Recently I got my hands on a Zune 4GB. My friend bought it in the United States and I wanted to play with it so I borrowed it from him.
At the back, of course, there is the famous “Hello from Seattle” printed on the back.
My immediate impression was the audio quality was really good. In my own personal opinion, I think the Zune sounds much better than the iPod (30GB version) that I have.
The Zune did took some getting used to when I was playing with the key pad. It is not like the iPod touch wheel but rather a conventional D pad (up, down, left and right). However, in the Zune version I have (4GB), it does have a touch functionality so I don’t to CLICK to move up and down the main menu but just scroll up and down the menu via a gentle touch.
In terms of functionality, there were the usual photos, podcasts, videos etc. There is also a nice RADIO available which is great for me. Of course, there is a socal element in the wirless sharing that Zune was supposedly special for but I am not interested and hence never bothered to try it out.
Here’s how the Zune selection screen looks like:
The album art shows up pretty nicely too. It is nice and big. I tested a few tracks with album art from my own collection and it is pretty clear and beautiful. I like it very much!
All is great and nice UNTIL I realised that the ZUNE does NOT show up Chinese Characters embedded in the MP3 tracks.
Look at this screen where the Chinese characters show up as square boxes !
How can that be ! In today’s age, I just don’t think it is right that a MP3 player does not display Unicode fonts. I have no problems with Apple iPod or the Samsung MP3 player and I believe Creative Zen players also show the Asian characters well too.
Searching through the internet, it is an known issue. Apparently, Zune was released only in United States and Canada so far and hence there must be no Asian music listeners in those countries such that the maker does not believe in loading Unicode fonts into the player. I am sure there are many disappointed Asian listens in these countries 🙂
From some forums, I found that it is possible to do some hacks (including downgrading to a lower firmware) to make the Zune read these Asian characters.
I guess unless I am prepared to do some hacking to the Zune, I cannot possibly live with the lack of Unicode support in a MP3 player.
Great sound or not.