) because of portrait screen orientation.

iPod:
List 7 items per screen because of landscape screen orientation.

Negative Zune device does not provide text search for music.
Song Searches
Zune:
No method of finding songs via search.

iPod:
Provides a letter entry method to search for songs on (2G+ Nano and 5G+ iPod).

G = Generation

Positive Zune UI displays on TV when connected via video out.
UI During TV Out
Zune:
User interface displayed on TV, Zune screen blank.

iPod:
User interface only displayed on device.

Neutral Both allow for adjustable backlight timers.
Backlight Timer
Zune:
Allowed; Settings are: 1, 5, 15, 30 seconds, 1 minute and Always On.

iPod:
Allowed; Settings are: Off, 2, 5, 10, 15, 20 seconds and Always On.

Additional Information
Decreasing the amount of time the backlight is on after operations will increase battery life.

Neutral Both allow for adjusting of backlight brightness.
Backlight Brightness
Zune:
Allowed; Settings include: Low, Medium, High.

iPod:
Allowed; Setting is variable to 100 positions.

Additional Information
Lowering screen brightness will increase battery life.

Positive Zune allows adjusting shuffle setting in 2 clicks(iPod, 4).
Shuffle and Repeat
Zune:
Clicking center button while on play screen, then selecting shuffle allows changing of shuffle setting. Same for repeat.

iPod:
Clicking center button three times allows changing of shuffle setting.

Negative Zune does not provide for customized Main Menu items.
Customizable Main Menu
Zune:
The main menu items cannot be toggled on or off.

iPod:
Under the setting menu, the "Main Menu" item allows toggling all main menu items except "Settings".
Under the setting menu, the "Music Menu" item allows toggling all music menu items.
Neutral Neither allow changing volume while browsing media.
Dedicated Volume
Zune:
Up and down on the device controls are used for navigating the list items, preventing them from adjusting the volume while browsing media.

iPod:
Scrolling the click-wheel navigates the menu items, preventing it from adjusting volume while browsing media.

Negative Zune does not allow skip forward/reverse while browsing media.
Dedicated Forward/Reverse
Zune:
The left and right buttons of the device controls scroll through a top menu bar thereby losing skip/fast forward/reverse functions while browsing media.

iPod:
The left and right buttons of the click-wheel are dedicated skip/fast forward/reverse while browsing media.

Neutral Both allow play/pause while browsing media.
Dedicated Play/Pause
Zune:
Has a separate button dedicated to play/pause.

iPod:
The lower button of the click-wheel is dedicated to play/pause.


Playing Audio:
Neutral Both devices have excellent sound quality.
Sound Quality
No concrete technical data is available for sound comparison. Sound quality is roughly identical when playing lossy codecs. However, iPod plays a lossless music format, which Zune device does not. Sound quality is very subjective.

Positive Zune adds WMA support, Microsoft's proprietary codec.
Additional Codecs
Zune:
Supports the WMA music codec.

iPod:
Does not support WMA music codecs.

Supported Codecs
Zune:
Device audio: WMA, MP3 and AAC.
Device video: WMV.

iPod:
Device audio: MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Apple Lossless and Audible (audiobook)
Device video: H.264, m4v, mp4, and mov.

Additional Information
Zune will transcode H.264 and mp4 to wmv during import.

Windows Media Audio on Wikipedia

Negative Zune lacks AIFF, WAV and Audible (audiobook) support.
Missing Codecs
Zune:
Device does not support AIFF, WAV nor Audible (audiobook) file formats.

iPod:
Supports AIFF, WAV and Audible (audiobook) file formats.

Officially Supported Codecs
Zune:
Device audio: WMA, MP3 and AAC.
Device video: WMV.

iPod:
Device audio: MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Apple Lossless and Audible (audiobook)
Device video: H.264, m4v, mp4, and mov.

Additional Information
Zune will transcode H.264 and mp4 to wmv during import.

Negative Zune device lacks a lossless music format.
Lossless Codec
Zune:
Device does not support lossless playback.
Zune Software supports WMA Lossless.

iPod:
Device supports Apple Lossless.
iTunes supports Apple Lossless.

Additional Details
According to Zune.net, "when synchronizing WMA Lossless music, the audio is automatically converted to the WMA Standard format."

Apple Lossless
on Wikipedia
Windows Media Audio (including lossless) on Wikipedia

Negative Zune device does not offer gapless playback.
Gapless Playback
Zune:
Zune device does not support gapless playback.

iPod:
iPod supports gapless playback on Video iPods and 2nd Generation iPod Nanos.

Additional Details
Most albums (CDs) are encoded with a 1-2 second gap in between tracks. Gapless playback allows a seamless transition between tracks on albums. This is most common on live and classical albums. Some artists such as Pink Floyd create seamless musical experiences which require gapless playback to reproduce accurately.

Gapless Playback on Wikipedia

Negative Zune device does not offer volume normalization.
Volume Normalization
Zune:
Zune device lacks volume normalization.

iPod:
iPod and iTunes support volume normalization via Sound Check.

Additional Details
Most albums (CDs) are are mastered differently. Due to this, you may notice discrepancies in volume between songs on different albums. When this occurs, the user must change the volume on the device to maintain a constant volume level. Volume normalization will reduce the battery playback time.

Sound Check on Apple.com

Negative Zune device does not have an audio bookmarking feature.
Audio Bookmarking
Zune:
Device has no audio bookmarking feature.

iPod:
Device allows bookmarking. Any song can be marked to save position if desired via iTunes.

Additional Details
Bookmarking is a method in which the digital player keeps track of playback position in a track. This allows the user to change tracks and later return to the previous track at the last played position. This is useful for audio books, podcasts, video and any other media which may not be completed in one sitting.

Negative Zune does not have adjustable speed settings for audiobooks.
Playback Speed Settings
Zune:
Does not include playback speed settings.

iPod:
Includes speed setting for audio specified as Audiobooks. Settings: Slower, Normal, Faster.

Negative Zune cannot repeat a single song, only current list.
Repeat Options
Zune:
Repeat is either on or off. On repeats the entire selection whether it be artist, album, playlist, etc.

iPod:
Repeat options include one, all, off. One repeats the same song until shuffle settings are changed. All repeats the entire selection whether it be artist, album, playlist, etc.

Negative Zune cannot shuffle by album, only individual track.
Shuffle Options
Zune:
Shuffle is either on or off, this randomizes songs.

iPod:
Shuffle options include album, song and off. Albums keeps the entire album together while randomly choosing albums. Song randomizes all songs.

Neutral Neither device supports the most requested music codecs.
Popularly Requested Codecs
Zune:
Does not support the Ogg Vorbis nor FLAC codec.

iPod:
Does not support the Ogg Vorbis nor FLAC codec.

Additional Details
The two most requested music codecs are Ogg Vorbis and FLAC; both are open source codecs.

Neutral Neither solves the DRM complaints of consumers.
Digital Right Management
Zune:
Uses DRM to limit purchased and subscription media.
Uses DRM to limit WiFi-shared music to 3 days/3 plays.

iPod:
Uses DRM to limit purchased media. iPod does not offer subscription media.
iPod does not feature WiFi music sharing.

Additional Details
DRM or Digital Rights Management limits your use of music files. DRM is the main factor that determines which devices, software and stores work together. Apple has refused to license their DRM called FairPlay. Microsoft claimed to free consumers from limitations with their PlaysForSure DRM. However, on November 14, 2006 Microsoft closed their PlaysForSure based music store and opened a proprietary store, Zune Marketplace, using propritary DRM. DRM is a highly debated subject. Many will agree that as long as DRM'd media can be burned to CD it is equivalent to purchasing a CD.

Neutral Neither are compatible with PlaysForSure.
PlaysForSure Compatibility
Zune:
Does not support PlaysForSure hardware or software.

iPod:
Does not support PlaysForSure hardware or software.

Additional Details
Microsoft owns both the Zune and PlaysForSure DRM platforms. However, Zune is not compatible with music stores using Microsoft's PlaysForSure DRM (MSN Music Store, Yahoo Music, Urge, etc). PlaysForSure devices (Toshiba Gigabeat, iRiver, Creative Labs: Zen, etc.) are not compatible with the Zune Marketplace.

Apple has one DRM platform, FairPlay, which has been compatible with every iPod.

Neutral Both have identical usage rights for purchased content.
Usage Rights
Zune:
Purchased content can be played on up to five (5) total authorized computers. A single playlist can be burned seven (7) times.

iPod:
Purchased content can be played on up to five (5) total authorized computers. A single playlist can be burned seven (7) times.

Neutral Both require proprietary software.
Proprietary Jukebox
Zune:
Requires Zune Software.

iPod:
Requires iTunes.

Additional Information
Microsoft has two unique jukebox solutions, Windows Media Player and Zune Software. You cannot use Windows Media Player to load the Zune with music.

Apple uses iTunes to manage music and iPods.

Neutral Both pause playback when headphones are unplugged.
Headphone Jack Pausing
Zune:
Pauses music and video when headphones unplugged.

iPod:
Pauses music and video when headphones unplugged.

Negative Zune has 17 fewer EQ settings (Zune, 7; iPod, 24).
Equalizer Presets
Zune:
Presets include: Acoustic, Classical, Electronica, Hip-hop, Jazz, Pop and Rock.

iPod:
Presets include: Off, Acoustic, Bass Booster, Bass Reducer, Classical, Dance, Deep, Electronic, Flat, Hip Hop, Jazz, Latin, Loudness, Lounge, Piano, Pop, R & B, Rock, Small Speakers, Spoken Word, Treble Booster, Treble Reducer and Vocal Booster.

Additional Information
Neither provide a customizable frequency-band based EQ.


Playing Video:
Negative Zune device lacks H.264, m4v and mov support.
Missing Codecs
Zune:
Device lacks H.264, m4v, mp4 and mov video codecs support.

iPod:
Supports H.264, m4v, mp4 and mov video codecs.

Officially Supported Codecs
Zune:
Device audio: WMA, MP3 and AAC.
Device video: WMV.

iPod:
Device audio: MP3, AAC, AIFF, WAV, Apple Lossless and Audible (audiobook)
Device video: H.264, m4v, mp4, and mov.

Additional Information
Zune will transcode H.264 and MPEG-4 to wmv during import.

Neutral Both devices have a video bookmarking feature.
Video Bookmarking
Zune:
Device provides video bookmarking feature.

iPod:
Device provides video bookmarking feature.

Additional Details
Bookmarking is a method in which the digital player keeps track of playback position in a track. This allows the user to change tracks and later return to the previous track at the last played position. This is useful for audio books, podcasts, video and any other media which may not be completed in one sitting.

Negative Zune outputs a lower resolution of video to TV (iPod, 4x higher).
TV Output
Zune:
Outputs 320x240 video to TV

iPod:
Outputs 640x480 video to TV.

Additional Information
Though both have the same screen resolution, when output to TV iPod video is four times higher resolution than Zune video. The iPod downsizes it's higher resolution video to play on the 320x240 iPod screen.

Picture Explanation
4x Proof


Viewing Photos:
Positive Zune allows photo zooming.
Photo Zooming
Zune:
Allows photo zooming.

iPod:
Does not allow photo zooming.

NegativeZune device only handles 640x480 JPEG photos (iPod, 720x480).
Photo Storage
Zune:
Handles 640x480 JPEG images only.

iPod:
Stores photos at 720x480 in a proprietary format.
Mac: Handles JPG, JPEG, TIFF, PICT, GIF, PNG, JPG2000 or JP2, PSD, SGI, and BMP
Win: Handles JPG , JPEG, BMP, GIF, TIF, TIFF, PSD, SGI, and PNG

Additional Information
iTunes also provides the option when syncing to copy all synced photos at full resolution onto the hard drive portion of the device for storage.

Negative Zune does not sync full-resolution photos.
Photo Syncing
Zune:
Resizes all photos to 640x480. Photo sharing takes place at 640x480.

iPod:
Resizes all photos to 720x480 for display on TV. Allows for syncing of same photos in full size and quality to iPod hard disk mode for transfer. Photo sharing takes place at the full resolution of the photo.

