Sept 15th Release The Zune HD is the latest generation of Zune, set to compete with the iPod Touch in every way. The HD is available with 16GB ($199), 32GB ($269), and 64GB ($349) of flash memory. Zune Scene goes hands on for this review.
Touch Display: The Zune HD sports a 3.3" wide aspect ratio OLED screen. You simply have to see it to appreciate how crisp and detailed images and videos appear. OLED technology is new and superior to the LCD screens used on other MP3 players, including the older Zunes, it also uses less battery power than LCD displays. The screen is touch sensitive of course and responds instantly to finger touches. It seems to be well tuned for sensitivity, only a mild touch is required. The screen resolution is not 720p but rather 480x272. The HD name comes from the fact the device can connect via a HDMI or component video dock and output a 720p signal. This is usefully for those who do not own a blu-ray player, but want to watch HD videos.
User Interface: Zune HD uses the touch screen for most interaction, however, there are three tactile buttons. On top of the device is a flush rectangular power button. On the upper left is a button that brings up volume controls, play/pause, and skip functions. The home button is large and trapezoidal. It sits at the base of the screen. The home button returns the user to the main menu during navigation. The Home screen main menu includes in this order: music, videos, pictures, radio, marketplace, social, internet, and settings.
Wifi : Full blown web browsing is available with the new Zune, along with the other typical Zune WiFi features such as wireless sync, and file sharing. The integrated web browser will flip horizontal if the Zune is rotated thanks to a tilt sensor. A soft touch QWERTY kepad can appear if the user desires to type while navigating the internet. The default search engine is Bing, however all sites such as google and yahoo can also be used.
Feel & Appearance: To get an idea of the size of the HD put a credit card in your hand, that is about the size of the screen with it's black border. It's thinner than most modern cell phones thanks to the use of flash memory rather than a hard drive. The platinum edition (as shown) has a modern industrial look with crisp lines and a brushed metal texture.
Media: The Zune Marketplace has a new section for apps. It's safe to assume Zune HD will have a good variety of games and applications as more apps become available. With 16GB-32GB of storage there is plenty of room for thousands of music files, HD videos, pictures, and programs. Another great thing is the industry transition not non-protected files. This means files purchased on iTunes can be used with the Zune. However, the Zune marketplace is well integrated and recommended over iTunes for Zune owners.
Sound: The Zune HD dominates in sound qaulity. An EQ with several presets is included. The audio output signal itself is vibrant, clear, and has no background hiss whatsoever.
Value: The Zune HD starts at $220 and quite simply has more features and functionality than any other player in that price range. A Zune vs iPod chart is available for line by line evaluation with iPod. The key features which set Zune apart are HD radio, HD video output, and the OLED screen.
Conclusion: The HD stacks up well against the iPod Touch and we are looking forward to spending lots of time with it. The touch interface is simple and intuituve, the feature list is outstanding. The only drawbacks we ran into are lack of mass storage (using Zune as hard drive) and lack of a custom EQ rather than presets. Fortunately that has not stopped us from falling in love.
Microsoft finally announced the Zune HD, it's official. Although pricing has not been released the launch timeframe will be early fall (most likely September 8th according to rumors). The Zune HD leaves behind the squircle shaped pad in favor of a 3.3" 16X9 aspect ratio OLED touch screen with 480X272 resolution. By comparison current Zunes have 320x240 resolution. The HD name comes from the fact Zune has built in HD radio, and perhaps more importantly, 720p video output for those who own HD Televisions and purchase a special dock. For colors marketing photos show two casing colors: Black and Silver.
Zune HD will have improved WiFi capabilities including a web browser based on Internet Explorer including tap to zoom technology, built-in accelerometer, and touchscreen QWERTY keyboard. Zune will get improved integration with XBOX, Zune's video marketplace will be available on XBOX Live although music files will not (yet).
Chris Stephenson of the Zune team indicated the hard drive player will go on but the smaller flash players will get phased out: "Expect to see the Zune HD...become the definitive Zune product going forward. You will continue to see the hard drive product in the market. (The Zune HD) will take over from existing flash devices."
Zune Downloads at McDonalds
Zune owners can now use free wifi at McDonalds to purchase songs from Zune Marketplace, final Zune tattoo gets revealed.
Zune 120 Video Review
Zune Scene takes a close looks at the new Zune 120 and blue flash Zune in this video. All the new features such as Wi-Fi marketplace, clock and Zune games are examined.
2009 ZuneHD Leaked
You are looking the next generation of Zune devices, complete with an oversized wide aspect ratio screen. A member of the Zune team "tweeted" the coming of new hardware for 2009. Since then our sources have given positive confimation this is the real deal so we have confidence in the leaked image.
The ZuneHD appears to lack a Zune Pad which hints at some touch screen capability. There's no confirmation of the storage capacity of the shown device, but it's expected to be competative to the iPod Touch lineup including 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB sizes.
The device itself is rumored to be smalled than the iPod Touch, although not necessarily thinner. The aspect ratio appears to 1.85:1 based on measurements taken in Photoshop. This is the native format movie theaters use. Such a screen would require content, perhaps there will be some new movie downloads available at the Zune marketplace, otherwise users would need to Rip DVD's at home. The Zune HD Price will compete with the iPod Touch. Stay tuned as more info becomes available.
New 2009 Zune Devices Coming
New Zune hardware will be coming out later in 2009 according to Zune team member Brian Seitz. He tweeted the news: “New zune hardware this year.”
Annual hardware updates are the norm for Zune, but hard economic times had some questioning. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer added doubts with this recent comment regarding the Zune hardware “The question is whether even if we [Zunes] heavily, is their profit upside. … I won’t say full steam ahead, because that implies acceleration of investment, but we’re going to sustain our investment.”
So what to expect this year? At a minimum there should be an increase in storage capacity. Toshiba has provided the hard drives for Zune in the past, and they have newer 160Gb, 240Gb, and 250Gb drives in the 1.8" size Zune uses. However, the 240 & 250 drives are thicker than the current form factor so 160 is a good bet.
For the smaller devices a 32Gb flash based player seems a reasonable estimate. On the other hand, there could be something more exotic such as a widescreen Zune iPod Touch competator. Keep your fingers crossed.
Zune Team Splits Up
The Zune team is taking the divide and conquer approach to the brand. Zune team members will divide into hardware and software segments as part of an effort to expand beyond the current platform. This reinforces the expected arrival of Zune to the cell phone market via Windows Mobile.
CNET quotes Enrique Rodriguez, vice president, Microsoft regarding the expansion: "Zune the service needs to transcend Zune the device". And regarding the current hardware: "You have to have a hero device," he said. "If you ask me how important is it from a numbers perspective, today it's ultra-important. If I do my job right, part of my job is to make it less important. Part of my job is to make sure the service comes into every device."
