Okay it is only day one but….
One thing that has not changed is the version of software. The only low spot in this process was the synchronization failed to add almost 100 songs. This is really odd since 95% of my collection is comprised of tracks downloaded using my Zune Pass. No doubt the issue is maintaining the media rights which we all know who we have to blame for that. The silver lining was I cleaned up my collection and in a few cases removing one album only lead me to get a better version (one with bonus tracks or no censoring, etc….). With the additional storage I did tweak my settings for a few Podcasts (Powerscripting, Military Channel, X-Play….) to store more than three editions.
So the device….. despite 4 times the capacity this unit is slightly smaller and lighter, in general more comfortable in the hand as well as in a pocket. The navigation pad, which I was skeptical about, is a very nice feature. On the 1st Gen devices the navigation wheel was flush to recessed and worked very well. The navigation … well its not a circle so it is much more of a “pad” than a wheel. I turned of the feature that responded like a trackpad type use for a more conventional approach. Interface, although a clearer picture was no different so nothing to learn. I have not found the equalizer controls yet but in general the audio sounded better. Loading of songs and videos is faster but we are talking milliseconds so still can’t knock the 1st Gen. Battery life seems better but it will take more than one day of testing to verify that.
Wireless operation was a little quicker as well for both the synchronization as well as the connecting to Zune marketplace. I still love the feature. Since Zunes are still pretty rare I don’t get much opportunity to wireless zune to zune but since my Zune 30 is partially operable I may have to test that.
The headphones… seem to be the same as 1stGen; not bad but not great. Now considering I have some Bose QC3’s that probably isn’t fair but the included headphones are light, weighty enough that they are not flimsy and constantly tangling, but light enough to wear while walking or busy working.
This type of device is very important to me and I have to say this was money well spent.
So, above is my collection in chronological order from left to right (iRiver H300, Zune 30 and Zune 120). Each successor was a little better but all three were very good devices. I will say that one of my detractions from the Zune and iPod is you are buying these large hard drives, why not allow (without some potentially damaging hack) the buyer to use them for storage of files? I still use my iRiver as external drive to backup files.