Negative Zune does not provide for specific music during slideshows.
Slideshow Music
Zune:
Only plays current tracks while viewing slideshow. FM Radio disabled.

iPod:
Allows selecting music. User can choose from any playlist, Now Playing, Off, or From iPhoto (only useful to Mac owners).

Negative Zune has one slideshow transition, fade (iPod, 11).
Slideshow Transitions
Zune:
Only one slideshow transition.

iPod:
Eleven transitions; setting include: Off, Random, Push across, Push down, Wipe across, Wipe down, and Wipe from center.


Battery:
Neutral Both devices have integrated, non-user changeable batteries.
Integrated Battery
Zune:
Battery is integrated and non-user changeable; replacement price not known.

iPod:
Battery is integrated and non-user changeable; replacement $59.


Negative Zune audio playback is 16 hours shorter.
Audio Playback
Zune:
Music: Up to 14 hours (wireless off)
Music: Up to 13 hours (wireless on)
Video: Up to 4 hours

iPod
(5.5G results):
Music: Up to 30 hours
Video: Up to 5 hours.

Negative Zune actual battery life is shorter than stated.
Real World Testing
Zune:
New York Times:
Music playback without wireless: 12:18.
Music playback with wireless: 10:12.

iPod (5.5G results):
New York Times
Music playback: 14:44.

Playlist Magazine:
Music: 15:26
Photo slideshow with music:4:34
Video: 3:51

CNet:
Music: 14.7
Video: Not tested with firmware update.
Additional Information
Battery test are usually done under perfect conditions. This includes no device interaction, no equalizer, optimum external temperature, repeating of a small file to reduce hard drive access, etc. Zune seems to fall at or below stated battery life during use. iPod exceeds stated battery life during use.

Positive Zune recharges battery faster.
Battery Charging
Zune:
Charge Time: 3 hours; 2 hours to 90%

iPod:
Charge Time: 4 hours; 2 hours to 80%


Wireless:
Positive Zune includes built-in WiFi.
WiFi Capabilties
Zune:
Includes built-in: 802.11b/g WiFi

iPod:
Does not have WiFi capabilities.

Negative Zune WiFi decreases battery life when active.
Decreased Battery Life with WiFi
Idle WiFi reduces the stated Zune battery life from 14 hours to 13 hours.

Negative Zune Wifi uses significant battery when transferring.
Significant Battery Use When Transferring
"The amount of files that you send or receive has a significant effect on the time that a battery charge lasts. If you send or receive many files, you may have to charge your Zune device more frequently." - Microsoft Knowledge Base

Negative Zune does not include any parental control for WiFi.
Parental Control
Zune does not include any parental control on WiFi.

A child can receive explicit music through Zune WiFi from friends or any Zune owner. Also, anyone with a Zune can offer to send a child explicit photos, the child can then share those photos with other minors. The WiFi has no lock and when turned off can be turned back on without parental permission.

Neutral Both lack the most desired WiFi features.
Desired WiFi Features
Zune:
Does not include popularly desired WiFi features.

iPod:
Does not include popularly desired WiFi features.

Additional Information
Several features sparked the initial WiFi desire. These include wireless syncing to PC, wireless purchasing of media and DJing (broadcasting) to multiple devices.


Sharing Media:
Positive Zune can share media between devices.
Zune-to-Zune Sharing
Zune:
Allows limited sharing of music and unlimited sharing of photos.

iPod:
Does not have sharing capabilities.

Negative Zune shared music is limited to 3 plays in 3 days.
Limited Sharing DRM
All music received via WiFi sharing is limited to 3 plays in 3 days. Playing a song halfway through or for one-minute counts as 1 play.

Negative Zune sharing may not be available for all songs.
Some Licenses Prevent Sharing
License rights in the Zune Marketplace vary. Not all purchased music can be shared. Some songs on a CD may share while others may not. License is determined by copyright holders.

Negative Zune can not send the same song to the same Zune twice.
One Time Sharing Per Zune
A song can be shared to a particular Zune one time.

Negative Zune cannot re-send music received via sharing.
Non-Viral Sharing
Music received via Zune-to-Zune sharing cannot be re-sent to another Zune.

Negative Zune cannot share video.
No Video Sharing
Zune-to-Zune sharing is limited to music and photos. Videos cannot be shared.

Negative Zune device does not identify unsharable songs.
No Sharing Notification
Zune Marketplace gives no indication of a song's sharing license. In fact, Zune does not notify of sharing license rights until after attempting to send. The sender and receiver will then be notified that the song cannot be shared.


Managing Media:
Positive Zune allows song flagging for later reference.
Media Flagging
Zune:
Allows media flagging.

iPod:
No flagging feature.

Positive Zune provides for reverse-syncing of all files (iPod, only purchased).
Reverse Syncing
Zune:
Allows reverse syncing of all media on Zune.

iPod:
Allows reverse syncing of all purchased content.

Neutral Both software applications provide for smart playlists.
Smart Playlists
Zune:
Allows creation of smart playlists.

iPod:
Allows creation of smart playlists.

Negative Zune does not sync quick (on-the-go) playlist back to PC.
Quick Playlist Syncing
Zune:
Cannot sync playlist created on device back to Zune. Once quick playlist is cleared the playlist is gone.

iPod:
Allows syncing of all playlists which were created on the iPod device back to the iTunes software where they can be renamed and preserved.

Negative Zune only provides for one "quick" or "on-the-go" mobile playlist.
Quick Playlist
Zune:
Allows creation of one quick playlist.

iPod:
Allow creation of unlimited "on-the-go" playlists. Offers option to save playlist and start a new one.

Neutral Neither allow deleting music while mobile.
On Device Deleting
Zune:
Does not provide a way to delete music from the device without software.

iPod:
Does not provide a way to delete music from the device without software.

Neutral Both allow rating music while mobile.
Mobile Music Rating
Zune:
Allows rating of music directly on the device which will be synced back to the software.

iPod:
Allows rating of music directly on the device which will be synced back to the software.

Negative Zune initially syncs all music to device.
Automatic Syncing
Zune:
Automatically syncs all media to device. Music is given highest priority and remaining space is filled with video and photos.

iPod:
Device does not sync until the user has determined which content they want to sync.

Neutral Both provide free album art for personal music.
Free Album Art
Zune:
Software will automatically search the music store for album art.

iPod:
Software will automatically search the music store for album art.

Negative Zune device does not group compilations together.
Music Compilations
Zune:
Does not provide an option to group compilations together.

iPod:
Provides an option to sort by compilation.


Buying Media:
Negative Zune Marketplace requires a 1-way currency conversion.
Currency Conversion
Zune Marketplace:
Requires a currency conversion which is compatible only with Microsoft services. Microsoft Points currency has no external value and cannot be converted back to any other currency.

iTunes Store:
Uses the currency of the respective iTunes Store's country.

Positive Zune Marketplace shares points with XBox live.
Microsoft Points Compatibility
Zune Marketplace:
Uses Microsoft points which are compatible with XBox Live.

iTunes Store:
Uses the local currency of the respective iTunes Store's country.

A Benefit?
Microsoft Points are often cited as a benefit because they are compatible with the XBox Live Marketplace. Had Microsoft created user accounts and used local currencies, the credit could still be used in multiple stores. The difference is pre-buying credits wouldn't have made sense with local currency. When a company creates a new currency, forces you to pre-buy this currency that has no dollar value and then makes their currency compatible with only their stores, is this a benefit? Conversion creates obfuscation in every country because there is no 1 to 1 conversion. In the US Zune Marketplace 79 MS points equal $1.00 USD. A common album price in the Zune Marketplace is 1,185 credits. How much will this album cost?

Negative Zune Marketplace requires a minimum purchase of $5.Zune Marketplace requires a prepayment of $5 minimum regardless of the number of songs one intends to purchase.
Negative Zune music is more expensive until 80 songs are purchased.When buying individual tracks, each song costs $1 or more until you purchase 80 songs due to the points system.
Negative Video content is not available in the Zune Marketplace.Music Videos, TV shows and movies are not available for sale in the Zune Marketplace
Negative Zune Marketplace does not offer audiobook content.Audiobook (Audible format) content is not available in Zune Marketplace. Audible format allows bookmarking and multi-speed playback on iPod device. Additionally, iPod compatible audiobooks can be purchased directly from audible.com.
Neutral Both offer a method to buy media without a credit card.
Purchase without Credit Card
Zune:
Requires the use of Microsoft Points. These can be purchased from many retailers.

iPod:
Allows the use of iTunes gift cards available from

Additional Information

Negative Zune Marketplace has over 1 million fewer songs than iTunes.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Negative Zune marketplace does not identify which music is unsharable.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Positive Zune Marketplace includes non-purchasable music items.Zune Marketplace includes non-purchasable album art and album information for music it doesn't sell. On a negative, this makes the store look like it has more than it really does. However, if this feature adds the album art to your artless music it's better than iTunes which only has album art for music it sells.
Positive Zune Marketplace downloads all songs at 192kbps.Zune Marketplace downloads all songs at 192kbps.

Negative Zune Marketplace does not offer any DRM-free music.All Zune Marketplace msuic contains DRM. EMI music on Apple is available in iTunes Plus at 256kbps and DRM-free.

Negative Zune Marketplace does not offer any music at 256kbps.Zune Marketplace downloads all songs at 192kbps. EMI music on Apple is available in iTunes Plus at 256kbps and DRM-free.

Negative Zune Marketplace album art is low resolution (iTunes, 20x higher).Zune Marketplace album art is very low-resolution, 200x200.

iPod album art is high-resolution, usually 900x900.


Subscription Music.
Positive Zune offers an unlimited music subscription alternative, Zune Pass.Zune offers a subscription music alternative. that iPod does not. Zune Pass is available for $14.99/month. This allows unlimited music for three (3) PCs and two (2) Zune devices. Subscription music cannot be burned to a CD. When you "unsubscribe" all of your subscription music is gone.
Negative Zune Marketplace does not offer all songs through Zune Pass.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Negative Zune Pass has limited usage rights.
Zune Pass Usage Rights
Zune:
Subscription content can be played on up to three (3) total authorized computers and two (2) authorized Zune devices. Subscription content can not be burned to CD.


Other Media Sources:
Negative Zune Software has no inherent Podcast functionality.
Podcast Ability
Zune:
Has no Podcast downloading or management features. Does not allow audio bookmarking.

iPod:
Podcast management built-in.

Neutral Neither support Netlibrary or Overdrive services.
Public Library Services

These services allow check-out (borrowing) of public library resources such as audiobooks and music. The copyright holders require copyright protection and limited check-out periods. The media is currently in a protected format which neither Zune nor iPod accept.

Overdrive compatible device list

Negative Zune does not support content directly from Audible.com.
Audible.com
Zune:
Content downloaded from Audible.com is not compatible with Zune. Zune does not feature audio bookmarking nor multi-speed playback.

iPod:
Content downloaded from Audible.com is compatible with iPod. iPod features audio bookmarking and multi-speed playback.

Neutral Both can play music from sources such as CD and file sharing.
Media Sources
Zune:
Imports CD media in 3 formats with variable settings.

iPod:
Import's CD media in 5 formats with variable settings.


Radio:
Positive Zune includes a built-in FM Tuner (iPod, $49).while the iPod includes an external device that doubles as a remote and includes an extra set of earbuds.
Neutral Neither can record music from FM.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Neutral Neither receive satellite radio.Additional Information Not Yet Entered

Connectivity:
Positive Zune connects to the XBox via USB.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Neutral Both connect to the PC via USB 2.0.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Neutral Neither connect to the PC via WiFi.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Neutral Both connect to the TV with video out.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Negative Zune lacks ability to connect to digital camera (iPod, $29).The iPod Camera Connector provides a fast, easy way to transfer images from your digital camera to your iPod with color display or iPod with video. To use with iPod with color display requires iPod photo software v1.1 or later.
Negative Zune cannot act as an external hard drive.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Negative Zune has less accessories.Zune has about 1000 accessories; iPod has 3000.
Negative Zune has announced no deals for in-flight aircraft connections.Apple announced plans to add iPod connections to several airlines which will allow charging and playing your videos on the seat-back in front of you.
Negative Zune connections are not offered in any vehicles.Additional Information Not Yet Entered

Support:
Neutral Both include 1-year warranty.
Warranty Information
Zune:
1-year limited warranty. 1-year phone support.

iPod:
1-year limited warranty. 90-day phone support.

