Zune Features Continued

In part 1 we started looking at Zune features by examining its media capabilities.

If you missed this discussion you might want to read it first.

Then come back and join us. We'll wait for you right here!

Ok, now that you're back let's continue where we left off in part 1. In this part we'll take a look at some more Zune features.

On with the show...


All Zune players support Wi-Fi. All iPods do not support Wi-Fi.

Why should you care?

Well remember that sync cable that you use to connect a media player to your PC? The one you use to sync songs and stuff? If you own a Zune then you can throw it away! The Wi-Fi capabilities allow you to sync your Zune wirelessly with your PC!

Pretty nifty! Oh, by the way, you need a home network to do this.

Oh, wait! You didn't actually throw away that cable, did you? You'll need it for some other important stuff like charging your Zune.

Want songs with your fries? You can now access the Zune Marketplace for free at McDonalds. Just be careful not to grease up your Zune.

Technically you can access Wi-Fi at any wireless hotspot. But the Zune does not have a keyboard so if you have to input a password, you're stuck. And there is no internet browser so any access is limited to the Zune Marketplace. At least until the Zune HD arrives.

Wireless Sharing

I'm going to share a little secret with you...

Did you know that your Zune is alive? That's right, Microsoft has invented a technology that gives a new meaning to artificial intelligence!

Ok, I'm kidding. But I'm not kidding when I'm telling you that your Zune can have friends.

Your Zune can actually talk to other Zunes nearby through the magic of wireless sharing. It's true! I've seen my Zune share songs and photos with its friends. Your Zune can talk to any Zune that's within about 30 feet. How's that for a cool Zune feature?

If you're worried about privacy, don't be. Your Zune needs your permission to do this. And if you don't like your Zune to have friends you can disable this feature. Just don't come to me when your Zune starts moping around the house.

If your Zune receives a song, you can listen to it only 3 times before it expires. Just in case you decide to get sneaky and not buy a song that you want to own. Now where in the world would Microsoft get an idea like that?

Zune Pad

Forget about the click wheel on the iPod! New Zunes come with a control interface called "Zune pad". It is touch sensitive and is great for one handed navigation through your media library.

After using the iPod for so long, it took a little getting used to. But now that I'm used to it, I love it!


Pardon my rant...

Why is it so hard for media player manufacturers to include a good pair of headphones? Can someone explain this to me? Please?!

It doesn't matter whether it's the iPod, Zune or any other player. They all come with a pair of average earbud style headphones.

I hate earbud style headphones!! They keep falling out of my ear. And they require the volume to be turned way up to compensate for all that outside noise that they allow into the ear. Is there a conspiracy where headphone manufacturers also manufacture hearing aids?

Ok, I'm done. Sorry about that! I just had to get it out of my system. Thanks for listening.

My mom always told me to look on the bright side. So here goes. The included headphones look pretty stylish. They are black with some silver accents and include black, pink and orange earpiece covers! And they actually sound pretty good if they manage to stay put in your ear and you are in a quiet room.

Long story short...

Please buy a good pair of in-ear or noise cancelling headphones. Your Zune deserves no less. Keep it happy and it will keep you happy by playing lots of beautiful music.

Zune Software

It doesn't matter how many languages you know. Your Zune won't understand you unless you install the Zune software on your PC.

The Zune software will sync your music, video, photos and all other media to your Zune. It is also your portal to the Zune Marketplace and the Zune Social.

It is just like the iTunes software for the iPod, only cooler. Especially with the transition effects.

Compatibility Issues -

  • The Zune software works only on Windows XP, Windows Vista or Windows 7. If you are still running an older version of Windows, you will have to upgrade before you can get your Zune to work. This is important because without the Zune software, your Zune will not talk to you.

  • If you own a Mac, the software is not officially supported. There are workarounds available which give you limited support. But unless you must have a Zune you're better off with an iPod.

  • Linux user? Poor guy. Neither the Zune software nor iTunes is supported although some limited workarounds exist for both. Might as well dual boot your computer with Windows and enjoy the player of your choice.

Zune Marketplace

Like shopping? The Zune Marketplace is for you! It's an online store just like Apple iTunes.

I'll cover the Marketplace in detail in another post. For now just remember it's the place to go for music, video and both audio and video podcasts.

Zune Social

Move over Facebook! The Zune comes with its very own social network lovingly known as "The Social".

Actually you won't be giving up your Facebook profile anytime soon. The social hasn't really caught on the way Microsoft hoped.

So don't be surprised if you don't find your friends on the social. On the plus side, you can use this excuse to meet some cool people.

Zune Pass

Hungry for music? The Zune pass gives you access to an "all you can eat" (er listen) music buffet. All for just $14.99 a month!

And get this...you can keep 10 of the songs you download every month!

The other day I saw an ad for the Zune pass which describes what it is all about. Get the entire genre for the price of one CD. Couldn't have said it better myself!

When you create a Zune account you get automatically get a free 14 day trial. Enjoy!


You can apply any image on your Zune as background wallpaper. You can also find a lot of cool wallpaper online free for download.

Preloaded Content

The Zune comes preloaded with audio tracks, music and other videos, podcasts and images to get you going right out of the box.


Unfortunately when it comes to the Zune you have a limited choice of colors. For the maximum color selection your best option is the 8GB Zune which comes in 5 colors. Opposed to 9 for the iPod Nano.

Also, the number of colors you get to choose from will depend on the type of Zune you pick. For example, the 16GB Zune comes in two beautiful colors - black and black.


No need to buy batteries for the Zune. It comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery. Good for 24 hours of music. Or 4 hours of video.

These numbers are with wi-fi off. With wi-fi on you will drain the battery much faster.

The battery can be charged fully in 3 hours and upto 90% in 2 hours.


The Zune is multi-lingual and can display it's menus in English, French or Spanish. I was impressed till I found out that the iPod knows 20 languages!

Xbox 360 Integration

Would you rather have Metallica playing in the background while you kick your friends butt at Halo 3? I'll show you how.

Just connect your Zune to your Xbox 360 and stream your very own customized playlist!

How's that for another cool Zune feature? Don't think you can do this with your iPod.

Ouch! I'd be very scared now if I was your friend.

Other Zune Features

I'll end now by mentioning two more useful Zune features.

The Zune has a clock. It's off by default. But if you turn in on it will show up in the top right hand corner of the screen.

And you can prevent any accidental input by using the screen lock. I use this all the time when I'm carrying the Zune in my pocket.

There you have it! I hope you now have a good idea of what the Zune can do. Thanks for sticking with me till the end!

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