The split may also spell new opportunities for the hardware team such as a Touchsceen Zune. The original trademark application for the Zune brand includes everything from cell phones to pajamas and yes, even a remote controlled helicopter (ok it states radio controlled toys but that includes helicopters).
New Zunes Exceed Expectations
The official slogan for Zune is "welcome to the social", but the mission statement appears to be "meet or exceed customer expectations". Early adopters of the Zune 30 probably did not imagine the rapid development of quality software and firmware features released by the Zune team over the past two years. In fact, Zune owners all get a new Zune every year, in the form of free updates.
Hardware improvements to the new Zunes include doubled storage capacity for the new Zune 16 and a 50% increase for the Zune 120 when compared with last generation. Thickness and overall size of the players has not changed. This makes life easier for return customers with existing accessories. I am currently using a Zune 80 case for my new 120 and a Zune 4 case for my new 16. The aluminum back has changed color from silver to black and the front is now glossy rather than matte. Fingerprints appear more readily on the glossy surface, but the devices look sleek. If Batman had an MP3 player the black Zune would be it.
The new free games Hexic and Texas Hold 'Em work great with the touch sensitive Zune pad, but also function well with the directional pad on the older Zune 30. Wireless Marketplace access is intuitive, and now 9,800 McDonalds locations offer free Wifi for Zune owners. The most unexpected feature is the new "Buy from FM" option. The new Zune firmware will identify songs from the radio and listeners can tag them or even purchase a download on the spot. Other nice touches are the digital clock, new support for Audible Audiobooks, and a personal lockout code.
Newly released Zune software has been praised on all sides by the media and tech bloggers as better than iTunes. The Mix view option is the new music recommendation tool. Select an album in Zune software and the mix view will show recommendations and top listeners. The software also has greatly improved meta data control that's easy and powerful. The Marketplace offers channels which can effortlessly keep subscription based collections up to date.
In conclusion the Zune has proven it can exceed expectations with firmware and software updates while trouncing the competition with hardware. The combination of large screen, storage capacity, FM, Wifi, and touch sensitive Zune pad interface is unrivaled. For more see the 120gb Zune video review, iPod vs Zune comparison, Zune 120 and blue Zune photos, or talk it over in the Zune forum.
Gears of War Zune Nov. 7
In celebration of the upcoming Gears of of War 2 game release Microsoft is announcung a special edition Gears of War Zune.
New Zune Specs (3rd Gen)
The official release date for the next generation Zunes is Sept. 16th.
New Sizes and prices include:
Zune 120 $249
Zune 16 $199
Zune 8 $149
New firmware features will include option to tag and "buy songs from FM radio"
New Zune games become available including free Hexic and Texas Hold Em.
New support for Audible formatted media, download audiobooks for Zune.
A digital clock, optional screen lock code, and custom zune pad settings.
A new blue zune color for Zune 8 flash players. The Zune 120 and 16 are only in black.
New wireless option to download and buy songs from Zune Marketplace at Wi-Fi hot spots
Current Zune owners (older versions) can upgrade Zune software and firmware to obtain new features.
Price reduction for last year's Zunes
Zune 80 $229
Zune 4 $129
XBOX Zune Integration
Zune owners may be surprised to learn the XBOX can be used as an A/V kit for the Zune. It can also access the Zune library on PC's. With the recent drop in XBOX MSRP to $199, it may be the best Zune dock out there. Check out the updated XBOX Zune docking and integration tutorial.
Zune Games Coming
Great news for Zune owners, games are coming.
Who? Microsoft made an official announcement, no rumors or speculation.
What? XNA support for Zune along with XBOX and PC. XNA is a game development toolkit available to "do it yourself" enthusiasts for about $99 / year. You don't need to create your own games, simply take advantage of XNA games created by the user base.
When? The announcement came Feb. 20th but the exact timeline for availability is yet to be determined. The Zune team made statements in 2007 indicating gaming would be available in 2008. This is the first acknowledgment of XNA support however.
Which? The games will be available for all Zune models including the Zune 30. Touch sensitive features will be limited to the newer squircle endowed Zunes only.
How? The games will probably be available for in the Zune marketplace software for download rather than physical retail locations.
Why? The Zune brand was launched as a mobile entertainment platform rather than a strictly audio platform and will continue to evolve and expand.
More details and images at the Zune 120 review by ZuneScene.
Nokia Zune Deal in Works
Nokia is currently working with the Zune team on integration of Zune Marketplace content according to a well placed source within Microsoft. The joint development is directed at content delivery rather than a hardware device according to the source. It has long been assumed by many tech followers that Zune content and software would find it's way onto Windows Mobile devices, thereby offering competition to the unfortunately popular iPhone. The interesting thing about the Nokia Zune partnership is that Nokia does not support Windows Mobile. It appears Microsoft may be developing a two front war against the iPhone, namely Windows based smart phones and more abundant "non-smart" phones.
The source denied any knowledge of Zune phone hardware development, as he has in the past, stating "if there is a zune phone I don't know about it". He also indicated the Nokia deal would not be exclusive. Regarding development and production timelines for Nokia/Zune Marketplace integration the source claimed "it's too soon to say".
The broad picture that appears to be emerging is the future expansion of Zune content over multiple devices such as phones, PC's, XBOX's, and of course the Zune product line itself.
LEAKED! Zune Support Training
Documents for Zune 2
Our sneaky little Zune spy just sent us 47 pages of Zune 2 training documents. New details about podcasting, videos, rating and other topics are spilled out into the open. Check out the Zune Support documents.
Exclusive Heroes Video Podcast Series to Debut on Zune
Five exclusive music video podcasts are coming to the Zune marketplace free of charge. Download the first here. The first video features the title "Weightless" by Nada Surf and clips from the NBC hit series HEROES. The videos promote the the upcoming release of the official HEROES soundtrack. By subscribing to the podcast the four additional videos will be downloaded automatically leading up the the March 18th soundtrack release. The exclusive podcasts will also feature "He's Frank" by Brighton Port Authority, "Not now but Soon" by Imogen Heap , "Keeping My Composure" by the Chemical brothers, and "Man in the Long Black Coat" by Bob Dylan. Not as exciting as our close up look at the silver zune.
With little warning the Zune 8 suggested price has dropped from $199 to $179. This is great news for shoppers and may foreshadow more price drops throughout the year. Clearly if flash players are your thing this makes the Zune 8 a much better deal than the $199 Nano 8 which lacks WiFi and FM radio. Last year the Zune 30 did not get an official price drop until September so this signals an accelerated pricing schedule.
Hands on im414 Dock
The next generation of Zune speaker docks is coming, and Zune Scene gets to test the im414 from Altec Lansing. The $100 unit comes with a remote control and has optional battery power. Read the full Zune speaker dock review for im414.
Bypass 3 Play Rule
One of the early complaints about the WiFi sharing ability on the Zune was the rule that limits playback to 3 days or 3 plays on shared tracks. The Zune team eliminated the 3 day rule but left the 3 play rule intact with the latest firmware update. Many musicians who record their own music in the garage would prefer to share it free of this 3 play DRM restriction. Now there is an easy way to do it. Read the Zune 3 play bypass article.