Positive Zune includes 1-year phone support (iPod, 90-day).
Phone Support
Zune:
1-year phone support.

iPod:
90-day phone support.

Negative Zune does not have 160 locations for free hands-on support.
Hands-On Support
Zune:
Microsoft does not have stores with Microsoft employees to provide hands-on device or software support.

iPod:
Apple has 160 stores worldwide with trained Apple employees to provide users with hands-on device and software support.

Neutral Both have upgradeable firmware.Microsoft claims that the Zune will grow with you. There are two major physical attributes that will improve in the next year, screen resolution and faster WiFi. These are also two attributes that cannot be upgraded via firmware. Also note, that while Apple decides to add features to its new iPods without adding the same features to old iPods (screen lock, music library syncing, etc.) They can add those features at anytime. The iPod is firmware based and as an example Apple has already said they can make every previous iPod play subscription music if they decide to release that option.


Features:
Negative Zune device does not display song lyrics.
Viewable Lyrics
Zune:
Device does not display lyrics.

iPod:
Device displays lyrics of current song if added. Apple Docs

Negative Zune does not offer a passcode protected volume lock.Additional Information Not Yet Entered
Negative Zune does not include pre-loaded games.
Pre-loaded Games
Zune:
Included Games: None.

iPod:
Included Games: Brick, Music Quiz, Parachute, Solitare.

Negative Zune Marketplace does not offer high-quality games.
Purchasable Games
Zune:
Zune does not offer purchasable games.

iPod:
iTunes Store, $4.99 games: Vortex, Tetris, Pac-Man, Cubis 2, Zuma, Texas Hold'em, Mini Golf, Mahjong and Bejeweled.

Negative Zune does not include personal information management tools.
Personal Information Managment
Zune:
Zune does feature personal management applications.

iPod:
Includes a calender, an address book and notes that sync with PC software.

Negative Zune does not include a clock, alarm, sleep timer or a stopwatch.
Time Functions
Zune:
Zune does not display the time or feature other time functions.

iPod:
Display's the time and includes a sleep timer, an alarm clock, a stopwatch, and a world clock.

Negative Zune does not feature a passcode protected screen lock.
Screen Lock
Zune:
Zune does not include a passcode protected screen lock.

iPod:
Features a passcode protected screen lock.

Positive Zune features pre-loaded media.Media is included on the Zune. Of course, the value depends on individual tastes. Either way, you can't copy it back to your PC, so don't delete it.

Negative Zune Software does not print CD covers.
Printing CD Inserts
Zune:
Does not print CD inserts.

iTunes:
Prints a variety of CD cover inserts.

Negative Zune does not include recording capabilities.Additional Information Not Yet Entered


Comments and Opinions:

100 showing

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your "review" on a zune forum and I was hopeful it wasnt another asinine ipod junkie filling the internet with false "facts".

You claim the ipod outputs video to a tv at a resolution 4x higher than the zune.

1280 x 960, isnt achievable with a standard composite output. So unless you installed HD capability and a digital or component video output on your ipod (which is physically impossible), you are totally full of shit.

I love how stupid ipod people are. If you're goin to write a review about the zune, go buy one and try it first.

fool.

December 15, 2006 5:40 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Take a deep breath, get your calculator, sit down and STFU.

I thought you were rather rude, even for someone who's a little slow.

Now for your lesson.

Multiply the length by the width to get the total pixel resolution.

320x240 = 76800 total pixels

640x480 = 307200 total pixels

307200/76800 = 4 (four)

640x480 offers 4 times the picture information of 320x240, hence 4x the resolution.

In other words, four 320x240 screens will fit in a 640x480 screen. I can draw you a picture if you'd like. In fact, here it is.

December 15, 2006 8:08 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

Thank you Palmer,

I couldn't prevent myself from laughing out loud when I saw that 1280x960; especially considering how rude, aggressive, and offensive this guy was..

Don't people have anything better to do than feeding some irrational hatred against Apple? These are probably the same people who maintain that Saddam Hussein organized the horror of 9/11.

Anywho, this review was quite interesting. Is it really true that the Zune cannot play WAV files?
That seems like an insane oversight! Can it play AIFF?

Thank you for the review,
Peter

December 16, 2006 11:58 PM  
Anonymous Peter said...

D'oh.. Sorry, I didnt see that you actually said that it can't play AIFF either...

This is completely insane! How can a $250+ item not play any kind of (standard) lossless format? So I guess the Zune is simply not after the more discriminating listener.

Makes sense.

December 17, 2006 12:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

well almost all of this is software that you gave bad ratings...IT CAN BE FIXED AT ANY POINT!

December 20, 2006 8:54 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Great. So call up Microsoft, tell them to fix the software and I'll update the Zune vs iPod facts.

It's not a biased review, it is a factual review and when Zune is better, it will still be here showing that Zune excels in every way.

Until then, the point is NOW and the software ISN"T fixed. Simple, eh.

December 20, 2006 9:46 PM  
Anonymous Jko said...

I think it is a pretty fair breakdown. Some of it seems like it shouldn't be itemized, but it is kind of hard to determine what counts as a seperate feature or not, and comes down to preference. I think it highlights the biggest failings so far, a lack of audiobook support, no lossless.

The only thing I see that is off is the size, how is it 50% larger? I think dimension comparisons work better than volume, because in reality it is just a hair larger than a 5th gen. That makes it sound monsterous

I don't have any idea why they chose no lossless. I would understand it more in a smaller player, but not having any lossless is silly. even if it only supported a single lossless codec it could still transcode the rest. MS has said lossless is coming, but it is still an odd ommission for launch.

The interface is by far the biggest draw(that and the over all screen/design). I am still damn impressed by it.

December 23, 2006 9:57 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Jko,

It was hard to determine how far to break down the features. In the end, I decided that if a feature could exist without requiring another feature then it was different. This also allows you, the reader, to determine if something specific exists without assuming I know what you want.

I'm always open to reader comments. I have taken your suggestion and lowered the 50% size to 40%. I took the height out of the equation because it doesn't really affect how a device feels in the hand. The Zune is 40% thicker.

December 23, 2006 10:53 PM  
Anonymous Jko said...

Actually looking at specs you are right, I just forgot how thin the fith gens really are. I don't own one, and it has been a while since I have held one. The 5th gens layout always makes me remember it as being wider, and fatter than it actually is.

December 23, 2006 11:28 PM  
Anonymous Cedric said...

Complete and utter drivel written by a technically incompetent person that has obviously never used a zune next to an ipod.

December 25, 2006 11:49 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

I beg to differ...

Besides, even the fact that I HAVE used iPod and Zune side by side is irrelevant because everything listed is a fact.

Simply disprove anything I've stated on this page and I'll change the list.

December 25, 2006 10:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would just like to say that the zune would be 40-50% thicker due to the wi-fi capabilities. And also, acording to Best-buy.com specs on the items, the Zune is able to hold as many video hours as the 80GB ipod. I feel that this should either be changed on best buy, or that u should metion this in your report someware(plz ignore if u did and i just overlooked)

December 26, 2006 4:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looking from a retailers point of view, the only trading songs for 3 days makes since,or else it would be like downloading songs for free, illegal and immorral.

December 26, 2006 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would also like to point out how u can use pre orderd points from ur xbox 360 and transfer them to be usalbe for the zune. I'm the same anonymous as the previous two so u can answer them all in one, and not to be rude but i do think u are leaving out alot of the pros of the zune or manipulating words to make the pros into cons, i personaly believe that the wi fi is a seriuos plus, though i can see some of ur points to the matter though. But still, no offense, as i read the report thing, i can't help to feel that it is biased point, but maybe that's just because i'm not a fan of apple. and one more thing, does the Zune offer some way of replacing the battery if it dies short of sending it back? That is what happened to my ipod, and it would have cost me more to send it back to fix it then i spenton the whole damn thing.

December 26, 2006 5:30 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Anonymous,

I'm going to disagree on the reason for the 40% increase in size. As you can see from these photos, the WiFi board is relatively small. It has nothing to do with thickness and probably little influence on height.

The main difference in height is likely the vertical orientation of the screen and the board design. Looking at the circuit board of each device, the iPod uses several integrated/hybrid circuits vs the Zune, which uses many discrete components.

The difference in thickness is likely due to Microsoft’s choice to allow the case to fit larger hard drives. Zune's hard drive can be replaced with an 80GB hard drive. Zune uses a hard drive cage to hold the 30GB hard drive in place, adding an 80GB hard drive requires removing the cage – therefore the cage takes up space. Had Microsoft opted to fit the case to the hard drive, as Apple does, they would have a 30GB and 80GB thickness. Instead, they have a thicker device that supports both hard drives and is about as thick as the 80GB iPod.

Microsoft claims 100 hours of music on their product brochure, which is true. However, it's true for both devices. It's a matter of the videos settings and how low you're willing to encode that video. The hours of video difference is based on the specs used for comparison.

Zune video based on "500 kbps WMV files with 128 kbps WMA audio tracks." Limited to 320x240 resolution. Zune.net Footnote #2

iPod video based on "H.264 1.5-Mbps video at 640 by 480 resolution combined with 128-Kbps audio; actual capacity varies by content." apple.com Footnote #4

Truth is, if you encode a movie from source to both MPEG-4 and WMV, you'll get roughly the same file sizes. Since both devices are 30GB and files are about the same size, they would hold the same amount of video. The difference in quoted capacity stems from the fact that Apple sells videos through iTunes at 640x480; a resolution the Zune does not support (max 320x240). Therefore, Apple must base their specs on loading 640x480 videos otherwise they’ll end up with a lawsuit for false claims when people start downloading movies from iTunes. Microsoft is only required to quote 320x240 files sizes, the resolution of Zune's screen and max video capability, to avoid false claims.

In fact, a 720x304 MPEG-4 rip of Pirates of the Caribbean 2 weighs in at 1.19GB. That would be 25 copies of a 2 1/2 hour movie on a 30GB iPod for 60+ hours of video. By the way, the iPod isn't actually limited to 640x480 resolution; it's limited to a certain number of pixels, a little over 300,000. The 720x304 widescreen movie looks amazing on my HDTV vs. being limited to a 320x128 widescreen encode. But, you can just as easily load up your 30GB iPod with 100 hours of 320x240 videos.

The point: all encoding equal, the two 30GB devices can hold 100 hours of video or more with lower encoding.

Looking from any point of view, sharing copyrighted music for 3 plays in 3 days is fair. I'm totally with you. However, a free podcast is under the same limitation, a home recording is limited and worst of all anything recorded under the Creative Commons license, which should never be limited by an external company, is limited. Zune limits ALL audio to 3 plays regardless of lack of copyright and source.

More so, Microsoft is heavily advertising Zune's sharing on TV. Outside of pictures, sharing has many limitations. Mainly, the limited 3 plays are not what most people expect. I list the facts of the Zune for people making a buying decision. To report only that Zune shares songs via WiFi would be misleading. Given the known limitations, I state those for potential buyers as well.

I've considered adding “points compatibility” to the comparison several times. However, you must realize that if Microsoft didn't use points and instead used local currency, then your local currency would be just as compatible across devices. Instead, you are forced to buy MS points. Saying that points are compatible between buying TV Shows, videos, games, music and movies from Microsoft is like saying that US dollars are compatible when buying TV Shows, videos, games, music and movies from Apple. So every time I want to list this fact I have to think, "We'll this would be equal between the two, both have currencies that work across their entire platform. But then Microsoft forces me to prepay, Apple gives me the option and Microsoft forces me to convert currency rates while Apple allows everyone to use their local currency - so which system is better? I say Apple for very clear reasons: optional vs. forced prepay and local currency vs. points requiring a conversion. What's a better deal, $9.99 USD for an album or 1185 Microsoft points? How much is 1185 points in US dollars? Should I have to ask? Every other “money system” I can think of is based on local currency, i.e. 1 Disney dollar = 1 USD.

