Why I’m Switching from iPod to Zune

Geek!This is Commander Lock’s submission for the HP Magic Giveaway. Feel free to leave comments for this article as you see fit – your feedback is certainly welcomed! If you’d like to submit your own how-to, what-is, or top-five list, you can send it to me. Views and opinions of this writer are not necessarily my own:

WARNING: There are opinions in this article which critique popular products under the Apple brand. This warning is for your own consideration. Though everything in this article is for entertainment purposes, all the opinions stated below are my own, and if you want to try and convince me otherwise, please do, as I appreciate other’s opinions. And please, hold the virtual tomatoes until the end. Thank you, and enjoy.

  1. The way Apple ported iTunes for Windows was done quite poorly. It loads slow, takes up lots of resources, and is a pain in general. The store is nice, and I’ve bought songs and games from it, but the software itself is not getting high marks for performance or looks. ITunes has one color, no customization of appearances, and when not in its native OS X environment, it looks drab and a bit out of place. This is not to say it’s a bad-looking application, as I’m sure in OS X it looks fantastic with everything else having the same “Aqua” style – but in Windows OSes, specifically Vista and its Aero interface, it looks cut-and-paste from the OS X version, with little effort used in the transition. Performance of iTunes in Windows OSes has been pretty dismal for me, too. It takes a while to load up, pretty slow at importing songs and ripping CDs (sounds weird, but compared to the Zune, iTunes ripping is slow as molasses on a cold February morning), and so on.
  2. The Zune device itself, specifically the 16GB 3rd-gen Flash model, is pretty appealing right now. On Amazon, this model costs only $165.51 without shipping & handling rates, and I will admit I am a sucker for low prices. Getting back to the device itself, I have used Zunes in passing before, when the Flash models came out. The touch features are pretty easy to get used to and the interface makes sense, since things are no longer “buried” beneath menus like in iPods; it is much more “fluid” and smoother than the iPod’s “Aqua” style overall.
  3. The much-touted Wi-Fi features of the Zune is something of a big slap with a massive fish to Apple’s R&D team as it just makes sense – why the need to plug in your device just to put on a few songs or update a podcast? This is especially cool with the new “Marketplace through Wi-Fi” features on the device itself – all Zunes get this with software updates. So yeah, pretty cool device by itself. Missing an audio recorder, but I have yet to see one on an MP3 player that’s actually good. Automatic playlists, you may say… I like knowing what I’m going to listen to next. It’s like a movie theater making you pay $8 for a random movie. I don’t want to end up watching what some algorithm says I want to listen to.
  4. The Marketplace on the Zune software is impressive – it works well with barely a hitch, and same with the on-device Marketplace over Wi-Fi. In iTunes, the Store is in stark contrast with the style of iTunes – blue background, squares for all the art, and it is a bit slow in comparison. The “Mixview” feature of the Zune Marketplace is awesome – it shows the artist you’re looking at, surrounded by suggestions and why they were selected, like influences / inspiration of other artists, related, similar genre, etc. The “Social” aspect of the Zune software is integrated nicely, and since I already have an Xbox Live account to link it to, getting it up and running was easy. Microsoft is really pushing the Social part of this franchise, but I’m only in it for tech support on their forums if I ever need it. The “Microsoft Points” system used on both Marketplaces (Live and Zune) was a good idea – leftover points from purchases on Live can be used on Zune, and vice versa. Granted, I’d still have to buy the bundles of points, but I’m used to that.
  5. Of course, buying off the Zune site allows for custom artwork, something the iPod (as far as I can predict) will never do, as to invade the iPod’s serene blankness that looks all too bleak and boring to me. A Zune with the artwork and text would be unique to me, unlike the millions of identical iPods, skins or without skins. It is all still the same recognizable shape and design, including the iPhone /iPod Touch. I want to be more than the average – dare I say it – sheepish iPod user. I can honestly say that most of my friends who have MP3 players of some sort have an iPod or want an iPod, thinking of it to be in this magical, higher echelon of technology and grant passage into the grandest heights of their social ladder on Facebook. In short, I don’t give two *bleeps* about the social ladder and the iPod hasn’t gotten me any girls, so I guess it’s too widespread to have its “you got an iPod?!” charm anymore.
  6. Zunes are no longer the oddball player in the MP3 Player market, which by now is more like the “Who will make the iPod Killer” market. The Zune is, as it turns out, getting closest to being the iPod’s main contender. Though certainly the iPod’s appeal as an already “established” device will be very hard to overcome for Microsoft, let alone the rest of the companies like Archos, Sansa, Samsung, Sony, and many others that have quality MP3 players in their product line-up but seem to fade away when in the same store aisle as the iPod. I think if more people bought these “iPod contenders,” we would see the fruits of healthy competition arise; better quality products, more bang for the buck, and hoping for brand-making features, like the fantastic feature of the 4th Generation iPod Nano to… well… shake and bake shuffle? Apple needs to think beyond gimmicks and really get some innovation going on here. I think it’s ironic how Apple’s motto used to be “Think Different” while the majority of MP4 players are iPods. By me, “thinking different,” I’m seeking to ditch the iPod, iTunes, and getting their rival’s player instead. It is a funny world we live in, isn’t it?

