Whatâ€™s more, Microsoftâ€™s implementation of this faux-wheel is ridiculous – this is how you navigate the items in your Zune. With the Ipodâ€™s wheel, you scroll through your list, so if itâ€™s hundreds of items deep, you just scroll fast and youâ€™re through the list pretty quickly. With Zune? Click click click click click – I canâ€™t type that word fast enough for you get the idea of how tedious this would get, but just imagine the clicking it would take to get from A to Z in a list of hundreds of artists or songs, especially if youâ€™re browsing for one specific thing.
But thatâ€™s not all – there are many things I couldnâ€™t possibly experience in my in-store trial that professional critics have now gotten a chance to say. Iâ€™ll point you to this one excellent article from the Chicago Sun-Times, and here are some of my favorite points both from the article and from others:
- Zune is incompatible with Microsoftâ€™s own Windows Media Player!
- It also wonâ€™t work with Windows Vista when it comes out in a month – awesome planning, Microsoft!
- You canâ€™t buy just one song from the â€œZune Marketplaceâ€ (Microsoftâ€™s â€œanswerâ€ to the Itunes Store.) No, you have to commit to $5 worth at once, but when youâ€™ve bought your 5 songs, you have 6.25 cents left over because Microsoft charges you 98.75 cents per song. Donâ€™t think this is to save you the consumer any money – itâ€™s to get you hooked on the Zune Marketplace because youâ€™ve constantly got extra money tied up there.
- Youâ€™re only renting the music youâ€™ve paid for. Even if youâ€™ve paid for it for 5 years, youâ€™re still renting it. What happens when you stop paying for it? It stops playing. What a deal!
- Even better, music you add to your library from your own CDs gets Zuneâ€™s proprietary bullshit Digital Rights Management added to it, as if you bought it from the download store in the first place. Meaning you canâ€™t do anything you want with the music youâ€™ve already owned for years, either.
The funny thing about this is that I keep seeing commercials for Zune and all it shows is people swaying in parks and such but never the actual player. Oh, you might glimpse it in someoneâ€™s hand, but itâ€™s rarely in focus enough to really see it. Theyâ€™re marketing it as a lifestyle choice rather than a device, and that would be fine if it really did redefine peopleâ€™s lives in such a way that made them seem so peaceful and happy, but that product already exists. Microsoftâ€™s attempt at knocking it – Ipod – out of the marketplace with these ugly, old looking advertisements (seriously – they look like they were filmed in the 70s) is laughable at best, especially when the product theyâ€™re pushing is really just going to make its users quite angry at what it prevents them from doing and how difficult it makes what should really be very easy.
So, get out and check out a Zune. As the article suggests, itâ€™s not going to be around long.