Microsoft has not announced a battery replacement program. Apple's is $59 and most tech media has estimated Microsoft will follow suit. There are no screws on either device, so replacing the Zune battery yourself will be right along the same lines as iPod. The tutorials are available and batteries can be bought online for Zune or iPod, then replaced by the user.

I’m opened to add anything that is a fact, pro or con, iPod or Zune. When the Zune was released I was interested and I researched it. To save other people the time of researching I compiled all my findings. So if I can improve this list, let me know how. If you don't agree with my take on things feel free to comment or email me - I'll list any fact you provide. Thanks for the comments.

December 26, 2006 11:07 PM  
Anonymous Same Anonymous said...

Thank you for explaing the things aobut the 100 hour thing, that was confusing me just a little. For the points thing i was merely trying to say that the Zune may be a batter option if u already have the 360. That also really sucks about Battery. But, u said somthing that interested me, does that mean that u can take out the 30GB hard drive from theZune and replace it with an 80GB? if so then u can replace the hard drive and have double the space for about the same price.Also, how are the Zune players supposed to tell if a song is copyrighted or not? It would need to big of a system added so just to be safe, they blocked all songs. If they only blocked copyrighted songs, what if a song that was copyrighted got through? Then Microsoft would be facing a huge law suit. As the saying go's better to be safe then sorry.

Now a couple questions about the ipod. If yu download somthing off of itunes, from that point on can anyone just put it on there's? And, since i'm a music buff, what i'm really looking for is sound quality. I'm probally going to guess ur going to say ipod, but i've been hearing other people say that the Zune had some amazing sound to it, ecspecialy with blue-tooth in it.

p.s- i'm in ohio so it's 8:30 here, don't think i'm some freak up at midnight jerken off or somthing.

December 27, 2006 5:51 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Same Anonymous,

Yes, you can remove the Zune 30GB hard drive and replace it with an 80GB hard drive. First, it would void your warranty. Second, the 80GB hard drive costs $239.99. That would bring the cost of your 80GB Zune to $490, an 80GB iPod is only $349 ($140 less). Even if you sold your 30GB hard drive, they only sell for about $100. That still leaves your 80GB Zune costing $390. So it's neither about the same price nor is it cheaper than a 80GB iPod. If you really want an 80GB Zune, wait until Microsoft releases it. It'll likely cost $350, which will save your money and your warranty.

Identifying copyrighted songs, now there's the big problem. It's a problem Microsoft created for itself. They needed something to make the Zune different and they chose something that the Zune is getting criticized for in reviews. First, very few people are willing to ignore the limitations. 1) You can only play a track 3 times and 1 minute of play counts as 1 time. 2) You can’t share that song with anyone else. 3) You can never receive that song again. 4) Not even every song you buy from Zune Marketplace can be shared and worse, you can’t tell what songs can be shared. Second, how often are you going to run into a Zune user that you want to share with? Odds are they're not looking at their Zune screen unless they happen to be changing songs or are trying to run their battery down. There's no audible indication that someone is sending you a song so if the Zune is in a pocket or purse, they'll never know. Even with 67 million iPods sold, I rarely see someone that I'd tap on the shoulder and ask them to accept a song from me. Third, Microsoft didn't include the WiFi features that would be useful daily, like PC syncing and WiFi music store. Adding those features would have likely changed the mass opinion of Zune WiFi. This can all be improved and when it is, I’ll change the facts.

Sending songs via WiFi is a feature. It just has limitations, which consumers need to know.

Yes, iTunes can sync to unlimited iPods - here's how to do it.

When ripping an MP3 from CD and loading the exact MP3 on to both the Zune and iPod, neither my wife, my friend nor I can tell the difference. Most professional reviews cite no difference. The only place I have read about a difference is a few online customer reviews that are clearly against iPod and in a favor of Zune. The sound quality of iPod has been greatly improved from the 4th generation iPod to the 5th generation iPod. So if you compare, make sure it's with a 30Gb iPod with video. The only technical analysis of the Zune vs. iPod sound quality which was used by several sites when comparing sound quality was a fake and has since been removed. Worse, the site was called MicrosoftisAwesome (the link to the sound comparison is three down on the left). All the data MicrosoftisAwesome presented was actually stolen from a comparison showing that the iPod shuffle had better sound quality than several MP3 players, this article was written by Bill Machrone of PC Magazine. MicrosoftisAwesome simply changed the iPod Shuffle results to “Zune results” and then took the lowest results and made them the iPod results.

Finally, there is no bluetooth in the Zune. And since bluetooth is only a wireless transfer method, what would that have to do with sound quality?

December 27, 2006 12:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all really comes down to preference. ibought the Zune, i'm happy with it. My family like microsoft, we've had many problems with mac, we just don't like it. and one thing i do want to ask, is why? Nobody does all this shit simply because "they feel the consumer has a right to know." not even Jesus put this much time and effort into it. ur probaly going to be po'd about this, but it all comes downto the 10grand ur making off ur apple stock. Thanks for the conversation though, and sofar the Zune is awesome(if u care) cya.

December 27, 2006 5:19 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Why is it people either comment or ask questions in favor of the Zune, then I provide links to all the truths and they leave on some off note about how I just do this because I own Apple stock and such. Making money off a stock doesn't change any of the facts above. In fact, when I recommend an iPod at least I put my money where my mouth is.

The only fact that anonymous provided was the MS Points compatibility with XBox Live, which I added. I added despite the fact that had Microsoft not forced everyone into a points system then local currency would have been just as compatible. Still, I added it - I'm willing to add anything to make this page as fair a comparison as possible.

Anyway.

You're right - it is preference. I've said many times that either Zune or iPod will suit most people's needs. They each have their pros and cons as listed above.

Everyone is entitled to like what they choose. I use MS Office everyday on my Mac and I have no problem with it.

There are too many sites that list everything good about Zune and nothing it's missing. There are also many sites that list everything good about iPod and nothing it's missing. I attempt to list both because I enjoy it. And yes, I think Zune has a few features that are hyped beyond their usefulness.

For the record, I've held Apple stock since 2000. I didn't buy a Mac or iPod until late 2005. I clearly had faith in Apple despite the fact that I though Mac users were just a cult. When I bought Apple stock neither the iPod nor OS X was released, lucky me. I bought 75 shares of Apple because it was cheap $20/share = $1500. Since then the stock has split and now it's at $81.52 = $12228. Woohoo, Me!

I give full disclosure, I'm still entitled to an opinion and either way the points I list are facts. Many people find use in this site. Many have purchased Zunes and iPods through the Amazon links. I think people of both devices find it useful in finalizing their decision.

December 27, 2006 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

just for the record,
you dont HAVE to buy points to use the zune marketplace
if you want to
or you do not have a credit card
you can
so this would help younger users not old enough for a credit card yet
:)
just bought a zune
looking forward to being the envy of my friends
xxxx

January 02, 2007 12:27 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Just for the record and since I like facts with references...

Section 13.1, Zune Terms of Service (TOS) from Zune.net:
"You will need to purchase Microsoft Points to purchase any content from Zune Marketplace."



Other than the clear fact presented above, I've used Zune Marketplace and buying points IS required. It's the only currency in the Marketplace.

Three ways of getting music from Zune Marketplace:
1. Zune Pass: $14.99 subscription.
2. Buy Microsoft Points Pre-paid card at retailer.
3. Buy Microsoft Points online with credit card.

Again, I welcome comments. However, if you're going to dispute a fact please provide a link. And do your research first; you're only confusing people who are looking for information.

January 02, 2007 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your comparison facts and comments very helpful. My wife has been looking at both devices and we decided to get the iPod for her.

One comment for the fact sheet is that audiobooks provided from OverDrive Audiobooks and by Recorded Books use WMA and are not compatible with the iPod, but are compatible with the Zune. For audiobook listeners this is important. To my knowledge Audible Books are only available through purchase. Most public libraries offer OverDrive and Recorded Books for free!

The downside for the Zune for any audiobook is that it apparently lacks bookmarking...an important feature since book files can vary from 30 minutes to 17+ hours. Does it resume a track from the point it was powered down? (My Sandisk c150 does this and it works out well). I was really hoping that the Zune would bookmark ... that way I could listen to music and then go back to my book without difficulty.

January 04, 2007 5:55 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Neither the Zune nor the iPod are compatible with Overdrive or NetLibrary (RecordedBooks).

Overdrive specifically states "Overdrive is not compatible with Zune."

NetLibrary (in partnership with RecordedBooks) is even more demanding in their testing. NetLibrary requires that compatible devices support Secure WMA subscriptions (PlaysForSure) and can resume audio playback position. Zune does neither of these. Secure WMA, which does not come from Zune Marketplace, is incompatible with Zune. NetLibrary tested compatible players (PDF) (as of 1/4/07) and Zune is not on that list.

It is true that these books are offered for free. However, "free" is based on PlaysForSure subscription DRM which allows the books to expire, i.e. you don't actually get to keep the book. If the books were not protected they'd likely be in MP3, a universally playable format. Even if they were still WMA, iTunes can convert unprotected WMA to AAC.

Zune will resume the position of an audio track after it is powered down. However, if you stop the audio track (i.e. audiobook) and listen to another audio track (i.e. music or different audiobook), the playback position of the audiobook will be lost. Hence, once you start an audiobook you cannot use the Zune for anything else without losing your position.

In Summary: Neither the Zune nor the iPod are compatible with Overdrive or NetLibrary (RecordedBooks). Zune currently only plays audiobooks that are DRM free and Zune cannot store playback position. iPod plays DRM free audiobooks and copyrighted audiobooks from the iTunes Store (Audible format) and Audible.com and remembers playback position.

I appreciate the feedback and am glad you found the comparison helpful.

January 04, 2007 12:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have proved once again that nothing should ever be assumed. I assumed that since I use Windows Media Player to download secure WMA audiobooks that Microsoft's player would also support it! I did ask the question at Best Buy and they also assumed it would work! Thanks for the facts!

One last thing on the Overdrive and NetLibrary books. Yes, they do expire when on the PC. However, they will stay active on a player beyond the license expiration date (at least on my Sandisk). Not that you want to keep several large files on a player for very long.

January 04, 2007 1:03 PM  
Anonymous EMat said...

The review uses the correct compartive standards of measurements for screen size, but not for resolution.

For screen size, the viewer doesn't look at a screen that's 20% taller and 20% wider and perceive 44% visual improvement because the total area has increased by 44%. That's why diagonal screen measurements are a more relevant standard of comparable screen measurement than square inches, and why the Zune screen size is only a 20% viewing size improvement at the same viewing distance.

With that visual perception basis in mind, however, I notice the reviewer declares a 4x resolution improvement when displaying on a TV. Although this is true by total pixel count, the perceived visual improvement is only double or 100%, which is still quite significant. This is why dpi (dots per inch) or total lines are a more relevant standard of comparable resolution than total pixel count and why the iPod's TV output is only a 100% improvement over the Zune.

Anyway, this comparative review is the best I've seen. Thanks.

January 04, 2007 4:45 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

EMat,

Thanks for the feedback and compliment on the quality of the comparison.

I'm going to have to disagree with you on the 2x vs 4x better resolution.

As I always say: facts and references. The electronics industry has standardized (long ago) that 640x480 is VGA (Video Graphics Array) and 320x240 is QVGA (Quarter VGA). Therefore, the entire electronics industry says that 320x240 is 1/4 the resolution of 640x480. Apple, Microsoft, and cellphone manufacturers all agree on the meaning of the term and the 4x difference in resolution.

For reference, here are two photos.

1. Demonstrates that a 640x480 image can hold four 320x240 images (4x better).

2. Demonstrates that one single color pixel in 320x240 is represented by four pixels of different colors (4x more detail) in 640x480.

The 640x480 TV out on iPod is 4-times better than 320x240 on Zune and makes a huge impact on viewing via TV out.

January 04, 2007 10:07 PM  
Blogger Marion said...

