Zune it will work…..
November 15, 2006, 1:02 pm
Filed under: Consumer Electronics, ipod, media, Music, Technology and Gadgets, zune

Okay installation and use:

Install started off on a bad foot, hanging a brand new Windows XP machine with a clean Dell OEM install of the OS…followed shortly by the fact that the device, if plugged in while booting the machine, disabled the keyboard. The installation itself went cleanly enough the second time around, though it was interesting that the firmware out of the box didn’t support wifi, and required an immediate patch.

Usability of the Zune software isn’t that bad, except for account management, where figuring out what to do to exercise the free 14 day Zune Pass takes some guess work and poking around…

Documentation in general is really sparse, with most of the printed matter included in the box, including all of the supposed Product Guide, being taken up with legal disclaimer. The quick start guide is the only printed info that is useful, and it doesn’t cover much….

Oh and the whole identity management system for using the Zune software is dependent on Microsoft Live, which failed to locate my existing Live user id in 2 of 4 attempts to login.

One final issue, the use of a 5 way rocker switch (a la your favorite TV remote) is a nice way to avoid Apple’s (and possibly others’) patents, the lack of a continuous scrolling device makes navigation chunky within songs or videos. You can’t move back to a specific point in a track, you jump back or ahead by 10-15 seconds. There may be a fine tuned solution but again, no way to figure that out from the documentation.

Overall, while the device experience is not much different than an iPod, the Zune software and account management is much less user friendly than iTunes, and is complicated and poorly documented. Whole lotta money on marketing and packaging and not enough on software usability and documentation [if the usability was better, the documentation wouldn’t be necessary, but unfortunately for us….]


1 Comment so far
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“… is much less user friendly than iTunes.”

I think you just summed it up right there — if improvements aren’t made, what’s the point of a “me too” product?

Comment by justin

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