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Zune 120


Zune 120 GB Review

Zune rev

Many months after the intro, it's nice to see that a new review of the Zune 120 GB.  Sometimes it is these later reviews, when all the initial enthusiasm has melted away, that can be the most objective of a product. 

Website I4U News takes on the challenge of the Zune 120 GB.  This is the only hard drive player that Microsoft is making these days, and matches the largest of the iPod hard drive line.  The review is a reasonable length, and hits all the high points of the player.  They also focus their attentions on the ecosystem, better known as the Zune Marketplace, that the Zunes fit into.  While they don't go into lesser used functions, such as picture viewing, or battery life while playing videos, they do talk about using the built in WiFi to access Marketplace tunes via the all-you-can-eat subscription.

While their review does a good job of highlighting the uses of the monthly subscription Zune pass, I hope that users with exisiting larger music collections don't feel that they are left out, or that the Zune is not a viable player for their collections.  Plenty of us have a Zune, and don't use the subscription aspect.  While it is a reasonable option for many users, it is not for everyone.  I think their overall score of 8 is pretty accurate however you look at it.


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Red Zune Returns

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Tacked on to yet another story about Microsoft not abandoning the Zune, and continuing the platform was a nugget of real Zune news.  Once again this year, they will be offering a red Zune for the Valentine's Day crowd, in the 120 gig flavor.  The limited edition Zune will be offered through the Zune Originals Store, and offer custom laser engraving starting today through (not surprisingly) February 14th.  Sounds like it's better to receive than give?  Start dropping the hints how electronics last way longer than flowers after the holiday is over!


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Zune Sports the Red & the Blue

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The Zune 120 has consistently been available in one color only, black.  True to Henry Ford's Model T, this one color option certainly simplifies the stocking of the store shelves.  However, maybe it is all this talk of Obama and his maybe it's a Zune, maybe it's not, but Microsoft has expanded the color palette by 200% for this holiday season, better expressed as adding two colors.

While the Zune 120 is still only in black in retail outlets, if you go through the Zune Originals site, you will have the option of customizing your Zune to a red or blue exterior.  It's about time there were some more color choices, don't you think?


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President Elect Spotted With Zune

Obamawantsyoutosignupforobamarama Regardless of who you voted for, the blogosphere is abuzz regarding a certain President Elect, and a piece of electronics.  Namely, the next President, Obama, was spotted in the city of brotherly love with a Zune.  What is even further intriguing is that reportedly this guy is a mac guy, and the Zune doesn't support the computers of the Macosphere, better known as OS X.  How he got the music on there remains a mystery, but rumors of dual booting abound.  Personally, I'd bet that if this guy gets his own chef, pilot, and security force, I'm sure someone can manage to load up his music player of choice for him.  Think really different?


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Zune Remains Editor's Choice

01425i22033000 I was surfing, and came upon the PC Magazine's holiday shopping guide of "How to Buy an MP3 Player."  What was intriguing is that there are only three players that get their coveted Editor's Choice designation: Apple's iPod Nano, the iTouch, and the Zune 120 GB.  While I'm not surprised that Apple dominated their choices, I was a little surprised that they saw the value of the Zune.  I've long maintained that "the ultimate music player," that Apple frequently touts its iTouch as, would, by definition, fit all of my music, which is 39 gigs at last count.  I'm not saying the iTouch is a bad product, and I've even been thinking of buying one, but at least to me, I'm looking for it to replace my Palm T/X as nonsmartphone PDA organizer, and not as a music player.

When Apple ceased any new meaningful development on their hard drive based players, and designated them as "classic" to justify this, they ceded this portion of the market.  Microsoft's Zune was well positioned to take this segment over, but unfortunately most of the players sold are flash based.  Still, for the serious music enthusiast, the Zune is the way to go, and PC Mag designates it as "...the best hard drive–based portable media player on the market." 

I'm just glad that someone is making a product with a large enough capacity because sooner or later my Zune 80 will need to be replaced, and I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another one.  How many pieces of electronics do you own that fit into that category?  Around my house, that is quite few!


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No Place Like Zune For the Holidays

Christmastree When it is time for some holiday shopping, most of us around here would much rather get some electronics rather than a necktie.  An audio player of some sort is a "must have" item for any gadget fan, and an up to date one with a really large capacity is my personal preference.  While it is hard to believe that I'm coming up on my year anniversary of owning a Zune 80 gig, I'm still intrigued to see what players are being recommended this year for music lovin' holiday shoppers.