Palmer,

I liked your review. I've owned a few ipods. I gave my 80G to my daughter when she started college. I recently lost my 30G.

I went to best buys and considered the zune player. The store clerk owned the Zune, he said he loved it. He likes playing games, and he liked the screen size better.

I played with it, and I simply did not like the way it worked or felt when I held it in my hand. I also found the wheel and the scroll on the zune a bit irritating.

I am not partial to apple or microsoft. For those of you who want to call everyone that likes the ipod an apple fanatic, I also have a RioPlayer. I love it! It's small and I like it for exercising and hiking, yes I like it better than the ipod nano. I chose it for only one reason. I can change the battery. When I'm out camping and hiking there is no way to recharge an ipod battery or a zune battery for that matter.

I think you gave a fair review, well supported and I do appreciate your time and effort.

January 25, 2007 11:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Palmer, you helped me make my decision on which to buy. Unbiased facts about the Zune vs. iPod issue backed up by your experience. Its great that you are also explaining your reasoning to those who leave negative cooments.

A three inch screen seemed like a heck of a lot better until I actually measured it out!

January 30, 2007 7:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance you would be willing to do a similar comparison with the Creative Zen Vision:M? If so, it would be greatly appreciated.

February 02, 2007 6:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

now that the Zune has updated the firmware update your list!

March 29, 2007 10:52 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Sure. After 5 months on the market, Microsoft finally fixed the skipping/stuttering problem that many users were experiencing when playing music downloaded via Zune Pass. The system is a little more responsive and the FM radio feature doesn't suck battery life as much as it used to.

April 01, 2007 3:00 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

I'd like to thank the last few people who have posted. I appreciate those who let me know that my research has been useful to them.

The front page will likely change soon. In the past, I have displayed whatever comparison/buying decision I was interested in at the time. I intend to bring back some older comparisons such as satellite vs cable and update it with Verizon's FIOS and AT&T's U-verse. I'll also bring back the television comparison of LCD vs plasma and update it with DLP. I intend to do a music source purchasing comparison, CD vs iTunes vs Zune Marketplace and others. I also plan to add a movie comparison including buying vs renting and source comparison to cover Netflix, Pay-Per-View, iTunes, DVD retail and others.

At roughly 100 page views per day, I feel my research efforts are valuable to many people making similar purchasing decisions.

As for the comments, thanks again.

April 01, 2007 3:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

zune or ipod.

well,ipod is for the people who dont want to mess with any settings at all,just plug it in and it works...yay for the computer illiterate. i just think apple is being dumb with making 60gb,80gb,and probably 100gb ipods (gb = gigabyte,for all you illiterate ipod users). who needs that kind of space on a music\video player?! seriously. 30gb is enough. as for the features of the zune vs ipod,some are better than others,they cancel each other out for the most part. zune doesnt play WAV? so? like anyone really has all their songs in the WAV format. the zune doesnt support itunes,good. its the "ipod killer",not the "ipod tolerator".

the main reason i hate ipods and bought a zune is simply because the ipod is way too popular and overrated. thats pretty much it. theres good and bad things about both,but when things get to the point where people think "unless its an ipod its not a real mp3 player" then it needs to stop.

April 03, 2007 1:53 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

I could go on about how you limit yourself to inferior products by using the "it's way too popular and overrated" criteria when making your purchasing decisions.

Instead, I'll call your bluff - as a liar who doesn't really own a Zune. If you did, you'd almost certainly be using Microsoft Windows.

Microsoft?!? Windows?!? You can't any more popular or overrated.

April 03, 2007 7:55 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Okay. You’ve compelled me to debate.

“iPod is for people who don’t want to mess with settings”:

iPod:
1. Set your main menu items.
2. Set your password protected volume lock.
3. Set your contacts.
4. Set your notes.
5. Set your unlimited alarm-clocks.
6. Set your sleep timer.
7. Set your screen-lock combination.
8. Set your external hard drive options.
9. Set your audiobook playback speed.
10. Set your podcast options.
11. Set your (24) equalizer settings.
12. Set your volume normalization setting.
13. Build your unlimited # of mobile-playlists.
14. Set your song ratings.
15. Set your (3) shuffle settings.
16. Set your (3) repeat options.
17. Set your (11) slideshow transitions.
18. Set your time per slide.
19. Set your slideshow repeat options.
20. Set your shuffle slideshow options.
21. Set your slideshow playback music.
22. Set your 100-step backlight brightness.
23. Set your (7) backlight timer options.
24. Set your video out format.
25. Set your calendar alarms and to-dos.
26. Set your compilations option.
27. Set your UI clicker options.
28. Set your date and time.
29. Set your time format.
30. Set your time-in-title option.
31. Set your time zone.
32. Set your (28) menu language.
33. Set your gapless playback settings.
34. Set your include album artwork setting.

And as you stated, iPod still just works. You can plug it in and go without ever changing a setting.

Zune:
1. Set your background.
2. Set your “theme.”
3. Set your (2) shuffle settings.
4. Set your (2) repeat settings.
5. Set your (7) equalizer settings.
6. Set your music ratings.
7. Set your music flag.
8. Build your one mobile- playlist.
9. Set your 3 backlight brightness.
10. Set your (6) backlight timer options.
11. Set your video out format.
12. Set you background sound option.
13. Set your time per slide.
14. Set your shuffle slideshow options.

"Apple is being dumb with making 60gb,80gb,and probably 100gb ipods. Who needs that kind of space on a music\video player?!":

Obviously you don’t travel frequently, utilize public transportation, share video clips and home movies with friends, or subscribe to very many video podcasts. Are 80GB devices meant for everyone? No. Of course, iPod buyers have a choice from 1GB to 80GB devices when Zune buyers are stuck with the “choice” of 30GB. Some people need 80GB or 100GB+. Obviously you don’t have a 46GB music library – compressed. Obviously you don’t listen to lossless quality music that takes up 100s of GB. Oh right, you can’t - Zune won’t support lossless. “Zune doesn’t play WAV” Exactly, and obviously you prefer fewer options and less compatibility – for the same price. By the way, Zune does support iTunes, because iTunes just signed a deal to allow all EMI music to be sold at a higher bitrate (256kbps) and DRM-free. Even Zune will be able to play an EMI track straight from the iTunes Store. DRM-free means legal universal device compatibility, for all you who can write 150+ words without making a single point.

April 03, 2007 9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't find it in comparisons so I assume you missed it, but my research indicates that Zune allows you to browse via the "Album Artist" tag. This is huge for anyone who owns and listens to music CDs (remember those?). If it's true, it means no more tag maintenance on your approximately 7500 songs. For those not familiar with "Album Artist" think about: classical music CDs with multiple orchestras or composers; electronic music DJ mixes; movie soundtracks; modern artists with multiple artist collaborations; various artist compilations;
Maybe it's just me, but I'm tired of losing artist information because I have to set every song artist to the same name as the "Album Artist" so I can browse by artist and then by album.

April 10, 2007 7:15 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

One of the tricks of the Zune name is its ambiguity. At this point, I have no idea as to what you're referring. Is Zune the Zune device, Zune software or Zune Marketplace?

I'm assuming Zune software, correct me if I'm wrong. If that's the case, the only comparison would be that both iTunes and Zune software offer browsing by Album Artist.

iTunes Album Artist screen capture.

If you're referring to the Zune device then again, no comparison is necessary. Choose the compilations option to view albums by their album, regardless of artist.

Apple docs about the compilations setting.

April 10, 2007 7:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Compilations, interesting...
I have an older generation ipod which they decided should not have any of these new features so I wasn't even aware of it. The link you provided also did not explain it very well, but a quick Google search did...

"In itunes there is a flag 'Part of a Compilation' to mark all 'Various Artists' compilations. When iTunes sync's to the iPod you don't get loads of artists with single tracks under the 'Artists' menu, they are all grouped under 'Compilations'. This is a great idea and really helps to keep the iPod tidy."

Still, I have a lot of work to do to revert back my old tagging efforts if I choose to buy a new ipod, but it seems worth it.

April 11, 2007 6:19 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

I have to admit, Apple released iTunes 7 in Sept 2006 and until about a month ago I had no idea that sort Album by Artist existed.

When you click on the Album column header it cycles through Album, Album by Artist, and Album by Year. This adds the convenience of keeping your albums together when sorting by year or Album artist.

For those using Macs, check out Doug's Applescripts. The site lists 429 (and counting) Applescripts which allow you to easily manage your music library and tags.

April 11, 2007 11:34 AM  
Blogger Travis said...

I don't mean to sound hostile, I see advantages in ipod and zune, I myself a zune user. In your article you said Zune is only available in the US. They have the Zune in canada.
You said that the zune downscales photos, but with my zune hard drive hack I just put an image on there 1280x1048 and it displays on my zune as that resultion(sp?).
You also counted the zune down becuase it lied on the battery time, but I have never heard on a G5 ipod that it lasts 21 anywhere else but apple.
Thanks for writing this article, looked like it took alot of trouble.

April 13, 2007 8:30 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Travis,

No hostility taken.

1. The Zune is not officially released or supported in Canada. If we talk about where the Zune can be, well then it's everywhere - but not according to Microsoft which is who really counts when it comes down to support and Marketplace.

2. This comparison only evaluates the native features of the Zune. Otherwise, with all the hacks like linux for iPod, I could go on about how the iPod plays Doom, you can sync all music back to the PC, etc. Besides, the percentage of people that use the hard drive hack or any Zune/iPod hack is very low.

3. Zune natively handles photos at 640x480, period. Either way, regardless of the size image you put on your Zune, I assure you that you're only viewing that photo at 320x240 on the Zune device itself. The iPod allows you to transfer almost any sized photo or file natively. Additionally, an adaptor allows you to connect your digital camera and copy files straight to the iPod - two things the Zune does not do.

4. Apple does not claim 21 hours. Apple claims 14 hours. Zune claims 14 without WiFi and 13 hours with WiFi. During tests, The New York Times discovered:

Zune:
Music playback without wireless: 12:18.
Music playback with wireless: 10:12.

iPod:
Music playback: 14:44.

Others reviewers have got similar results.

You have to remember, Apple has been sued for false battery claims and had to compensate those iPod owners. Apple is now very conservative with their listed battery life specs. Microsoft still bases their battery life specs on extremely favorable conditions.

As I said, no hostility taken. And thanks for the recognition of the effort. I have received many emails from readers who have also appreciated and used the comparison.

April 14, 2007 8:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys have to realize that your comparing a ipod v5 to a zune v1 ipod is better in its own ways as is a zune but zune is just getting started and dont forget the first ipods didnt do half the stuff it does now

April 15, 2007 11:50 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

So...

If I started a car company today, I could:

1) Include an 8-track player instead of a CD player.
2) Include a manually tuned AM radio vs a digitally tuned FM and satellite radio.
3) Forget about cruise control.
4) Forget about anti-lock brakes.
5) etc.
As long as I remember the engine and the wheels, I'm good.

Basically, I could introduce the Model-T today and expect to be just as competitive as other car manufacturers because I'm comparing the PalmerDeville MindSplice v1 to the Honda Accord v5.

My point: You don't get to enter a market while ignoring the competition's current feature set.

Microsoft could have easily included every single feature of the iPod. They actually chose the features they shipped. This has been demonstrated time and again by Microsoft execs and Zune team member interviews which claim that they believe the Music is the focus.

Will they add other features later? Of course, because they realize their initial theory that people just want a music player is wrong.

April 16, 2007 6:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palmer,

I appreciate your research and time spent on both the comparison and comments, but jeese, Its not like the ipod is doomed or something. You must really think the zune poses a serious threat or something 'cus your sure making sure that every one knows the Ipod is better. Why Care!? I mean, hey, the Ipod here to stay. Period. Not only that but a little serious competition will make it better (case in point: I-phone). You should realize that zune lovers are only going to get mad and Ipod lovers will agree with you. You drew the line in the sand right from the beginning. You set out to put down the zune, which is fine, but just know you won't change any minds going about it that way. No matter how many "facts" you state.

May 01, 2007 3:17 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Actually Anonymous, if someone posted erroneous negatives about the Zune I'd correct those as well.

