Zune it up!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

If you follow this blog at all, I generally focus on the running/triathlon side of things, but occasionally I will focus on a device or technology of some sort that I use during training.

I've had several MP3 players over the years, including hard drive based (think standard Ipod) to flash based (think Ipod shuffle). Both have their strengths and weaknesses which I will outline below.

*for comparison sake, let's assume a 30GB hard drive based player (roughly..7,500 music files, 25,000 pictures, OR 100 hours of video) and a 2GB( roughly 500 songs, video and pictures may or may not be an option) flash based player. There are also a lot of variable when talking battery life and total capacity, so I am using general estimates.

  • Hard drive based players hold a lot of stuff ; songs, pictures, even movies. They suffer by being bigger. Since a hard drive has moving parts, potential skipping and more damage could occur if dropped as well as generally shorter battery life, averaging about 12 hours. Once again because of moving parts and the higher power consumption to move those parts.

  • Flash based players are basically the opposite. Still hold a lot of content, but you have to be more conservative with what you put in it since storage capacity is much less then hard drive based (for our example 15x less). They have no moving parts which contributes to less (or no) skipping and increased battery life of 24+ hours.

I've owned both types and will say that for general running, gym work, cycling, etc. that flash players fit the bill. The biggest issue I have is that I have to juggle content all the time. If my player is close to being full and I get a new CD, I have to remove some music to put on the new music. This issue exists with hard drive players, but far less often and only with users with huge collections. The other side of that is, sometimes I am going along and think "it would be good to listen to..." and I can't because I did not think to load it up before I headed out the door.

Now on to what sparked this post. I bought a Zune. Its a hard drive based player by Microsoft. I'm not looking to compare to Ipod or make arguments that is better/worse.. whatever. I really like this device. Its got a great screen, holds all my music and pictures. I even have a few videos on it. I put my podcasts on there for a change of pace from music, plug it into my car stereo. My favorite feature is the wireless piece. If someone else has a Zune, we can exchange files wirelessly. The Zune store (think Itunes) is great too.You pay a subscription fee and can download as much music as you want and transfer it to your device. If you decide you like a certain album you can opt to purchase it. Seems like you are paying for it twice right... sort of. Look at it this way. I can pay 14.99 a month for a many songs as I want to download. Lets assume I download and listen to 1000 albums but only like one albums and want to keep it forever, then I just buy that album for around 10 bucks. Think of it as an unlimited test drive as long as you pay the monthly fee. This is not mandatory, you can use your existing music that you have, buy CD's to rip to the device and do the standard "pay as you go" type service where you pay .99 a song.

Zune in brown playing my current favorite album

Posted by Travis at 11:36 AM  


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