The new Zune FAQ has been filled with the most common questions asked about the new Zune lineup. New information about the Zune marketplace, Zune hardware, availability and more are updated for the Zune 80 and flash Zunes. The blue Zune 120 and white 120gb zune could become available later this season.
Zune 120 Battery Life
The Zune team has managed to massively improve the Zune 80 battery life over the original Zune 30 battery life. The new specs indicate 30 hours of audio and 4 hours of video for the new Zune 80. The Zune 8 and Zune 4 are close behind with 24 hours audio and 4 hours of video. These tests were performed under nominal conditions, so actual user experience may be different. Zune 2 battery life improvements may be the most practical enhancement to the new lineup. If you want to hang on to your first gen Zune take a look at our reviews of the Belkin Tunepower and eZgear Powerstick.
Zune Originals Confirmed
Saturday night we were pleased to leak the inside story about Zune originals coming to the next gen Zune devices. Monday, Nov 12, Microsoft has confirmed our reports of the free Zune customization service. New Zune purchasers will be able to customize their 2nd gen devices with a collection of 27 designs from 18 international artists. Four lines of custom text can be engraved on the players. What has not been confirmed yet is what our source told us regarding the Zune 80. He indicated additional colors can be selected adding to the "you make it you" slogan for this year. UPDATE: Zune Originals is now online and indicates the Zune 80 originals are not available until December.
Zune 2 Details
1. Glass: The plastic screen has been replaced with actual glass. On a hardness scale of 1-10 where 10 is a diamond and 1 is an iPod, glass is 5.5. This is a major improvement over the Zune 30. 2. Video Out: The new Zune 80 will have a video out resolution of 720x576 maximum. This is for TV output and easily beats the original Zune's 320x240 output. The LCD itself is the same 320x240 however. Warning to Zune 4/8 shoppers, there is not video output to TV on those flash memory units. 3. Smaller: Yes the Zune 2 is much smaller in size this generation. It actually weighs less than the latest 80gb iPod. This weight difference could be and advantage for Tour de France competitors and people who don't like to weigh down the school backpack with hefty devices. 4. WiFi: Would you like to be the first on the block to sync your player from the car in the driveway? Very 007-ish, Q would be proud. 5. FM: Most players require an expensive ($49) add on accessory that sticks out the bottom of the player. Built in FM is just smart. 6. Squircle: The Zune Pad offers both tactile d-pad type control and also touch sensitivity. Have your cake and eat it too.
Our old high school math teachers would be proud to see Zune Scene cited in the Wikipedia under a math section. After a source reported to Zune Scene the new Zune navigation button would be a squircle, we've taken some time to contemplate the ultimate question: WHY, OH WHY?
1. Gaming - Zune will likely support 2D gaming in 2008 and the squircle is just a fancy name for a d-pad. It will provide better directional orientation than a circle. 2. Confusion - Too many people confuse the current round button with an iPod click wheel. Watch the mp3 booth next time you are at Best Buy and see what we mean. 3. Logo - Notice how cars have a unique icon or logo on the front of the hood? The squircle will help customers to quickly identify a Zune by the shape. 4. Price - Microsoft paid Lexicon Branding hundreds of thousands of dollars to come up with the word Zune. Squircle was on sale. 5. Image - They say sex sells and the squircle is definitely a looker. 6. Gender - Studies show men are interested in rugged geometric designs while women like circles. Why not have both? 7. The Hook - If you can't get something out of your mind, like a jingle on the radio, that is good marketing. Squircle is hard to forget. 8. Innovation - Who says Microsoft can't think stuff up now? 9. Japan - Someday Japan will be an important Zune market and Squircle fits in with the whole Pokemon theme. 10. Squirt - Steve Ballmer's idea was to call Zune to Zune transfers "squirts". Squircle forms a unique alliteration when two are combined in a sentence.
Zune 2 October Launch Confirmed
We have some exciting news on the Zune 2 from our source inside of Microsoft. We can now endorse the image leaked by Gizmodo as a legitimate representation of the Zune 2 players. We have also verified that in addition to the pink, red, and black colors an "Army Jeep Green" color will also be available for the smaller flash Zunes. Although the Zunes in the leaked image appear glossy, they will actually have the same doubleshot surface as the original Zune. The navigation button has been replaced with a new "squircle" shaped button, which is a square with rounded edges. It will not have a separate center button as the original Zune does, but the functionality will be the same. The current launch date is scheduled for October. The memory sizes will be 4 GB, Zune 8, and New Zune. We covered a lot of material in our latest tipster conversation, and have included the entire phone transcript for your reading pleasure at the link below. Take a closer look at the Zune 2 Retail Display at Target. It's full of these life size Zune brochures.
In preparation for the next generation Zunes coming out this fall Microsoft has slashed the official Zune MSRP from $249 to $199. According to the Zune team's Cesar Menendez "It’s part of the normal product lifecycle, something we’ve had on the books for months." That's a true statement, but if you read between the lines it says that new Zunes are around the corner. Apple is expected to reveal its next gen iPods this week, things are definitely going to heat up on the next gen Zune release date. Zune accessory prices may also fall as the Zune 120 case is introduced.
Zune V2 Images ?
Aug 30 - Some exciting images have surfaced at Gozmodo.com showing the upcoming 80gb, 8gb, and 4gb Zunes. Are they legit? We just placed a call with our inside source on the Zune team to find out, but got an answering machine (d'oh!). Don't worry, we can and will find out if this is the real thing. Zune Scene first broke the flash zune story of the upcoming Zunes, including the zune 8 gb and storage capacities a few months ago, skeptics and critics notwithstanding. A prankster could have faked these photos based on our leaks, but for now we say "possibly real". Whether or not the images are real, you can be certain new Zunes are coming in the next few months. We also look forward to the Zune version 2 accessories.
Zune 2.0 Production: Scorpio Get's Emergency Surgery
July 27 2007 - How can an unannounced product be delayed? Technically it can't but we just got some new info on the production schedule of the 2nd gen Zune codenamed "Scorpio" and the flash memory "Dracos". According to our source (from inside Microsoft) Draco production began July 23 as scheduled. Scorpio ran into trouble and production was delayed. A significant percentage of the hard drive based Scorpio units were experiencing continuity problems between the flex cable and pcb. In other words, a wire was coming loose. Our source went on to explain how there were emergency meetings and a new flex cable design will be implemented. The new cable will have a "S" shape (not a folded accordion shape). It should prevent tension build up during assembly and solve the problem.