This site is not and never has been about choosing sides. It's about presenting my research to others; it's about giving them a place to see every feature laid out in front of them.

I clearly have to make a choice of one product just like anyone. Even if I owned both (which I did), I'd use one more than the other. I chose iPod over Zune and other PMPs. I chose cable over satellite and FIOS. I chose CDMA over GSM. I chose DLP over plasma and LCD. I chose all these for reasons that suit my usage habits. You may choose something different. Hopefully this site speeds up your research.

This site covers the topic that I have most recently researched. As I stated above, I plan to bring all the comparisons back in an orderly manner vs one comparison at a time like it has been in the past and is now.

Anyway, this site isn't here to defend a product. Heck, my research is what tempted me to help pay for a friends Zune so that I could "own" it for a while. Zune was good, but I use the sleep timer and alarm clock way too much to go without it. I listen to podcasts way to much to not have bookmarking and simple podcast integration. Pink Floyd alone makes gapless-playback worth it, not to mention no breaks in live CDs. Oh, and the hard drive feature. I've just got too used to the iPod features to go without them. But the Zune is raising the bar in some areas.

So no, I don't think the iPod is doomed and I agree that Zune will help accelerate feature additions of all PMPs in the future. With that said, here is my list of things I like about the Zune that I hope iPod adds or improves upon. Of course, if Zune adds the features that I frequently use on my iPod first... I may switch.

1. Zune's double-shot finished body is similar to a rubberized-plastic making it more resistant to scratches and fingerprints.
2. Zune's screen works in portrait or landscape mode. The GUI is better served in a portrait orientation, while video and photos are better served in landscape.
3. Zune pushes the market by offering a larger screen on a device that is music, not video centered.
4. Zune can share music Zune to Zune, and Zune pushes the adoption of mobile WiFi in PMPs.
5. Zune's "Twist Interface" reduces navigation when browsing media by 4-5 clicks in some common scenarios over iPod navigation.
6. Zune allows customizable backgrounds.
7. Zune displays thumbnail album art while browsing albums.
8. Zune displays 10 items on non-album screens thanks to a portrait oriented GUI, iPod only displays 7.
9. Zune GUI displays on the television when connected via TV out.
10. Zune UI allows changing the shuffle setting in 2 clicks when iPod can take up to 6.
11. Zune allows song flagging for later modification, for example to be deleted or added to a playlist.
12. Zune Marketplace (did) provide songs at a higher bitrate than iTunes. This is likely one of those advancements for which the Zune can be held responsible.
13. Zune allows purchased music to be downloaded 5 times.
14. Zune pushes the need for device interconnectivity with it's USB connection to the XBox.
15. Zune offers an unlimited music subscription alternative, Zune Pass.
16. Zune Marketplace includes non-purchasable music items.
17. Zune allows photo zooming.
18. Zune features pre-loaded media.
19. Zune includes a built-in FM Tuner.

May 02, 2007 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Annoying Album Artist Guy said...

To dust off an old chestnut: Compilations

To be specific in regards to my question a while back when asking about the ability to browse by "Album Artist" I was talking about the Zune device (to me, someone who has never owned one, it seemed obvious but I was unaware of the ambiguity of the term 'Zune'). Now that that's out of the way...

I actually went out a couple of weeks ago and bought a new ipod video. I have to say there are definitely improvements, and the 'Compilations' tag certainly does help to eliminate artist clutter. I found that it removes the individual artists from the artist list and shows the album only in the album or compilations list.

Apple still doesn't get it though. There are hundreds if not thousands of artists who collaborate on one or more songs on their albums, yet these albums are not 'Compilations'. So I still have to do tag maintenance whenever I buy a new song or rip a new album to eliminate the excessive artist information for such collaborations. I can't possibly be the only person in existence who, when they want to listen to some music, thinks of the artist and not the album name. Do people organize their music collections alphabetically by album name? It doesn't seem like a huge leap in logic, but I would think they would organize their music collections alphabetically by artist name and then by album.

One thing that leads me to believe this will never get fixed is that when buying a song off of itunes store or ripping a new CD using itunes it does not populate the Album Artist field. If Apple doesn't bother to use this standard tag why would they ever support browsing by it on the ipod?

Why I was asking is so I could determine if we should buy ipods or zunes (the device). We bought new ipods. If the worst problem we encounter is having to do a little tag management, we'll live with it.

May 11, 2007 6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi,
So yeah im not going to go through pointless hours and nonesense of Technical Jargan that most wont understand, and will at least 70% of these comments on here are completely wrong and bring me utter disguist.. Im going to tell you what i do know, as Owning, Both 5th Gen Ipod and the Zune. Im in love with the Zune, it seems to function so much better than the ipod. My only complaint is when you are connected to a PC, even if not synching you may not search through your library on the zune itself, You may be able to change this i just havent had time to play with it. The synching is way faster on Zune, and although Lossless is not supported this issue has been Talked about by Microsoft. I wish i could remember the magazine but i was in the Doctors office. the thickness is because of the upgradeable Hard drive cage, :) eat that Apple whores.. lol.. Im not taking anything away from Ipods, i love mine and am glad i bought one, but am much more satisfied with Microsoft. Unfortunately for Apple their Customer support better step up or the will loose a lot of money because of the zune.

ok so here, here's the basics. Microsoft, will take over the Portable Music player, why do i say this? Well lets see, More money, Much more planed for zune than ipod can even dream about, Complain about lossless all you want, but I prefer not eating up Hard drives with it and neither does microsoft, Podcast suck, Sharing via Zunes, eats its face, not to mention, Apple's Customer support is worse than Lowes. :( unfortunately i've had to replace my ipod three times, its just not durable. and If anyone who owns and ipod and has dropped im sure u know what i mean. :) i've actually seen a zune thrown through drywall and just kept on playing :)...

but honestly and all jokin aside, If your thinking of going with a zune. U will not be disapointed.. :) sorry im not full of tech. jargan.. Just dont waste my breath on it. :):)

June 30, 2007 11:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your objective review has made me choose the iPod over the Zune, due to the iPod being clearly superior. The Zune really only has a slightly larger screen, very limited wi-fi capability, an FM radio, and customizable wallpapers and themes in its favor and lossless audio + a smaller body + gapless playback and the iTunes music store more than makes up for all of that. It's really quite simple to remove the DRM tags off of the protected AAC's so don't let that deter you from buying the iPod.

August 05, 2007 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Potato Pirate said...

Thanks for your review of the two it is very informative. I wish everything had infomation like this avialible.

My comment is concerning the itunes software. I tried to make it work but I have 24gb of mp3's and for some reason it kept making albums into two or three albums with some of the tracks in each one. I found it cumbersome to use although I like the viualizations. So my question is do i have to use the itunes software to put music and mpeg-4's on the ipod, or can I use something else like the now outdated Musicmatch software?

August 30, 2007 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i hink the review is pretty fair but i side with zune because i have had 3 ipods and they all crashed and also i have big hands so he size works to my benefit and also the fm tuner is good sometimes because i have quite a few songs and some how i still get bored of them

September 03, 2007 8:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pretty insignificant point, but unless Apple (or MS) have changed something, then iPods can also be connected up to an xbox 360, the only problem being that the xbox cannot play the aac files that seems to be Apple's favourite format of late (or their DRM'd equivalent) so you're stuck with mp3s.

This worked the last time I tested it with a (3g) ipod and a 360 belonging to a friend some time ago, so this could well have been removed/changed.

P.s. the "Idiots Guide" to multiplying areas was most amusing :)

September 08, 2007 4:41 AM  
Blogger Mike said...

Wow that was funny reading the first post. Looks like you're still going strong so I'll add a quick comment.

Zune does support a lossless format. WMA lossless. And it's still compressed more than a straight wave.

September 21, 2007 9:09 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

I'd think that if Microsoft supported a lossless format, particularly their own, that they'd list it in their tech specs.

I frequent a few Zune boards and lack of lossless still seems to be a fairly common complaint.

September 24, 2007 1:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My god you guys need to get lives haha I feel bad for wasting 5 minutes of my own life reading these static arguments; if I knew as much about Mp3's as everyone talking about every single specification of each player, I probably wouldn't want to live anymore. P.S. I support apple fully (though I don't own stock), and I even thought this review was biased. Respond as you wish, but no need to address it to me beacuse I won't be back to read it. Sorry!

September 29, 2007 7:07 PM  
Anonymous jcraig0433 said...

Hey there Palmer,

I have read the entire posting about your comparison. I have to say you know your stuff. I'm here because I have owned a number of ipods that never lasted more than 6 months each, I had them replaced and only lost a few to my electronics boneyard. I was at your site to see what has been said about the Zune. If the zune is worth it, or not. I am still unclear about one thing. What is lossless? what does that mean?

Also I am amazed at how people let products upset them so much, I have lots of friends that use both PC and Mac. I currently own a number of each and I have reasons for that. But it is astonishing that some get so caught up in which side they are on. It reminds once of a conversation in middle school when a friend asked me "who do you think would win in a fight, skateboarders, or rollerbladers" I replied with "who cares, you can't base the results of a fight because of what tool they use to skate, or blade or whatever". My point, There are so many uses for electronics and each company, or brand, or model serves a purpose. I write this posting on a Dell Laptop, and later I will use my mac for photoshop. So in the end for me its about use and function. ipod or zune or the next great mp3 player I don't realy care.

I am sorry to see that some indiviuduals still resort to negative vocabulary and are rude and jsut plain ignorant. SOme just want to fight I guess.

Keep up the great work. I enjoyed the comparison, but still am unclear on what to buy at this point. Any help would be great.

Thanks so much.

September 29, 2007 7:14 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Potato Pirate:

I apologize for the delay.

The problem with your library is likely the same as the one I had. As programmers say: Garbage in, garbage out.

If you have "Green Day" and "Green Day " with an undetectable space at the end - new album. If garbage data is entered in the Album Artist field (column usually not displayed) in iTunes - new album.

The hard part of the solution is to show the relevant fields and make sure they match.

The easy part, if you own a Mac, is to use AppleScripts from somewhere like Doug's AppleScripts. The scripts include everything from auto deleting all trailing spaces from data, to automatically Title casing track, album and artist names, to generating playlists of the tracks without artwork.

I now have over 8000 tracks all properly labeled and with artwork. With the scripts, it didn't take too long.

Also, there are a few programs you can use to put tunes on your iPod but I have never used them.

September 29, 2007 11:16 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Anonymous (September 29, 2007 7:07 PM)

If I took the time to comment on topics that I didn't care about, I'd ask you to kill yourself too.

As it is, I don't care if you kill yourself, so I shouldn't comment any further.

September 29, 2007 11:19 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

jcraig0433,

Apparently, I was in a typing mood tonight.

MP3, AAC, WMA and many other common music files are considered lossy compression. They get rid of data that is considered irrelevant. They can obscure vocal characteristics of your favorite artists or deaden the highs and soften the lows of your favorite song. At the extreme they can make your music sound digitized.

Lossless simply means that the music is compressed as much as possible without changing the actual sound wave.

You can have the best, most authentic audio reproducing piece of equipment - but if it will only play compressed (lossy) audio files it becomes irrelevant. Some people insist on lossless formats. All my classic jazz and blues are from the best sources I can get and only in a lossless format. You save valuable disk space but lose nothing in audio quality.

Lossless sounds better on my iPod than a compressed version and even better digitally piped from my Mac to my stereo system.

---------------

"Who do you think would win in a fight" is an excellent question. It's who do you think, not who will.

It's one of life's fundamental questions. It asks you to consider what you think, how you feel and how you view skateboarders vs rollerbladers. It asks you to draw a conclusion and determine what you think would be the outcome based on what you do know.

We draw conclusions and make actions based on who we think would win a fight everyday. We use stereotypical knowledge to make decisions. We use this information before approaching our boss about a day off or our spouse about a large luxury purchase. We may not know the situation, but going in with some assumption about the boss can certainly help tailor your actions to help you reach your goals.