15 thoughts on “Why I’m Switching from iPod to Zune”

  1. Pingback: Apple News
  2. Apple does think different – where is any other companies equal to the Touch?? The Touch is the latest Think Different for the iPod line. Your thinking that every update to every model must be a huge change goes to show you don’t understand Apple. Apple has a good thing going with the Shuffle-Nano-Classic iPod line why make major changes? With the Touch Apple showed it’s ability to expand the line and continue to out-class all the competition.

  3. Regarding #5 – while the iPod won’t get you laid, at least you won’t get laughed at. I’m not so sure about the Zune…

    I always find it funny when people buy a *Microsoft* product to establish their indie/rebel cred…

  4. Go for it. I’ve owned several iPods throughout the years, and they’re great pieces of technology. Although, after my iPod mini’s flash memory died and the screen on my 30gig iPod stopped working, I decided that I would try something different. I ordered an 80gig Zune and I haven’t looked back.

    For me the Zune software, while a hell of a lot faster, is not as intuitive for micromanaging (as opposed to iTunes). That’s pretty much the only qualm. I really enjoy the physical layout of the actual piece of hardware, and the Zune Marketplace has a pretty fantastic selection of podcasts (which is something I always enjoyed about iTunes).

    All in all, I’ve completely enjoyed my Zune, and although I might not find too many people with one (besides my girlfriend, which is pretty rad), it’s still fun having not only a fantastic music player but also a (very) small means of encouraging competition in the portable media player market.


  5. 1) Give some numbers. In my experience the DVD is the limiting factor on import.

    What ipod are you comparing to? What does the zune bring to the table vs the iPod touch?

    Just trying to fill in some of the blanks.

  6. Enjoy your Zune! I’ve never used one, nor have I seen one in the wild, but I’m sure it will work just fine. But doesn’t the Touch make you hesitate just a little before plunking your money down for a Zune?

  7. I say go for it. Your friends will think you are so cool for not buying an iPod. And besides, it comes in brown.

  8. Your money, your choice, I respect that, I own an ipod classic and I believe that is far from perfect, is convenient but there are other MP3 player that are better than the Ipod and the Zune, but the integration of the software and the hardware it’s what makes the difference, Cowon Mp3 players are a perfect example of great players (in terms of sound) but poorly implemented software (in the player or the computer), somehow I wish somebody at Apple or Microsoft or any company for that matter would wake up and really, really make a good combo a great Mp3 player with a great management software on any platform, there are things that I wish that the Ipod had from the Zune and things that the Zune had from the Ipod and that both had from other players that I have tried before, then all this arguments will be pointless.
    I don’t have to agree on everything that you had wrote, but you have your points in your choices and I respect that, but like I said there are better players than the Zune and the Ipod, I’m not saying which should you choose only you know your needs and desires and I respect that, just get good headphones, the ones that come with both players are garbage, and that is something that nobody can deny.

  9. Zune doesn’t hold a candle to iPod touch. I tried to switch a while back. Couldn’t stand it and dumped windows all together. I am a Mac man.

  10. you said in the third passage that no good mp3 player has a recorder. creative zen isnt too bad and it does have a recorder.
    just thought i would let you know

    and kudos for this i am a microsoft all the way

    i am not to found of apple

    if you get the chance watch a movie called pirates of silicone vally

  11. I found this while looking for a crack to make my old shuffle think it’s a Zune so I can use my Zune marketplace lists on it 😀

    You forgot to mention the affordability of Zune Marketplace compared with Itunes.
    $15 a month for endless music with 10 actual mp3 downloads is PRETTY sweet! And was the deal clencher for me.
    Maybe Mettallica are holding back and not allowing people to download their music on it.. Butchya know… Who needs em’?!

  12. Oh Yah… And I second Elias’ movie suggestion. GREAT movie.
    Ironically… I have a pirated version of it 😉

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