We also learned that that the original production run was scheduled to be completed Aug 31 and is now pushed well into September, at least for Scorpio. Our source would not indicate a release date for the devices, but the production info is helpful because it rules out August for both devices and September for the hard drive unit. Zune 2.0 Production link
Paid Zune Sharing: Patent Pending
July 11 2007 - A recently discovered Microsoft patent application titled "Off-line Economies for Digital Media" describes how Zune owners can get paid for sharing music. The Zune MP3 player has a unique ability to transfer songs wirelessly from Zune to Zune. According to the patent, Microsoft would like to erect a system by which pirated music (yes the term pirated is used in the document several times) can be transferred to other Zune devices, and the sender can be paid a sales commission. Of course this would work with legally obtained music also.
A common misconception is that iTunes is the 3rd largest distributor of music overall and the largest online distributor. Unfortunately the truth is that illegal download sites distribute more music than iTunes, Walmart, Amazon, and Best Buy put together. The technology proposed by Microsoft would essentially allow them to capitalize on this by "encrypting" songs transferred offline (in other words Zune to Zune). The person receiving the file could use it three times, then be forced to pay for the song. Once the song is paid for sales commission go to the sender and Zune Marketplace while the bulk of the money would go to the copyright holder. The system would essentially convert illegal music into legal music. It would also give a strong retail presence to Zune by creating 1 million traveling salesmen of all ages.
Our source from inside the
the hallowed halls of Microsoft gave us some fresh leaks on the next generation Zune. He indicated the codename is "Scorpio", big brother to the
flash based Zune code named "Draco". The source indicated the storage capacity is 80GB for Scorpio. We challenged that and asked if he was sure
there would be no 100 or 120 GB Zune. The answer was blunt: "No, it will be 80". Perhaps the most exciting news is that mass production of Scorpio will
begin at the very end of July. Currently all Scorpios and Dracos at Zune headquarters are pre-production units. The only timeline we have for launch is that Draco and Scorpio will be ready for the 2007 holidays.
The source gave no info on a European launch, or other key questions, even when enhanced interrogation techniques were applied.
The original Zune was codenamed Argo from Greek Mythology. Scorpio and Draco share the Greek naming convention and will be Pyxis enabled devices. Pyxis is the codename for the WiFi functionality used to transfer files between devices. Now to anyone bearing a Scorpio tattoo we say: Welcome to the Social.
Important Update: For purposes of clarification we feel the need to state the Scorpio will be a hard drive based unit not a flash based unit. The Zune 80 review page includes video of the device.
June 18 2007 - After our leaks regarding the flash Zune, and Zune factory were confirmed we decided to seek some new info regarding future Zune products. Once again we will protect our sources, but be assured, this info comes from inside Microsoft. The codename for the flash Zune player is Draco. Keep in mind this is not the marketing name, that name is still unknown to us. Draco will be available in two sizes, specifically 8GB Zune models. These numbers are eerily analogous to the iPhone storage options. As we stated in our previous story, this unit will be available for the 2007 holiday and sport unique features such as video playback and WiFi.
Red Zune Arrives
November 13th is the official Zune release date for the new Zune 2. The limited edition red Zune (also known as watermelon Zune). According to Zune marketing the device will be available exclusively though Amazon.com and Target. We had high hopes for a green doubleshot but it appears to be clear. If red is not your color check out the special Halo 3 or Pink Zune limited edition colors. Of course the flash Zune will also be out this year and will probably cost less than the hard drive based players. Our Zune 2 Review will be ready for release, along with Zune 2 accessories.
Zune Scene Celebrates
Less than 6 months after the release of the Zune in November 2006 Zune Scene forums
have reached a total membership exceeding 10,000. This type of rapid community growth is unprecedented in the MP3 player space
and bodes well for the future of the device.
During this time Zune Scene has published dozens of Zune Accessory reviews, Zune photos, and even broke the news to the world on the upcoming flash Zune and next generation Zune coming out later this year. Our Zune vs. iPod comparison chart has experienced over 1.7 million hits and the entire website has registered over 20 million pageviews since it was registered in July last year. The site was even ranked #1 in Google for the word Zune during the busy November and December holiday months. Much to Microsoft's relief Zune Scene was eventually passed by the official Zune.net in internet search rankings. Our mission remains to host the worlds most exciting Zune forum and review every Zune accessory that we can get our grubby little hands on. We'd like to thank our mothers and all the great forum members and volunteer moderators who keep the fire alive. Also congratulations to the infamous Zune Insider for getting engaged. Somewhere out there is a happy young lady with a pink Zune duck taped to her ring finger.
Zune 2.0 Factory
sees all, even the new Zune 2.0 and Flash Zune factory in China. Read the amazing story of how the factory was found and get a better look at the construction progress in the full Zune Factory article.
Zune 2.0 and Flash Zune Details Leaked
April 10 2007 - The chances of a Zune Scene editor running into a Microsoft Zune employee in the wild are pretty slim, but recently the stars were aligned and I got the inside scoop on the Zune 2.0 and also the flash based Zune coming out in 2007. I will attempt to preserve the identity of the Microsoft employee, he had no idea I write for Zune Scene, no idea at all. The whole conversation occurred on a business trip, you see, we Zune Scene editors have day jobs and are hard to spot in the wild also.
Want to improve the battery life of your Zune by several hours? We review the Belkin Tunepower for Zune in this feature. The Tunepower has a built in battery and kickstand, we recommend the unit for frequent flyers.
DLO Homedock Review
Zune Scene gets hands on the brand new DLO HomeDock for Zune.
We consider this dock to have the best remote control out there and we explain how to dock without
taling the case off your Zune.
Zune Scene gets hands on with the Altec Lansing M604 Zune speaker dock. The M604 is a super convenient way to charge, sync, and listen to the Zune. Aesthetically the dock looks great in any room with it's silver/black finish and sleek styling. The sound quality is good at lower volumes and the footprint allows it to be placed in any room in the house. The M604 has a niche as the lowest price Zune dock on the market and comes from the very reputable Altec Lansing brand.
We get hands on with some of the most creative Zune cases on the market from Speck. From left to right are the Executive Leather, ToughSkin, Active Sport Lite, and Canvas Sport. We've been using the ToughSkin model for 2 months and finally get the chance to meet it's siblings. Speck has come up with more winners so check out the full detailed Speck case review for a closer look at each model.
Microsoft Submits Docs to FCC for Prototype Device
Despite denials by Microsoft that a Zune Phone is getting ready to hatch, a recent filing to the Federal Communications Commission reveals that some type of prototype device is in the works. What’s unusual is that the document comes from a consortium of Microsoft, Intel, HP, Dell, and Phillips rather than a single source.
The device has the ability to bypass the telecom companies all together and use WiMAX VOIP (routing of phone calls through the internet). WiMAX is similar to Wi-Fi because of high bandwidth capabilities, but the range is much greater than Wi-Fi making the technology feasible for cell phone use. The theoretical bandwidth would be orders of magnitude greater than the technology on the upcoming iPhone, potentially giving a large advantage to the device over it’s assumed competition. Although we can not be sure how the device will be branded and marketed, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on as a possible Zune Phone architecture.