I spotted this piece today in The Washington Times.  Topping their list, was, you guessed it, the Zune. They mention that there are both flash and hard drive models available, and that the Zune is "nice and affordable," which makes it kind of the girl next door that you don't think of while fawning after some cheerleader.  At least the paragraph does mention the Zune's strong points: WiFi music sharing (which they got wrong and characterized as streaming), and the all-you-can-eat music pass, which they are out of date and didn't mention the latest iteration to keep a generous 10 tracks a month.

While their details are a little less than accurate, I do agree that the Zune should top any holiday shopper's list.


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Special edition Gears Of War 2 Zune 120 now available for pre-order

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Microsoft has announced a new special edition Gears of War 2 Zune 120. The latest model will feature a laser-etched Crimson Omen on the back, as well as come in a special edition package and will also be pre-loaded with more than 240 "pieces" of Gears of War 2 media. The pre-loaded media will not be anything exclusive, but will include behind the scenes videos, game soundtrack, game trailers and concept art galleries.

The Gears of War 2 Zune will be available in the US and Canada and will retail for $279.99. Pre-orders begin today and the Zune can be found at Walmart and Amazon in the US and Amazon, Best Buy, Future Shop and The Source in Canada. Actual shipping will begin on November 7.

[Zune Insider]


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Wal-Mart offering the new Zune 120, lower priced Zune 80 a little early

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The official release date was supposed to be the 16th, but it seems that at least one Wal-Mart in Harborcreek, PA has decided to add them to their show floor cabinets for everyone to see. Of course seeming how everything else detail wise managed to leak out a little early with the Zune lately, I suppose we should not see this as any real surprise.

While the pricing had already been confirmed by Microsoft, we can see from the image that Wal-Mart will sell off their remaining inventory of Zune 80's for a nice $198, which sounds like a good time for anyone looking to make a purchase. Of course if you wanted the biggest storage option to date, you would have to shell out the $50 extra for the Zune 120.

Personally I have a Zune 80 that is in excellent condition so its kind of a mute point for me, but I am a sucker for a bargain and had I been looking I think I would be more than tempted to go for the Zune 80 and save a few bucks, after all, all models of the Zune will be able to get the new firmware for free anyway and aside from storage that is where most of the cool features are anyway.

Has anyone else able to find one of the new, or discounted old Zunes in a local store yet? If not don't worry much as they should be everywhere tomorrow.

[Engadget]


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Microsoft officially lets the new Zune details out

Blue_zune_8_125_2 I suppose this post comes as a little bit of bittersweet news considering we have already seen the details, but that said, Microsoft has chosen to officially unveil the details for the new Zune hardware and software.

So just for a quick recap, the new model of the Zune will be the black 120GB hard drive based model which will retail for $249 along with a 16GB flash based model which will retail for $199. Additionally the Zune 16 will also be available in blue. The Zune 8 will be priced at $149, and Microsoft also plans to lower the prices on some of the older models.

As for the software side, it looks like software version 3 will be available with those features that we mentioned earlier, which include Buy from FM, Device to Cloud, Channels and Games. Currently nothing was mentioned about when the new software will be made available for current Zune owners. Personally although I like the blue Zune 16 and the black backing on the Zune 120 I am more excited by the new software features and hope that will be ready soon.

If nothing else, I guess Amazon can go ahead and add that Zune 120 listing back to their website now.

[CNET]


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Zune 120: The unofficial roll-out continues...or does it?

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In addition to the listings over on Frys, another online retailer (Amazon) had ever so briefly list the Zune 120 for sale. Currently I have not seen any confirmed purchases through the Amazon store listing, but they have since removed it from the store, with the URL now going to a big'ol 404.

With just one day before Microsoft is expected to officially make the announcements, it seems Amazon has had a change of heart, one can only wonder whether Frys will do the same. Of course it seems that Frys is already in a little deeper with between their multiple leaks and at least one confirmed sale.

Funny thing is that when this listing was available on Amazon, there were eight vendors listed, of which seven was showing the Zune 120 as in-stock and even had expedited shipping available, and strangely the only one of the eight that was showing a "temporarily out of stock" notice was Amazon themselves.

At this point we can only hope the announcements come tomorrow, and put an end to this mess. Anyone interested in the larger capacity Zune, or what about the blue Zune 8, its pretty sharp looking.

[Amazon via Pocketables]


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