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All posts tagged "preview"

Friday, May 18, 2007

Gizmodo Shows Off Halo 3 Images

Posted by David Tucker in "Zune Talk" @ 05:31 AM


Are you still trying to decide whether or not to get the exclusive Halo 3 Zune? Gizmodo is trying to make that decision just a little easier by showing pictures of all the preloaded image content. Click here to see a 135 image gallery of what you’ll get. If you’re hoping to download the images yourself you’ll be disappointed. They’re pictures of the images on the Zune and not the image itself.

In addition to the images, Gizmodo lists the other extras you get in case you haven’t seen them yet. There’s nothing new here except all of the preloaded images. They are definitely drool-worthy! It almost makes me wish I didn’t have a Zune already so I could buy this one. Alas, I’ll just have to hope someone I know gets it.

Tags: preview, halo 3

Monday, November 27, 2006

Chicago Tribune: Zune's Tune is Sweet

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 03:00 AM


"Today’s tune is Zune, and it’s being written none too soon. It was nearly two weeks ago when Microsoft Corp.’s new music, movie and photo player named Zune fulfilled widespread predictions that it was going to debut with a thud. Let me say first that my take on this milestone event in Windows history comes amid a bit of heat. I guess I’ve been persona non grata at the Zune side of Microsoft for the past few weeks after I questioned the ethics of the company’s effort to immolate iPod by creating in Zune a virtual carbon copy of both Apple’s world-beater music player and the exclusive online store where iPod owners shop for new music."

For every negative review, there's a positive review. And here's one of the positive ones. The Zune may not be an iPod killer yet, but it's definitely not out of the race either. Check out what Chicago Tribune had to say.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Wired Talks About the Zune (Round 2)

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 02:30 AM


"I dragged a key across the Zune's screen, -- pressing pretty hard -- and it didn't leave a scratch. Same goes for other surfaces of the device. Apple should start buying their screen plastic from wherever Microsoft got these."

Oh, man. Don't do that at home, please. Microsoft gets a star for releasing a hardy Zune on its first go - a stark contrast to most of Apple's devices, which have failed the scratch test in recent times (and most have been up against cloths, not keys). If you're interested in learning more about what Wired had to say about the Zune, read Part 2 of their article. Part 1 is here.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Pogue and Mossberg Review the Zune

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 09:00 AM

"Next week, Microsoft Corp. will launch the most serious challenge ever mounted to Apple Computer's iPod and iTunes juggernaut in digital music. The software giant is introducing a portable player called the Zune, an online music store called Zune Marketplace and a new music software program called Zune that links the two. It plans to put plenty of marketing muscle behind Zune, and promises to expand and refine this new product line in coming years."

Blind iPod comparisons aside, NYT's Pogue and WSJ's Mossberg have put together two (mostly) unbiased reviews of the Zune. Both have their fair share of criticisms (and I'm going to do my best here to highlight the least discussed ones, since re-hashing isn't fun). ;-) Mossberg twice claims that album art on the Zune looks shabby (the first without reason; the second blaming it on PPI), though I'm willing to question the quality of his album art. All of my tracks have album art in at least 320 x 320, and they're a source of ocular pleasure on a standard sub-3" QVGA display. Mossberg goes on to argue that the Microsoft Points pricing mechanism is an annoyance. I don't really disagree with him here, at least as far as the Zune Marketplace is concerned. It's been largely successful on the Xbox Live Marketplace, simply because game content is typically worth a few hundred Points, not 79 Points (the cost of a single track on the Zune Marketplace). 79 Points translates to around 99 US cents, yet it's not as simple as taking out your credit card and purchasing 79 Points. They come in blocks of at least $5, so if you only want to purchase one track, you still have to spend an extra $4.01 on Points and leave it aside for a rainy day. I do hope Microsoft finds a way around this. I don't mind their implementation of Points, but they should at least allow single Point purchasing to keep the crowd happy.