I spent close to a decade as a couterintelligence/human intelligence collector in the military. I'm not talking about guns blazing here, I'm talking about a battle of emotion and wits and the collection of useful information. I learned that you can't enter any situation without asking yourself "who would win in a fight?" It's a question that will guide you and your answer will change as more information is unveiled, but you have to stereotype, draw conclusions and make assumptions to beat your opponent. Because if you aren't asking yourself "who will win in a fight", you're going to walk in blind and walk out empty handed - as a result people can die.

Your example seems weak as I could easily type a reply on a Mac and I could easily use Photoshop on a WinPC. There are reasons I feel that the Mac would beat the WinPC in a fight. That's why when Apple drops a new product and Dell drops a competing new product - I have a good starting point to determine on which device I want to drop my cash.

My point is you have to choose a side based on what you think you know and how you feel. You have to choose a side before you can buy a product. Your answer may change with time but when you hand over $250-$400 to listen to music or $2000 for a notebook computer - you better have decided who you think will win that fight.

September 30, 2007 12:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found your review and all of your comments very useful in my personal product comparison, but it leaves me wondering about the new 80GB Zune set to come out in November. Will you be updating your comparison chart with the new Zune? I will be looking forward to that.

October 13, 2007 8:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you know if the new 80G Zune is able to be switched to manual when uploading songs, as the iPods are? So all your music not on your computer is not removed when syncing. Thanks
I really liked your site and thought it was fair to both sides.

November 04, 2007 6:28 PM  
Blogger David Hart said...

When the "new" Zune OS comes out I'd like to see a comparison with the current iPods. The new Zune does seem to be improved in the podcasting department but how much that has spread to its other deficiencies is anyones guess.

Also another feature that the iPod has is that it is seems that have greater third party file management support. For instance if you don't like iTunes could could always pay and get Anapod Explorer for the iPod whereas you can't get any Red Chair software for the Zune.

November 08, 2007 10:19 AM  
Anonymous Sush said...

I bought an 80gb ipod each for my 2 girls yesterday. I was going to return them today because I saw an ad saying Zune was better. Thanks to you I am keeping my ipods.

November 13, 2007 10:59 AM  
Blogger hot primate said...

Just offering my two cents, if this thread is even open anymore :). By the way, most of my info is coming off Wikipedia cause I am to lazy to find any other sources. Anyways, as both a Zune and iPod owner, I feel that there are several things missing from your comparison, especially since the release of the new Zune and Zune software. The wi-fi of the zune has been much improved; the removal of the 3 day limit on the send songs feature. But the important thing I see is the addition of Wi-Fi syncing, a very cool feature indeed. You can leave your zune cable up attached to a wall charger and then just wirelessly sync the thing to your computer! Plus, Microsoft is offering all the new software features to all the current zune owners, something I was very pleased about due to the fact I bought my zune about a week before they debuted the new ones. Also, my addition to the raging lossless debate, the Zune software (2.1) has the option to rip lossless wma files from a cd, so i think it is safe to say that the Zune does indeed have lossless capabilities. Also, though the zune 30 firmware does not support (video) h.264 and mp4, the software now does, and will convert these files (surprisingly fast) to wmv while syncing. The new zunes however support these files nativly. Naturally battery life should be updated now that both apple and microsoft's players have improved battery life. Also, it's a minor detail, but when configuring the zune, you can tell it to not sync your music on the initial use of the program (failing that, you could just press the stop sync button). In addition, I feel that you sold the whole Microsoft Points thing short. A plus to them is you do not need to give out your credit card number, you just buy point cards in a store and redeem them (a plus for me at least). Also, keep in mind that these points can not only be used in the zune store, but also for Xbox live games and other xbox related things (once again, not important to some). Zune marketplace also offers DRM-Free music as well. The Zune can also be used as an external harddrive with a small registry fix http://www.hiptechblog.com/2006/11/24/using-your-zune-as-an-external-hard-drive/
Also, not to be a flamer, but iPod games are far from high-quality. Just list "games". That way it keeps personal opinion out of the argument. Thats all I got for you at the moment. Since it seems like a lot of people are coming to this site to compare the two mp3 players(yay google), i think it is only fair to keep both sides of the argument updated (or so you claim).

November 18, 2007 11:58 AM  
Anonymous Marc said...

Palmer,

a well thought out and considered information piece.

I was amazed at what a few (as we in Australia would call "wankers") people wrote, complaining about the information you provided. That seemed to me to be exactly what it was. Information. I wasn't actually looking for a review per se, rather a comparison of the specs. Yours fitted the bill and I appreciate the effort.

So, thanks for the info, I found it useful. Sadly, those who didn't seemed largely to be unhappy that the information didn't suit their preferences.

Marc.

November 19, 2007 6:16 AM  
Anonymous amused said...

Palmer,
Thank you so much. I have a PowerBook G4 and I have an ipod. Its a bit older but I like it.

The comments from some of these people are vicious, and I respect your ability to stick to facts and proof rather than assumptions and rude words. I live in England and I had never heard of Zune.
I want commend Microsoft because they have faithfully managed to create another copy of something Apple made years ago.
It is interesting how hard Microsoft tries to be like Apple, especially in the outward design. Microsoft itself is the biggest thing stating they are inferior because they try so hard to look like Apple. Think about it, do celebrities try to look like the general public or does the general public try to look like the stars that they respect?

Compare.

Just bear in mind who concieved the idea of the smooth, sleek look with the circlular button in the center.

November 19, 2007 7:57 AM  
Anonymous Timmyjane said...

Thanks for the comparison. After a deal came avaliable to get a 30GB Zune for $90 (slickdeals.net) I decide to bite. I was a little unsure what to expect since every poster that was a fan of the Zune appeared to be a complete (blank) with nothing useful to say other than Ipod sucks. It has turned out to be a very nice player, I have had a mini and ipod video for years and have to say I like the Zune better. The software to me is way way easier to use than iTunes. I prefer the click wheel to the touch wheel on the ipod. While the case feels a little cheap being all plastic instead of some metal it should look better longer being more scratch and fingerprint resistent. (If that really matters). It seems as if the Zune is over all a little more user friendly.

If you are looking for a very functional easy to use player then the Zune is very nice choice. If for some reason you need the features not avaliable then go for the ipod. As for me I prefer the Zune.

November 19, 2007 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Timmyjane said...

BTW my wife prefers the ipod video 30GB because it is thinner than the 30gb Zune. To her the other features ipod don't matter only that it is thinner. So it is a toss up for sure as to which player you will like better.

November 19, 2007 7:12 PM  
Anonymous Alec said...

OK. I have both an ipod and a zune. I have compared every feature and the only thing about the ipod i like better would be that it's thinner. I have the older zune30 and a 5th generation ipod. I have let everyone I know, and even people i don't know, compare them. I have not found 1 person who prefers the ipod. I've asked a little more than 30 people too. I'm going to write my own review that will be completely unbiased and ill even ask people if they think it is before i post it. I'll ask "ipod fanboys" what better and "zune fanboys" whats better, then do some research to see wat true and wats not. If you want to see the review after it's done to see if you think it's biased or not, go to www.freewebs.com/drunkenproject the review IS NOT done yet (as of the time that I posted this) so don't expect it for a while. I'm going to do A LOT of research before posting it!

November 21, 2007 11:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ Palmer Deville ... you contradicted yourself in your posting ...

First you say
"Zune will resume the position of an audio track after it is powered down."

Then you say
"Zune cannot store playback position"

Which is it?

I have a Zune 30GB, and have scoured the Zune forums trying to figure out how to resume playback after turning off the player ... and nothing seems to work.

November 27, 2007 1:50 PM  
Anonymous Alex N. said...

Wow. Really, wow. I'm about to buy my brother a new iPod for Christmas, and I thought, "What the heck -- I'll look up a comparison between the iPod and Zune.” All I was looking for was something showing the strengths and weaknesses of each product. This was the first site up in the Google search: I clicked, I read, I was informed. Then, for some reason, I started to read the comment section and was COMPLETELY blown away: the vitriol (and inability to spell) shown by some was truly amazing. Guess I'm naive -- I never knew people got so bent out of shape on this stuff. By no stretch of anyone's imagination am I technically proficient in computers and mp3 player hardware. But when it comes to deciding who to listen to in a discussion, I usually end up on the side of the person who makes intelligent points, cogent arguments, and backs up his / her facts. Conversely, I can't take seriously the person who is ranting, raving, cursing, jumping up and down, pulling his / her own hair out, making blanket statements, and has only a passing familiarity with grammar and punctuation.

Mr. Deville, really great job laying out the pluses and minuses, and kudos on your restraint. I'm not a "tech head," but it seemed unbiased to me.

December 17, 2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thankyou for the comparison. I still can't decide which one to buy. I love Zune for its radio and built in internet, while the ipod is much better in other areas.

December 25, 2007 10:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palmer,

Before reading this post, I could spell "ipod" and "zune" but I didn't know anything about them. So I read all the comments.

I still can't decide which features are more important to me, but that's not your problem.

You've done an excellent job with this material. Thanks for all your efforts!

December 26, 2007 9:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If these devices break so easily, apparently the Ipod more so, then is it up to the User to maintain a backup of the whole device so it can be reloaded to the next (new) device? Which device is this easier in this area? Does the User have to repurchase all the media when a device breaks?

December 26, 2007 9:54 AM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Anonymous - November 27, 2007 1:50 PM.

I didn't contradict myself, though I may not have been clear.

If you listen to an audio track and then power down the device, the next time you turn on the device it will resume where you left off. This is true for the iPod and Zune.

While listening to a podcast or other long audio such as an audio book, stopping in the middle to listen to other audio will result in the Zune losing your place in the previous audio track. The iPod will remember the position as long as the audio track is properly labelled as a podcast or audiobook.

The new Zune firmware fixes this issue with most podcasts but not all. Also, it is difficult to change the status of an audio file to allow bookmarking compared to the iPod.

December 27, 2007 11:40 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Alex N. - December 17, 2007 12:06 PM

Thanks for the comment and glad I could help with the information

December 27, 2007 11:43 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Anonymous - December 25, 2007 10:23 PM

Glad I could help.

Just to clarify for other readers, Zune does not have built-in internet. It has built-in WiFi which can currently share some music to other Zune for a limit of 3-plays. Microsoft also added the ability to sync your music wirelessly with the new firmware. Of course, if you haven't sat down at your computer to change your music there's nothing to update. Also, unless you buy additional equipment, you will need to plug your Zune into your computer for charging in which case it will receive a sync anyway.

I have a few disagreements with the implementations and limitations of the WiFi features. But they are using the technology.

December 27, 2007 11:49 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Anonymous - December 26, 2007 9:54 AM.

With the default settings, both devices require that the media be located on your hard drive during a sync. Songs that are no longer in iTunes or the Zune software will be removed from the device.

Therefore, you should have your music stored on the computer and the device. If one fails the other could be used to restore the music. This is easier on the Zune with its reverse sync. The iPod will only restore your purchased music.

December 27, 2007 11:53 PM  
OpenID fiercediety07 said...

I got a Zune for X-mas thinking that I can get the cheaper mp3 player and not have to worry about apple's constant pillaging of my hard drive space. (note that I'm reading this review afterwards >.<)

Since then I've changed my mind, I'd rather have the itunes software that can convert anything than deal with the zune software's inability to even acknowledge my lossless music files (80% is WAV from ripping). Not to mention the fact that the software crashes way too much and the only reset causes the hard drive to format
.
. . . I've used it twice and it's crashed on me 3 times . . . Is that even physically possible?

Ah well . . . here's hoping that Best Buy will give me my money back if I bitch enough and I can use it to get the lesser of two evils.

January 07, 2008 1:21 AM  
Anonymous Magical Dingus said...

I've been having this enormous iPod vs. Zune argument with my bud, and we've come to an understanding. The Zune, a respectable competition to the iPod, will ultimately drown in the iPod dominated market. Why? Because for years, the iPod has captivated the hearts of music listeners globally. For the Zune to even butt their heads in the monopoly, they basically had to create a portable home theatre with reclining seats and free popcorn. The bottom line is, that they didn't... Although they did make a legitimate player which could have stood up to the iPod had it been introduced in 2001.