Microsoft Response to 2007 Zune Phone Rumors
A recent tip was given to the tech site Crunchgear.com providing some details and launch date for the the Zune Phone. The tipster identified the following points:
• It will be a smartphone
• It will not use Windows Mobile
• It will connect to Zune Marketplace
• The interface will be similar to the Zune MP3 Player
• It will connect and sync to the XBOX 360 wirelessly
• It will be available in 2007 for the holidays
Shortly after the rumor spread through the internet the official Zune Insider blog responded with a post:
"Zune Rumor Du Jour: Phone - It makes sense that Zune could be a part of a phone experience. But there has been no determination of how that will be executed or when it will happen."
The statement attempts to calm the buzz around the Zune Phone rumor but does not deny the existence of a phone, or the feature list proposed by Crunchgear. In fact the original trademark filing for the Zune brand specifically includes a cell phone device as part of the brand. A 2007 Zunephone launch is feasible, the timing would be well suited to compete with the June launch of the iPhone.
What do they all have in common? Very few have ever seen them. Until recently very little was known about the rare orange Zune. Microsoft employees on the Zune team were each given a pink or orange Zune as a gift. They also inform us that 100 of each color will be slipped into a retail box and sold at random. Each comes with a brown card indicating the limited edition number. We just got orange Zune 100 of 100, it's not an employee version. On the back are the words "Welcome to the Social. November 14 2006".
So where did we find the rare unit? Oddly enough Walmart had one on display for the world to see and a family member was there to snag it. Now the only question is to sell or not to sell. The first Pink Zune on ebay sold for a whopping $761. Check out the new orange Zune photo gallery to get a better look at the beauty.
Flash On a 2007 Zune? Yes
No MP3 player lineup is complete without a flash memory option. For every hard drive based player sold about 2 flash players are purchased. In a recent interview with Reuters Jason Reindorp spoke of additional devices coming from Microsoft:
"The industry moves in this sort of Christmas to Christmas cycle. So you can expect that there will be more devices, more features in the market at that point," he said.
Players based on flash media are physically smaller and often much less expensive than hard drive based devices. The downside is that storage is often limited to 8 GB or less. Movies and photos are not practical on the small form factor but there is plenty of room for digital music, FM radio and even Wi-Fi file sharing. Why do we think Zune will toss it's hat in the flash arena? It's not really their choice. The market drives consumer electronics and the market likes cheaper flash players.
The Future of Zune According to Microsoft
Zune Scene Dec 30 2006
We were recently asked by a shareholder how the Zune would effect his Microsoft stocks. "It's not a factor right now, but it will be important down the road. Zune is a family of devices, not a MP3 player" we responded. Quite a bit is known about this future family of Zune. For example, Microsoft has listed the following items in the Zune trademark filing (among other things):
- hand-held units for playing electronic games
- cell phones; computer software for operating cell phones; peripherals and accessories for use with cell phones
- multimedia player
- hardware and software for connecting multimedia players to existing audiovisual systems in homes, offices and automobiles
- entertainment and communications devices for recording, organizing, transmitting, manipulating and reviewing text, data, audio, image and video files
- advertising services
- online retail store featuring multimedia players
- electronic transmission of data files, documents, music and videos over the Internet and wireless networks
providing wireless access to computer networks and the Internet
That's a lot to swallow, and these items may not all materialize immediately, but Microsoft executives have already confirmed the expanding role of the Zune platform. Let's review some recent quotes:
"A Zune phone is definitely part of the future of this brand." -Chris Stephenson, GM for Zune
"We're actively seeking partners in the phone business" -Steve Ballmer Microsoft CEO
"we actually really think about Zune more as a platform than a device" - J Allard, VP
"Zune is an ecosystem and one part is the music device." - Bill Wittress, Zune Biz Dev
"We are very well funded and supported at the most senior levels of the company." - Bill Wittress, Zune Biz Dev
"Additional Zune-branded devices will follow, including a portable video player and, potentially, a portable game device..." -from Billboard Interview with Chris Stevenson, GM for Zune
We had a chance to speak with several members of the Zune team in person at the Nov. 9th LA Zune preview and it was uncanny how they never referred to the Zune as "the Zune" it was always called the "Zune Audio Device", "Zune Player", or "Zune multimedia player". In other words Zune is a blanket term for future connected products, not a single device.
In conclusion the Zune is not about turning a quick profit, it's about being in place for the next wave of technology and entertainment. Imagine sitting on a surfboard seeing the "big one" on the horizon. You have to paddle into position and be ready before you can ride. Consider the example of XBOX live, it's now the number 1 paid movie download service in the world because 5 years ago somebody decided to make a connected console.
Zune HD Dock Review
For all those who do not yet own a blu-ray player, Zune HD with HDMI dock may be just what you are looking for. Check the the Zune HD Dock Review.
NEW - Side by Side Chart
Apple may have missed the sweet spot by not releasing a 16GB version. Check out the Zune vs iPod chart and see how the features stack up side by side.
New Zune HD Video Preview
Zune HD Cases Reviewed
Looking for a sweet new Zune HD Case? Check out the DLO Zune HD Cases.
Zune Upgrade Plan Coming June Soon
Update June 30th: Our source indicates the upgrade plan is still coming, however the necessary internal paperwork was not completed in time for a June timeframe. Hang on to those Zune 30's a little longer folks.
Microsoft is preparing to start a hardware upgrade plan in June according to Zune Scene sources. The upgrade plan is for Zune owners who want more capacity, less capacity, a different color (only red or black will be initially available), or perhaps just a newer Zune. The plan is specially targeted at owners of damaged OOW (out of warranty) 30GB Zunes according to the source. Below is the price matrix for the upgrades:
Zune 120 GB Red/Black
Zune 80 GB Red/Black
Zune 16 GB Red/Black
Zune 8 GB Red/Black
Zune 4 GB Red/Black
The source also indicated that extended warranty purchase for all Zune 30's will no longer be available, the upgrade plan appears to be a sort of replacement for that option. Fortunately all Zune upgrades will come with a full year warranty. Wondering where to get the upgrade? Not at a retail store. Upgrades should be requested on the Zune support line 1-877-GET-ZUNE (1-877-438-9863) but don't forget to wait until Microsoft announces the Zune upgrade plan before you call.
Zune Marketplace Updates: June
Zune Marketplace will get some new features in June according to our Zune Scene sources.
• Zune Pass subscribers will be able to stream full length music files (not just 30 seconds).
• A new feature of the site will enable Zune users to "follow" an artist. It's like the "Become a Fan" option on Facebook which will enable users to be updated with the latest on their favorite artists including new information and concert/tour dates in their location.
It appears the Zune team is firing on all cylinders with the new updates, hardware upgrade plan, and of course Zune HD on the way.
We have some unconfirmed specifications for the upcoming ZuneHD widescreen player.
