CNET First Look
Zune (third-generation, flash)The smaller, flash-based Zune is a fierce competitor to the iPod Nano, with a unique focus on music discovery.
[ Music ] ^M00:00:02 >> Hey, I'm Donald Bell and today we're taking a First Look at the third generation Flash Zune. The design of the smaller Flash memory Zune haven't changed much of the models we saw last year. Except they're a little glossier, they come in few more colors and they now all go up to 16-gigabytes. You have the same 1.8-inch screen, Zune pad navigation, proprietary dock connection, headphone output, hold switch and plastic window covering the Zune's Wi-Fi antenna. The real updates for the Zune are in the firmware. The Zune's main menu now offers two new items for games and marketplace. Two games are included, but more on the works, but this is mostly just Zune trying to keep up with the iPod. One of the more innovative new features is the Zune marketplace, which lets you browse and preview new music from the Zune Marketplace store, which you can download immediately or save later in your card. The feature is similar to the iTunes Wi-Fi store available on the iPod Touch or the iPhone. Only the Zune subscription music support lets you gorge on an unlimited downloads for a flat monthly fee. Another new addition is a buy-from-FM feature that lets you tag music you hear on the radio and add songs to your card as you would a marketplace song. Song tagging doesn't work on every station, but songs for many of the big broadcasters work flawlessly. There's also a small little changes like their device lock code, a clock and support for audio books from audible and overdrive. The fact that Microsoft really hasn't updated the Zune hardware from last year also means that things like audio quality and battery life haven't budged either. You can still expect about 4 hours of video playback and about 20 to 24-hours of audio. We like the Zune's audio quality especially through a nice pair of headphones, but the lack of any kind of EQ control can be frustrating. I'm Donald Bell, and that was a First Look at the third generation Flash Zune. ^M00:01:40 [ Music ]