Although, the software and firmware for the actual Zune still has some major kinks to work out, and has reported crashes left and right. The sixth generation iPod on the other hand has only 1 mainly reported bug which can be fixed in a matter of 6 seconds.

The innovation the Zune claims to have over the iPod (Wifi syncing) is ultimately insufficient. Wifi syncing takes 4x the time to sync and is a lot less user friendly. To what payoff do these consequences provide? You can sync from anywhere in the house, as apposed to right next to your computer. Usually when I sync my iPod it's because I have just added some songs to my library and am right next to my PC anyway.

On the other hand, the Zune has created the base to a concept which could potentially have great success. If Microsoft manages to make it economic to allow Zune owners to connect to the Zune media market directly FROM their Zunes, then that would be quite useful and impressive. Until then, it's too little, too late for the Zune.

January 07, 2008 5:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This review was very helpful.
How ever, some of the Zune's features appeal to me more than what the Ipod offers.
But I do not want to purchase from a young company.
So down to it, should I save up my money for when Microsoft starts producing better Zunes to keep up with the Ipod?
Or should I just go out and buy an Ipod now?

January 28, 2008 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Lauren said...

I've read numerous reviews on the "ipod vs. zune debate" simply because I'm trying to purchase a music player myself. This comparison was extremely helpful! I love the way it's divided into sections and easy for the reader to distinguish the differences and similarities. Unfortunately, I still can't decide which I want haha.
=]

January 28, 2008 9:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a G5 80G classic ipod. To me the wheel control seems to stick or be unresponsive. I absolutely do not like that I cannot delete a file directly from the Ipod. I have a 8G Sansa that allows file deletion from the unit. I was hoping the zune would have this feature, but apparently it also lacks the ability to delete files directly from the unit. I have a large library and would like to delete them on the unit as they are played to hone collection down. Reconnecting to the computer seems to me as an unnecessary step. Does APPL, MSFT or other product allow file deletion feature from the unit with a large 30G++ capacity.?

February 09, 2008 9:15 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

Anonymous - February 09, 2008 9:15 PM

I'm not sure what you're looking for...

From what I read, you want to be able to delete a song from your device and then upon syncing have that song delete permanently from your music library?

That is a risky venture for the average user. A mistake or some type of database corruption on the device could wipe out your music library.

The simple and safe solution is to use the devices built in features.

In iTunes make sure all of your music is either unrated or rated 2-stars or higher*. Save 1-star music for music you want to delete (bad rip, song cut short, a song you loathe, etc.). When you're listening on the device simply change the rating to 1-star and when you sync, sort by rating and delete all 1-stars.

On the old Zune firmware you could flag a song, then delete all flag songs. The new Zune firmware doesn't include flagging and has exchanged a 5-star rating system for love/hate rating. I'm not sure how you'd satisfy your desire with a Zune.

There is no need to delete music from most players. With a standard iPod there is no way to add additional music until you sync anyway. With an iPod touch you may want to delete music to make more room to download songs directly to the device over WiFi. With the Zune you may want to delete music to make more room for receiving shared songs.


*Here's how I currently use the 5-star system.

0-star: Unrated.
1-star: Delete this song.
2-star: Don't like this song, but my wife does.
3-star: A Song I like, but may have tired of - don't sync.
4-star: Sync this song, if syncing with a playlist.
5-star: Sync this song with the device, period.

February 10, 2008 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I appreciate the response. Your system makes sense and I will try it. Basically, here is what I am trying to achieve and found that it works on the Sansa 8G that my wife has. I work alot of hours. I have found that hand selecting songs on itunes or Media player and then syncing takes me too much time. My plan was to fill the device with albums. When I came across a song that I dont want to keep on the device, I simply delete it from the device. It is not my intention to delete it from my library on my computer, but I wouldn't really care if it did. Since the Sansa can be loaded by "dragging and Dropping" in media Player or Windows explorer, it is not my impression that what is on the device affects what is in the library. In essence, I want to manipulate the songs on the device as if the device were a separate drive independant of the library. I could also use third party "syncing" software to compare the contents of the 2 drives and further manipulate the devices contents. Since an Ipod appears to use a file renaming algorithm with its database, this type of manipulation doesn't seem possible unless there was a conversion table available. I hope I have explained this better. I will try your suggestion, but I will need to determine how to change the star rating system on the Ipod. The one I have is the newest 80G/160G Classic version. Thanks again

February 10, 2008 9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow...who ever is running this site really needs to delete the first half of the comments on here. It really makes you all look bad. I want to read about a comparison, not a fight. Thank you!

February 15, 2008 8:38 AM  
Blogger Marc said...

How does the Zune do with multiple disc albums, say Pink Floyd's The Wall? I keep all of my multiple disc albums with the same album name and have two different disc numbers but WMP 11 does not support that. I've been trying to fix it but instead i'd just stopped listening to those two disc albums because it annoys me too much.

What does the Zune do with these?

February 23, 2008 11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Palmer your completely biased against the Zune, you say your not but you are. It seems everything you had to say was AGAINST the zune and in favor of the Ipod, I was an ipod owner and I-tunes sucks flat-out, ipod's scratch up easy and wear in tear and I'm considered good on handling electronics. Also, even though I-tunes has more buyable music , have you ever looked at some of the music? I tried to get some ACDC the other day and all I could find was knock-off tribute bands. 2 more things I must say, you spend way to much fucking time posting dumbass facts , why can't you just come out and give YOUR opinion on which device is better that's what I opened up this page for. And last to say get a life, I will not be opening up this page and if you post something in response to this you prove you have no life.

March 04, 2008 9:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why can't everyone here grow up. Using profanity is not appropriate nor are the personal attacks. Yes, he may be biased toward the Ipod but if you're biased the other way then state your reasons why without getting personal. You undermine your position why you approach it the way you did. Apple people seem to be a little fanatical and yeah this post may be a little biased, but show where it is. Don't be as defensive as the ipod people are fanatical. From my experience I do not like I-tunes, but the posts seem to say the zune software is just as bad. I wish you could drag and drop in both

March 08, 2008 6:54 AM  
Blogger Thad said...

Great Blog Palmer. Any thoughts/facts about the new interface pad for the V2 Zune? I'm in the market for either a new iPod or Zune and your site has been outstandingly informative. Thank you.

March 14, 2008 4:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. Mac's are usally preaty picky on what they can handle. Windows does tend to have more variety. But one thing u left out about windows is that windows is more flexable when it comes to performace. Windows hardware doest need a certain performance level to operate correctly. Ware macs need to have higher performing hardware so the operating system wont run out of sync with its operations. But what did that have to do with Ipods and Zunes?

Also, you could of been a bit more polite when expressing your opinion. And its rather disrespectful to use such language on a public forum.

April 13, 2008 8:36 PM  
Blogger Joe E. said...

I returned my Zune 80 and Zune 8 after a week and bought an iPod 5.5 Video refurb from Apple.

I really liked the Zune, but the lack of unicode support in the software and hardware was a killer.

The hardware doesn't support East Asian fonts and MS told me they are in no hurry to add that feature (4 simple fonts!!!)

The software will display East Asian fonts when I it monitors my iTunes folder, but when I try and rip a CD to the PC using the Zune software the songs show up as Japanese, etc AT FIRST, but when the ripping is finished, I just get question marks.

If MS would actually fix this I would buy a new Zune 80 and Zune 8 the very next day.

Joe Edwards

April 16, 2008 2:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My GF spilled coke on my 30gb ipod video. Now I'm not sure to go Zune or Ipod classic. Both 80gb are basically the same price, but all of my accessories are for the ipod. My question is, are the sync cables the same between Zune and Ipod?

May 07, 2008 11:43 PM  
Blogger Palmer Deville said...

No, the connectors are not the same.

Neither use USB on the device end, each has a proprietary connector.

May 11, 2008 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Morgan said...

Well first of all I'd like to say thank you. You have obviously spent alot of time researching both iPod and Zune softwares/devices, and it is great (and fortunate) that you have taken even more time to compile it into a comparison for curious and indecisive buyers. However, I am confused. Confused as to why some people actually take the time to get angry at somebody who they do not know over something that they know less about. I've taken about two hours to read the entire comment list and none of the people "against" your review seemed, to me at least, to have a legible and prepared argument. I find it funny that they spend energy either hating Zune, or iPod. Your comparison of the two was clearly a long list of facts that you figured would be the most helpful for a curious mp3-player-buyer. Nowhere on that list was a comment left as an opinion; there were no editiorial undertones whatsoever. So, this goes out to the Zune and iPod outspoken haters: "Are you serious? This guy has taken alot of time out of his life to help people like you and I out. Why did you come to his comparison on this site if you weren't looking for the information? (Rhetorical question, obviously). Now maybe you should close your overly talkative mouth and understand that this man knows more about either item than you. He has stated that he has actually tried AND researched both. He has stated every fact he can about both. Pros AND cons. Now, if you're not happy with a fact, then learn to deal with it. Don't try to change what cannot be changed. If you were wondering which of the two was better and one seemed better, then, of course, you should have felt happy to know which one was the better choice for you. Yes, this man has chosen iPod. Does he favor it? No. He simply likes it MORE than the Zune. He does like the Zune, yes. But less than the iPod. So maybe pull that dildo out of your ass, quit complaining, and do something with your life other than trying to put your own vailidity above that of some guy from an online blog whom you have never met. Music is music. Listen to it however you want. But don't make yourself an asshole for simply being stubborn. Thank you." Now to you palmer deville: My apologies for that address to those on this site who have annoyed me through their comments to you. I'd like to thank you again for the time you have taken to do all of this, and for your open-minded attitude towards how your information could be improved. It has all helped me towards making a decision. I'm not exactly sure which I'll be choosing yet, but your information has certainly improved my understanding of the two. Thank you very much.

July 14, 2008 10:59 PM  
Blogger Sam Walker said...

If you want "bookmarks" on your Zune, go to the BlueSam Blog. It teaches you how to use the podcast feature to save your place!

July 16, 2008 9:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have gotten a good laugh at most of these comments. Even those that come to running to your aid I found most amusing.

I had both Ipod and Zune80 and would never return to Ipod. It's not the price; it's very simple, Zune may not be perfect, but I'm not held captive by iTunes DRM.

The Zune's screen is large, it's streamlined, the sound is fantastic, it's very user friendly and for those that like Ipod, that's great, but please don't generalize your thoughts of Zune users because some of them have harsh things to say here. They have every right to say what they wish and how they say it is only towards the webmaster of this site.

You are not an elite group because some of you may have a better grip on your vocabulary.

Palmer ~ I honestly, I think you were very biased with your comparison.

That being said, it's great that we have both Zune and IPOD ~ Competition is the best motivation for better technology. I'll stick with my Zune80.

I broke away from the bondage of IPOD and have been one extremely pleased woman!

Peace

July 20, 2008 12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

omg i cant believe i spent the time to read all of this and still dont know what to buy

July 22, 2008 4:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do find your review interesting and it is hard to debate any of the facts you have chosen to display. I don't see a whole that talks about the zune 3.0 software experience compared to iTunes... I can't help but wonder if there is anybody on this planet who actually enjoys the bloated problem laden iTunes software?? I have recently switched entirely and only use Zune software for all my media. Everything is smooth it is simple and does only what I want it to do. Listen and find music I like. iTunes on the other hand is incredibly bloated and for people who arent as competent on a computer this may seem a little daunting. When it comes down to brass taxes the only things that really matter are will this device play my music, will it play it well, will the UI be a positive experience, and is it reliable?

September 03, 2009 1:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i think that i LOVE this site!!!!!!!!!! omg it's sooo fabulouso.

ps. do u hav a article for where you find the power button on ur phone. cuz i just got this so cute phone but i cant turn it on cuz i, like, can't find the power button.

- Kimberly Daroxan age 22

November 19, 2009 5:35 AM  
Blogger Katie said...

I've always used ipods, and i'm looking to try a zune. I found your review very, very helpful, but i still have 1 question - what exactly is the wheel on the zune player like compared to the ipod click wheel? It is a touch wheel? How do you scroll with it?

January 10, 2010 3:05 PM  

Post a Comment