Screen: 3.3" OLED Touchscreen Storage: 8GB, 16GB, 32GB Connectivity: HDMI out, USB, WIFI Radio: HD Radio Internet: Web Browser & Zune Marketplace ZuneHD Release Date: Early Fall, possibly September Release Locations: International Chip: NVIDIA Tegra
These specifications outpace the touted iPod Touch in several areas showing that ZuneHD is going to put up a fight for the touchscreen on the Zune HD release date in September.
If you've been wanting a Zune but couldn't let go of your existing iTunes collection your happy day has come.
At the Macworld conference Apple announced iTunes is going DRM-Free, and old files can be "cleansed" of the horrible DRM (Digital Rights Management) shackles. To quote Apple.com "You don’t have to buy the song or album again. Just pay the 30¢ per song upgrade price." What's the upgrade? The bitrate is increased from 128 Kbps to 256 Kbps and the file becomes compatible with non-iPod players such as Zune, Sansa, and Archos.
What brought about this change of heart? iTunes was suffering from competition from the likes of Amazon.com and Zune Marketplace which both offer DRM-Free tracks and higher bitrates. Plus Apple gets to cash in now on the upgrade price. In the long term this is good news for Zune. It opens a new market segment of music lovers who were previously locked into iPod hardware. It also suggests that Zune could move towards becoming 100% DRM-Free in the future.
10 Zune Tips for New Owners
1. Before you sync the first time make sure your mp3 files are tagged for artist, album, and genre. Right click on an album and select edit to adjust tags in the Zune software. Power users may want to try this free tagging software which easily numbers tracks also.
2. Before you rip a CD go to: settings, rip menu, and set format to mp3 and bitrate to 256 Kbps. MP3 files are preferable to WMA because they are a more universal format and will work with other players.
3. If the Zune behaves improperly or locks up give it a reboot. Hold down the small round button on the left (back button) and hold the Zune pad up at the same time until the reboot starts (about 2 seconds).
4. In Zune software settings, turn off auto album art update if you are using files not obtained from the Zune Marketplace. The auto album art feature rarely works right unless the album "meta" tags are perfect (see tip 8 for art).
5. If you own an XBOX check out this Zune XBOX docking tutorial.
6. Encode video in mp4 format for the next gen Zunes and WMV for Zune 30. We recommend this free converter including our very own tutorial.
7. Tag audiobook mp3 files with the podcast genre, this will enable the resume option which is equivalent to book marking.
8. Find missing album art using right-click, find album info, within the Zune software. If that fails use google image search.
9. Try the wireless sync option, it can be enabled in the settings, device menu. This will require a wireless router in your home.
10.Register for the Zune forums. Zune Scene has thousands of members from around the world which means help is available 24/7.
Zune 30's Hit by Y2K Like Bug
Reports are coming into to the Zune Scene forums regarding a worldwide Zune 30 glitch that hit Dec. 31 2008 disabling the devices. Users can power on the Zune but it remains unresponsive. This problem does not appear to affect the later models such as Zune 4, 8, 16, 80 or 120.
Update 1: Microsoft has reported that the issue will be resolved when the Zune 30 battery completely drains then recharges. This will reset the clock and resolve the problem. Microsoft has attributed the issue to a leap year clock discrepency.
Update 3: Any programming gurus out there may want to take a peek at the guilty source code and suggest a fix so this doesn't happen again in 4 years. Interestingly line 59 of the the code suggests Zune will cease to function in 2080 once and for all. Bummer.
Fix Frozen Zune 30 Tutorial
Zune 30 owners may follow this newly created tutorial to fix a frozen Zune. The process requires a very small phillips screwdriver and about 5 minutes. For those who prefer to wait, simply let the Zune battery die 100% then recharge the Zune. This has the same effect as the tutorial procedure for disconnecting the battery.
Zune Alarm Clock Accessory
No Zune is complete without a new dock. The ZN9 currently stands as the only available alarm clock for Zune, and comes loaded with features. It works with all Zune sizes, read the full iHome Zune Dock Review for details, photos, and sound quality info.
Zune Software on Mobile Phones
Microsoft CEO Ballmer gave the strongest indication yet that Zune software will come to Windows Mobile Phones. During and interview with CIO Ballmer said:
"Zune software will also be ported to and be more important not just with the hardware but on the PC, on Windows Mobile devices, etc."
The statement comes as no surprise, tech followers have long expected Zune software to appear on one of the largest cell phone platforms in the world. In fact there are five WinMo phones out there for every one iPhone. Continued: Zune Mobile.
Belkin Zune 120 Cases
Belkin has a great pair of Zune 120 cases (they also fit Zune 80) available now. The Belkin Leather sleeve and Sport Zune case are covered in the Belkin Zune casereview. For more reviews from other brands visit the mainZune casepage.
How to Convert Zune Videos: Top 2 Free Converters
Now that the Zune 120 is available the question is how to fill it. Zune software accepts .mp4, h264, and .wmv video files for playblack on all Zunes. Plenty of converters are available with prices between $25-$60 but there are two free converters recommended by Zune Scene that will convert a variety of files such as .avi, .mpeg, .flv and .vob. See the Free Zune Video Converter how to.
Blue Zune Photos
Zune Scene editors are proud to present our blue Zune photo review.
Zune 120 Photos
Get a close up look at the new Zune 120 compared to the Zune 80.
New Zune Software is Available
When you launch the Zune software you will be promted to accept new terms of service and update the software. If you can't sign in right now, or are installing for the first time, download the zune software from this link.
zKick Hands on Review
Kicker is set to release the zKick speaker dock May 1st 2008, but Zune Scene got some hands on time with the device a month early. This dock works with all Zune sizes (80,30,8,4) and has a MSRP of $350 although early buyers can get $50 off. Read the full blown Kicker zKick review. This is not your typical Zune dock.
Zune vs iPod Comparison Table
We have a full blown Zune vs iPod comparison chart for the new 120GB and smaller flash players. This year Zune has new Wi-Fi features, new capacities, and software. Apple just announced the iPod lineup, including an accelerometer for the nano. Which is for you?
Zune Case Reviews
New cases for the Zune 80 and flash players are starting to trickle in. As the Zune 120 case arrives at Zune Scene headquarters count on us for hands on reviews and expert advice on Zune cases and accessories. Just in are reviews for the Zune 80 case by Microsoft and Zune 8 case by DLO.
Zune 2 Hands On Review
Nov 13th Release After the first year of feedback and learning from experience the Zune team is back with new players. They clearly caught the competition off guard, and in some respects, even surprised me a little by making something sleek and sexy with a Zune logo on it.
Display: The Zune 80 sports a 3.2" diagonal LCD and the flash players get a 1.8" diagonal. What this means for the 80 is a screen nearly double the size of the iPod 80 LCD. Resolution for both units is 320x240 pixels, and in both cases the pixel density (or sharpness) is 2x-4x times higher than the best laptop screens out there. Like last year's model, the Zune is operated in portrait mode then flips horizontal when playing video. New this year is a glass LCD which makes the screen twice as scratch resistant as a plastic LCD. Brightness has 3 settings and the images look amazing, crisp, and colorful. Reflections are more obvious in the glass screen especially when viewing at a side angle, but not noticeable from a direct front view.
