Just over 24 hours since I upgraded mine. First I must say that original reports indicated that version two would increase the volume output, it doesn’t… that was the major thing I was looking for and "no joy". The software is impressive in terms of presentation. However it is a serious hog! Upgrade was pretty smooth, the synchronization took forever but I was antsy wanting to test out the volume controls. Then two new versions of firmware were installed on my device…. maybe now the volume control slider will be adjusted…. nope, uggggh .
I have to repeat, this iTunes like interface drives me crazy. Yes I bought the device for listening to music and the ability to store pictures and videos is cool, but I am buying a 30GB external drive. Why can’t I used the free space. I know with my iRiver H320 using the 8GB that was available after I ripped all of my music to it was a godsend. That said, the new software is visually very nice. The Marketplace (the online music service) seems to have expanded their library as I was able to find some bands that were not available before. There does seem to be less "Download" only tracks forcing you to buy them. From what I gather that would indicate DRM-free music. This gets into a completely different rant with the RIAA, Metalica, Garth Brooks and now that self-important Gene Simmons regarding downloads and how they are losing money (ever watch MTV Cribs or Family Jewels??? just how much money are they losing?). Okay back to the market place, buying or downloading the music is pretty simple and the status of the downloads as well as the synchronization to your device is done very well. One of the cool new options is Podcasts, there didn’t seem to be any that I would really listen to regularly but I can see this service expanding as Podcasts have become very plentiful.
I did not buy a new version 2 Zune. For starters the options 4, 8 and 80 GB seem to leave a very big gap from 8 to 80, since cleaning up my music library I really don’t anticipate filling up my 30GB but I am way past 8GB. Again, if I could use a portion (yes there is a hack available that would allow the Zune to show up as an external drive but since I use multiple computers I really don’t want to make sure the hack is on all of them and many times I use the external drive when working on a server that is offline and needs service, not something I want to be required to hack the registry, repair the server and then remove the hack… rambling) the 80GB model would be ideal. The 4 and 8 GB models are "Flash" drives which is intriguing but for about $100 bucks I can get 10 times the capacity… I am eyeing the 8GB because it might make sense to use for working out but again it is not very cost effective. There is also a new navigation mechanism. My Zune30 has a recessed circle that works very well, the newer one appears to be raised and is a squircle or something like that…. not a selling point for me. The screen interface is the same, again why buy a new model? Another nice feature of version 2 is allowing you to connect your Zune Device to the Zune software wirelessly, at least making the wireless functionality slightly less than useless, but I needed to free up one of my USB ports anyway.
All in all the version 2 upgrade (software) was nice. I am not really sure what the purpose or future of the Zune Social is but then again I don’t get MySpace, Facebook, etc either. If you have a Zune go for it!
The big issue is now my Zune30 freezes way too frequently… On the phone with support now (ironic, their hold system doesn’t have music) and they will be replacing my Zune, a process that takes 15 days…..????? Tech Support is claiming it is the Lock switch, I don’t think so since it rarely locked up/shut itself off after firmware 1.1, but we will see what happens with the replacement model.