Those aren't all of the negative points that Pogue and Mossberg raise, though I hate to spoil a good (at times, good for a laugh) read, so I'll leave it to you to discover the rest. However, at the risk of having their reviews sound like pages of Zune bashing, it is worth pointing out that there are plenty of positive things said about the Zune: the large screen, the UI, the FM tuner, and even guest sync support. Both think it'll take a while before it poses a significant threat to Apple's dominance, and this is something I largely agree with. As we've seen with the Xbox/Xbox 360, it usually takes Microsoft at least one generation of hardware revisions, firmware updates, and introduction of new services before the magic starts happening. By the time the second-generation Zune arrives, I'm convinced that a higher percentage of the population will be taking the Zune a lot more seriously.

Engadget's LA Preview Event Gallery

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 04:20 AM


Engadget crashed the LA preview event this week and snapped oodles of pictures for our viewing pleasure. All of a sudden, the brown Zune doesn't seem all that bad. Maybe it's the lighting.


Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Wired Talks About the Zune

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 10:30 AM


"I got my hands on a Microsoft Zune portable media player for the first time today at a press event in an industrial part of Manhattan's Chelsea district (the same location where the Zune launch party will be tonight). I'm not going summarize what's already been said, having already posted about the Zune (the summary of another hands-on test, how it doesn't support PlaysforSure, MSN Music's 11/14-starting redirection of sales to the Zune store, speculation about a referral bonus [still unconfirmed although strongly hinted at today], and even a reference to the alleged similarity of the word Zune to a Hebrew swear word). Instead, the focus here is on new aspects of the service, device, and accessories that I noticed today while seeing them in action."

has joined the fortunate few who have managed to get some hands-on time with the Zune. Thankfully, most of their post isn't a re-hash of the points we've heard over and over again. They talk a bit about privacy settings (which is a nice touch for those of you who prefer not to let others know what you're listening to / watching), the time it takes for a transfer (10-15 seconds), streaming content from the Zune software to an Xbox 360 (something we'll definitely be showing the moment we get our hands on a Zune), and what's on the Zune Marketplace (over two million tracks and editorially-featured content). Overall, they were pretty impressed with what they saw, and think that given enough time, iPod sales will suffer.

Saturday, November 4, 2006

CNET's First Look at the Zune

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 05:18 AM


"Overall, the Zune is a well-designed portable media device with good playback performance, a snappy processor, and an excellent interface. Wi-Fi sharing worked well, but prospective owners should know that its format support, especially for videos, is limited. The Zune looks like a good fit for MP3 player novices."

CNET's James Kim got some hands-on time with the Zune and whipped up a short video preview and a reasonably-sized article. Unlike Engadget's video which has a greater emphasis on the software layer of the Zune device, CNET's video pokes around some of the hardware components, so do check it out. The article covers a lot of points, though one worth highlighting is the issue of file support. By now, you're probably aware that the Zune is not PlaysForSure-compatible, so all of your existing DRM'ed WMA tracks won't work. Native WAV and WMA Lossless are apparently out the door as well, so that leaves you with MP3, unprotected AAC, and Zune's WMA (tracks you'll end up pulling from the Marketplace). Video support is weaker, with the Zune supporting WMV only. There's no love for DivX or XviD. MPEG-4 and H.264 aren't supported natively, though the Zune software on the PC will convert these to WMV. On the topic of video, you can't share them wirelessly, unlike music and pictures, which is understandable considering movie-length videos would take an eternity to send over Wi-Fi (either the battery or user's patience would suffer a miserable death). Pictures are limited to JPEG, and unfortunately, the Zune software won't convert other picture formats to JPEG, so this is something you'll have to perform manually (boo!). Otherwise, the Zune appears to be a smashing device. I certainly hope that Microsoft will solve some of these file support issues with an upcoming firmware update. The Xbox 360 team have done an excellent job at adding new features, so fingers-crossed, the Zune team will follow in their footsteps.

Monday, October 23, 2006

2Old2Play's Hands-On Time with the Zune

Posted by Darius Wey in "Zune Talk" @ 03:29 AM


"The top of the Zune had a clear glass layer while the exterior had a tactile feel to it, nothing like the hard metal and plastic of the iPod devices. The ‘skin’ of the Zune was a ‘rubberized’ material that had a smooth seductive feel to it. I found myself unable to stop stroking the device, so much that the demo assistant asked me to put it down."

2Old2Play is the latest site to join those that were lucky enough to score some hands-on time with the Zune. Their article covers a couple of new points on Zunetags and the software component of the Zune product. Head over there and give it a read.

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