If you have 20 to 100 GB of MP3 files, and don't even know how to sift through it, this may be the solution. At the Microsoft Techfest a researcher demonstrated a "smart shuffle" system that pays attention to what you listen to and generates a smart playlist based on your preferences. If you have a Zune card you may already be aware that your music habits are being "observed" and even publicized. This firmware feature would be independent of the Zune card and would use meta tags including things like genre, tempo, and artist to create a smart shuffle playlist on the fly.
Source: The Zune Could Have Smart Shuffle
Zune 3 Concept
We know little about the Zune 3 except that meetings have already begun involving the design team. The big question at hand is whether Zune will compete with the iPhone and iPod Touch devices. Now that Google has thrown it's hat in the ring with "android" and the iPhone seems popular, will Zune join the fray? See the Zune 3 concept desiged by Teccom747.
Zune 2 Sales Report
People have voted with their wallets and the verdict is in. The Zune 80 and discounted brown Zune are hot, the flash players are not. ZuneScene.com has created a graph showing orders taken between Nov 13th and Nov 24th. Although the Zune 80 has low availability, it's more popular than all the flash player sizes and colors combined. It's also obvious that the Zune 30 is selling better than the next gen players. This is due to the free firmware updates for last year's models, and attractive pricing. Click on the above image for an expanded view of the pie graph.
We estimate that if not for the Zune 80 shortage more orders would have been placed for the 80gb player than the brown 30. There is no shortage excuse for the Zune 4 and Zune 8, they are lagging behind in demand only. Among the flash players black is the most popular followed by pink. Further discussion on the Zune 2 sales report is in this forum thread.
Zunecards Enabled in Forums
Got a Zunecard? Add it to your signature in the Zune Scene forums today. No purchase or Zune is required. Sign up at Zune.net, download the new Zune software and your Zunecard will show us what you listen to.
Premium vs Basic Earphones
If your premium Zune earbuds are sounding really bad there is a reason. The "in ear" style earphones that come will the Zune 80 must form a complete seal with the ear to prevent loss of lower frequncies. Read the Zune Premium Earphones Review to see how they compare to the regular earphones and how to use them properly.
Zune Tattoo Guy Seeks to Change Legal Name to...
The same man who shocked the gadget world with his 3 Zune tattoos now seeks to change his name to Microsoft Zune. I am not talking about his forum name mszunefan. He wants to change his legal name from Steven Smith to Microsoft Zune. After some brief research he has discovered that trade names can be used as legal names if no profit is made from the name change. Get the whole story from the horses mouth.
Zune Defeats Wii
Forget the Red Sox, Zune has just won CNet's most wanted gadget poll. The new Zune has rocketed to the top of the pack weeks before the November 13th launch. Word is getting out about the larger glass LCD screen and thinner, smaller size of the Zune 80. Microsoft has invested heavily in R&D to make sure Zune defeats the competition in every aspect. A 27% reduction in size leaves the Zune lighter than the 80gb iPod and it's still scratch resistant. Existing Zune owners are prepared to receive, free of charge, new Zune 2 firmware features including wireless Wifi sync and 1 click podcast subscription. Read more about the CNet poll here in the Zune Forums and give us your opinion.
New Zune Accessories
The new first and third-party zune accessories will usher in the next generation of Zune digital media players, which will be on shelves Nov. 13. An expanded third-party accessory partners program is coming and Microsoft is teaming up with leading manufacturers to offer a wide selection of products created exclusively for Zune. The Zune team is collaborating directly with 23 accessory partners to ensure customers have a number of accessory options, complementing and enhancing their Zune experience.
Zune Spy on the Loose
In June of 2007 our very own Zune spy leaked information regarding the internal code names and also storage capacities of the Zune 2 devices. According to the source there would be a new 80gb Zune and also new 4/8gb Zunes with flash memory. The secret internal codenames were revealed as "Scorpio" and "Draco". Four months later these codenames appear on the layer structure of press images downloaded directly from Zune.net. The above snapshot shows a file called ZuneSoftware.tiff opened in Adobe Photoshop software. Although our spy could have guessed the correct storage capacities for the upcoming devices, the only way he could know the codenames would be direct internal knowledge. Our source also predicted other key features such as all four colors of the flash Zune 2, the new Zune Pad, the larger screen, and reduced thickness for the Zune 80.
The Oct 2 press release by Microsoft
confirmed all these features, and also made the Zune spy of no more use for this generation. But, as long as new Zune devices keep coming out, the Zune spy will be watching, and waiting.
Permalink: Zune Spy
Microsoft CEO Visits Zune Scene Forums!
Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft, heir apparent to the Bill Gates dynasty has actually visited the Zune Scene forums. It is an honor and distinct privilege to have him among us, listening, and sharing his knowledge. He said "Zune Scene is one of the best of many, many, many independent fan sites". How right you are Mr. Ballmer sir! You can bet we will be on our best behavior knowing you could log in at any moment. We love you and trust the Zune to your care. Check out Steve Ballmer's personal blog for more on zune.com
Zune Phone Possibility
High level Zune phone statements keep coming. The most recent, from CFO of Microsoft's entertainment and devices division Mindy Mount gets added to our collection this week:
"It wouldn't be unreasonable to think at some point there might some integrated thing." -Mindy Mount
"We're actively seeking partners in the phone business" -Steve Ballmer Microsoft CEO (during Zune interview)
"A Zune phone is definitely part of the future of this brand." -Chris Stephenson, GM for Zune
The most likely scenario in our opinion would be the incorporation of Zune software within the Windows Mobile operating system. On the other hand, the Zune team may prefer to team with Samsung on a custom device like the touchscreen Samsung phone shown above.
Zune DRM Stripper
These days it's hard to keep digital media locked up in any format. Our Zune ears recently heard tell of a program that strips DRM off of tracks purchased from the Zune Marketplace, or traded via Wi-Fi. What makes this more significant is the optional Zune subscription which allows users to download almost all the Zune Marketplace.
We decided to download and test the Zune DRM stripper for ourselves to see if it actually works. We were 100% successful with the Zune crack on marketplace files and even files transferred via Zune to Zune wifi. DRM stands for digital rights management and is meant to prevent pirating. Zune DRM Stripper Full Story
And the Winner is....
Find out who the winner is as the iPhone launches across the USA. Zune Scene steps into a parallel universe on Jan 29 to determine the true future of mobile electronics.Read the full iPhone vs Zunesaga.
