{August 3, 2010}   Zune Software

For a little while now I’ve been thinking about upgrading my mp3 player. I mean I love my little sansa clip and it’s great, but really I need a larger capacity now that I’m listening to more music. And when I mean a larger capacity, I mean a lot. So naturally some of the more popular options sprung to mind, the iPod and the Zune. However each of these devices require the use of their own software (though I know that other music players can also sync with the iPod, I heard nothing of the sort for the Zune) so I went ahead and downloaded both iTunes and this Zune software.

First of all adding your media is a snap. Just select your folder(s) and there you go. I actually found some music that was hidden away because it was in a folder I don’t check very often (My Music).

The first thing that you see when starting this for the first time is the quickplay screen.It has three columns of pins, new and history that show your pinned items, new additions as well as recently played. However each of these columns only show 4 or 5 items, and that really doesn’t help unless you listen to the same thing over and over again obsessively. If you do than this screen may be of some use, but I found it kinda useless…especially since it’s sorted by album and uses album art. There’s a lot of songs that I have which are from unknown albums or don’t have any album art, but I guess that that’s my fault, but it’d be nice if it pulled the album art from the internet.

This is really where everything starts. underneath the music section you find three columns, artist on the left, album in the middle and songs on the right. Selecting an artist on the left will show the albums in the middle and all the songs on the right. Selecting the album will show you the songs in that album. This is if you sort by artist. If you sort by genre, the left column displays the genre. Sorting by albums removes the leftmost column. Sorting by songs takes you to a screen with a lot more. with as many columns as you’d like to add, and some that you can’t remove, it’s where people with a lot of music would probably hang out. Sorting by playlist just shows your playlists and the songs you have in them.
Underneath the videos section it shows you all the videos and playback is smooth.
Under pictures it shows you the pictures that you’ve added. It separates by which folder they are in. Clicking on a picture starts a slide show with your music playing in the background. I liked this though the windows picture viewer does the same thing, so really…it wasn’t something that helped the software in my eyes.
Podcasts run as well as you’d expect. You can set it to hold on to a set number of episodes. Speaking of setting, it brings me to my next section.

This is really barebones. You can add folders for media and designate folders for where you want ripped CDs and podcasts. You can set the speed for the photo slide show. You can set a background, though the selection is limited. Ripping and burning options also exist but are limited to things such as the bit-rate and whether the cd is to be ejected after it is ripped or burned. And that’s pretty much it.

Good Things
The now playing screen is a big point for this software, sadly it’s the only point in favour for this software.

Bad Things or Things that I miss.
There’s no hint of an equalizer. There’s no visualization options at all. No options for crossfading. Limited backgrounds. Can’t edit song information. A heavy emphasis on album art but often separated tracks in an album but keeps it under the same album art (ridiculous).

I wouldn’t say this is a bad piece of software, just that it lacks things nearly every other player has…It could certainly be a lot worse, be glad that it isn’t.


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