Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Zuned out

Last week I used some of my credit card miles (which build up pretty quickly when you buy spend thousands of dollars a month on plane tickets and hotels) to order myself Microsoft's answer to the iPod - the Zune.

It arrived today. My first impression was that it's quite a bit bigger than the video iPod, although I'll be using it with my Bose noise cancelling headphones so that doesn't really matter.

My second impression was that it's not quite as user friendly as the iPod, but the navigation is still pretty easy.

On the upside, it's a 30Gb device so it can comfortably hold my entire music library which is great because when you're away for weeks at a time it's impossible to predict what you're going to want to listen to. The sound quality is great and the graphics are awesome.

Two things annoy me. The first and more minor issue is that you can't sych it with Windows Media Player but instead need to install a separate program which looks almost exactly like - (drum roll please) - Windows Media Player.

The second and far more annoying problem is that my Windows Media Center PC records video files in a totally incompatible format. Yes that's right, Microsoft's supposed centre for the digital home doesn't work with Microsoft's portable player.

This was going to be my main source of video to watch on this device - I had visions of catching up on all my favourite shows as I wing my way back and forth across the Pacific - so I'm more than a little annoyed. But even more than that, I just don't understand how Microsoft could be so dumb. Synergy with their desktop products, where they own the market, is their best chance of catching Apple in the MP3 player game. So what on earth were these guys thinking?

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