Tattoo Guy Invited to Redmond
The tattoo guy has managed to put Zune on the map of tech culture. Shown above is the second Zune tattoo with the logo from the original zune-arts.com music video. News of the second tattoo was so hot the Zune Scene forum server actually had to be upgraded to handle the commotion. Now "mszunefan" has been invited to Redmond and will be interviewed by Microsoft's channel 10. Word has it that across the pond the queen is considering him for knighthood.
Read the forum post here.
World's First Zune Tattoo
Just when you thought you've seen it all, somebody goes and gets a Zune tattoo. Even the color gradient has a nice magenta to orange transition to it just like the Zune logo. To learn more about this amazing viral marketing effort (or legitimate act of devotion?) check out the original thread here at the Zune Scene forum.
Fortte Zune Case Review
Fortte has a nice slection of colored Zune cases. In this review we take a detailed look at the Sea Kiwi edition. This case has some unique features including a removeable cover and credit card storage area. Read the full Fortte Zune case review.
iFrogz Zune Case
Not everything that starts with the letter "i" is bad. In this review we take a close look at the iFrogz Zune case with it's innovative rubber band and colorful lineup.
DLO FM Transmitter
DLO has released the new Transdock Micro which is a nifty device for listening to the Zune in your car. This review is a must read for those who commute to work or school.
Zune Owners tell it like it is. Read all the Zune Reviews These are real consumers who spent real money on a Zune.
Zune Product Manager= Slacker
Matt Jubelirer's picture has been removed from Zune.net and according to reports he left the company in August to work for Slacker. Zune Scene had a chance to meet with Matt at the Hollywood Zune preview event and talk with him on and off the record about the Zune project. Zune Scene recorded several videos of Matt. Of course the media will see this as a bad omen for the Zune, but the fact is Matt worked for Apple on the iPod products before signing up with Microsoft. In both cases he left a promising product behind. We wish Matt the best of luck (slacker), hopefully we'll get to meet again, maybe for a "slackerscene" interview.
Zune XBOX Game Network
April 19 2007 Microsoft filed the following patent. It reveals a vision of XBOX Live expanded onto the Zune and PC in a single unified network:
Continue reading about the new possible
Pink Zune Photo Review
Zune Scene does a photo review of the new baby pink Zune and it's unique packaging. The the chrome metal trim is a different color than previously released Zunes. Take a look at the Pink Zune
The EZGear Powerstick for Zune is an external power supply that will charge your Zune wherever you go. The unit requires 4 AA batteries (which are not included). The Zune battery is 800 mAh (milliamp hours), by comparison a set of 4 NiMH rechargeable batteries will total 10,000 mAh or more. Alkaline and NiCAD cells will hold about 6,000 mAh. On paper the charger should increase the battery life of the Zune about 6x - 10x, however read the full hands on Zune External Battery review to see how it tested.
Metal & Crystal Zune Cases
In this review Zune Scene gets hands on with two rock hard cases, the aluminum case from ZuneOne and crystal case from 22Moo.
Hard cases are ideal for scratch resistance and also happen to be a very economical alternative to leather. To find out which one of these cases cost us a mere $4.99 and how it looks and functions read the full metal and crystal Zune case review.
Hands On VAF Octavio 1
The Octavio 1 is currently in a field of it's own as the only high end Zune speaker dock on the market. The Australian based company VAF Research has a long history of making speakers for component audio systems and has brought it's experience to the table as a Designed for Zune official partner.
Octavio features 100 real watts of inbuilt power amplifiers, a huge 8” bass diaphragm, two 5.25” long linear travel woofers with high damping synthetic rubber roll surrounds, low stray magnetic field, very powerful magnetic motors, and high power voice coil. Two fluid damped, fabric dome tweeters with powerful, linear neodymium magnetic motors, and high power voice coils.
The only thing better than a Zune is a bigger 80GB Zune of course. The 80GB version costs $489.98 total and has no warranty from Microsoft. Compared to limited edition pink Zunes that sell on ebay for $800+ we think the 80 Gigger is a steal. Ipodmods.com offers replacement hard drives in 30GB, 40GB, 60GB and 80GB sizes. They even offer free installation with the purchase of a drive. Our drive of choice was the Toshiba 80GB MK8009GAH which sells for around $240. In this story we cover the 80GB Zune inside and out including dimensions, comparisons, structural weakness, and how to install a larger drive at home. Read the full story: 80GB Zune Hands On Review
Build a Zune AV Cable: $1.53
If you have a spare AV cable in the house and $1.53 burning a hole on your pocket the time has come to make a Zune AV cable. This cable will allow you to connect your Zune to a TV and home stereo without forking out money for the Zune dock or XBOX 360 dock. Read Tutorial
XBOX Zune Docking
The XBOX 360 can perform all the functions of a Zune Dock home AV kit. It can charge the Zune batteries and access Zune music, photos and videos. The XBOX controller can be used as a remote control to navigate the Zune folders. Unlike the official Zune dock, you can leave your Zune inside your aftermarket case while docked. Read about XBOX Zune Docking
Incipio Zune Case Reviews
The Incipio lineup features Nylon, Microsuede, and Leather Kickstand cases in a variety of colors. Prices for the Incipio cases range from $14.99 - $19.99 and they are avaiable now. Zune Scene gets hands on in the Incipio Zune Case Review
DLO Zune Case Reviews
Zune Scene gets hands on with the full DLO Zune case line up. Read about the Jam Jacket, Sport Jacket and Deluxe leather case. Prices for the DLO cases range from $19.99 - $34.99 and they are available for online and retail purchase. Read the DLO Zune Case Review
Zune to Zune transfer of Movies, .Zip, PDF and all other files
Instructions are included here at the Zune Tutorials page. The Zune device will appear in "My Computer" with some registry changes. Instructions are given on adding and transferring various file types via Wi-Fi
Zune Dock & AV Kit Review
The Zune Home AV kit includes the dock, remote, cables, and AC charger for a retail price of $99 (although it can be found online for about $80). The primary function of the kit is to put the Zune screen on your TV and the Zune audio on your home system. The dock also charges the player and has a stand in the rear for the remote control.
Read Full Zune Dock Review->
L.A. Zune Preview Videos
Zune Scene has full coverage of the Los Angeles preview event. Videos include ALL the Zune accessories, Zune Wi-Fi, interviews and much more..
Zune is not compatible with Mac operating systems but don't tell that to this Zune/Mac fan. Read Zune on Mac
VAF Zune Octavio
Get the insider scoop and new photos of the VAF Octavio Q&A with founder of VAF
Where did the word Zune come from? A better question is how much did the word cost. Microsoft hired Lexicon Branding to research and develop a brand. A few hundred thousand dollars later "Zune" was born. The word is considered to be youthfull and exciting, thanks to the Z and the short single syllable formation.
Game Zune is the unreleased handheld from Microsoft. Release date is expected 36 months after the 30gb Zune.
zune is a Microsoft Trademark yada yada we are not affiliated with them in any way
but we do occasionally build sand castles on Mr. Gate's white beach sand. (at night)