Exclusive Microsoft Zune Details

Illustration for article titled Exclusive Microsoft Zune Details

After lots of quality time groping the Zune like blind man on his wedding night, our people give us the lowdown on the player's functionality. Get the scoop after the jump!

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First off, that scroll wheel you see? That's not a wheel. It's just four buttons arranged in a wheel formation. That kinda sucks if you're used to the scroll wheel, but it seems their engineers weren't too fond of it, or Microsoft didn't want to be accused of copying the iPod's wheel. Either way, it's just four buttons.

But like the wheel, the scrolling speeds up the longer you hold down the button. When you're scrolling through songs, there's a large letter that appears in the corner corresponding to the letter of the current song when you're running through your list. It's very similar to the way Windows Media Center works when you're scrolling, if you're familiar with that interface. In fact, the whole interface is quite like MCE 2005, with the semi-transparent fonts and GUI design.

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On the back, there's a grip so you can hold the player when you're watching video in landscape mode. There's also some kind of magnetic feature on the back so you can attach the headphones to it. The magnets could be used for some sort of docking or case design—they're still working on that. The bottom has that iPod-like dock connector, while the case itself is plastic and semi-transparent.

The UI itself has white text on colored backgrounds, with lots of textures. This could even be skinnable. While the song is playing, it will display album art or a Windows Media Player-like visualization.

FM support is fairly complete, with both an FM tuner and an FM transmitter so you can beam the music to your car. The FM transmitter also feeds up Song and Artist information so you can see what's playing from your car stereo (if it supports that feature, like in GM cars). Pretty neat.

Two menu options that were disabled were the WiFi, and Capture Settings. We're not sure what the Capture Settings means—maybe recording FM?—but we'll let you know.

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DISCUSSION

MIKEAWESOME
MIKEAWESOME

I don't think that magnet would be powerful enough to do damage (although, it may be possible over time). I don't think the testing department would let something as obvious as that slip through the cracks (though, that overheating problem in the 360 doesn't give me any assurance).

Here's the deal with iTunes and ACC, even if MS doesn't give me my songs for free, I can still just grab a cd or DVD and burn all my ACCs on there and add them to my Zune (I only have about 10-15 albums in ACC), and that's only, about, $6 worth of work. If Microsoft makes their player cheaper than the iPod with all it's bells and whistles and a decent app (or the ability to use other apps that may function better) I'll get it as an iPod replacement, and maybe sell my current iPod to someone to make back some of the money!