I Pit the Zune

First off, before any Apple lovers come in an crash the party…I have an iPod touch. So, let’s not get distracted here, ok? Secondly, overall I really like the Zune as an audio book platform…which is what I use it for pretty exclusively (my iPod touch with it’s lower capacity is used for games and apps and music).

That said…ARRRRGGGGHHHH! Number one…who designed the Zune’s interface connector anyway? It’s about as delicate a piece of hardware as I’ve ever seen on a mass market product of this kind. It has an extremely thin piece of plastic that interfaces with the provided cable…and it’s very delicate and easy to break (unlike the rest of the Zune which is pretty rugged and durable). One of my customers recently bought hundreds of these things (for podcast and audio books) and they have had a failure rate of something like 1 in 5…that is totally unacceptable! My own Zune also gave up the ghost a few weeks ago and I sent it back as an RMA (I have to admit…the process of doing the exchange was VERY painless and easy, and the turn around was more than acceptable).

That brings me to the second point…I guess the new Zune they sent to me uses a different interface connector (same small, thin, delicate piece of plastic for the interface, only about 1/3 as deep as before). Probably a decent design compromise (though why they couldn’t simply copy the excellent interface from the iPod or even from most cellphones is beyond me), but with one fairly obvious problem, considering they didn’t bother shipping ME (or the customer) the proper interface cable to fit it.

I just got off the phone with Zune support, and after wading through a series of frustrating and stupid questions and actually getting a human, they knew exactly what the problem was and immediately put in an order to send me out a replacement cable asap…no charge (5-7 days). Which begs the question…why the hell didn’t they send said cable in the first place??

My frustration level is getting near breaking point…my Zune was the repository of all of my audio books and I have used it extensively when I travel. The iPod, which is my other constant companion, simply doesn’t do as good a job at this particular task, though it excels in others. I’ve been making do with the iPod, but I want my freaking Zune with it’s mondo hard drive and all of my Zune formatted audio books back and working already!



I don’t get why most manufactures of these things don’t use a type A mini usb connector. My G1 has one and it’s super convenient. I don’t have to mess with finding obscure connectors.

Because then one could just go buy a connector anywhere, instead of being forced to buy their propiatery connecter. An industry standard connection won’t happen until there is enough competition in the industry.

Doesn’t the Zune have wireless sync?

Yes, that is why cell phone power connectors are all the same.

Yes, it does. But since I can’t charge it this is sort of a moot point…unless you were just asking for information. :slight_smile:


The G1 does use a proprietary connector. It uses a mini USB cord, but the actual connector is squared off rather than the sort of trapezoidy shape it usually takes.

You can plug a regular 0.5mm mini-USB connector into a G1, but you can’t plug the G1’s mini-USB cables into anything else. :confused:

That’s wild. I wondered why they did that. So I went and got my data cable that came with it. It had a notch in the corner just like a full size USB type-B connector (the end that goes in the printer usually). Guessing the G1 has a type AB mini connector (shaped to handle both kinds, a universal recipient if you will) and ships with a non common mini cable; I googled the specs.

HTC says it has an “ExtUSB” jack. Which basically means it has extra pins to carry audio. I guess the data cable that ships with the G1 is an extUSB cable. Not sure what that means. Maybe there’s audio docks for it or something.

I was asking about it at the T-Mobile store the other day 'cause I have a Motorola Krzr, which only has a single input/output jack- a mini-USB port. Anything you need to connect to it connects to that port - headset, data cable, charger etc. This produces the curious problems that 1) you can’t connect a wired headset and the charger at the same time, and 2) if you try to connect it to a 3.5 auxiliary audio input using a series of connectors and adaptors from Radio Shack, you only get sound out of the right side speakers.

Ask me how I know :wink:

Hey, for Microsoft that’s great! The failure rate for the XBox 360 is about 1 in 1!

Yes, the Red Ring of Death appeared last night, can you tell how bitter I am? :mad:

Here’s what I want to know: how come the graphics chip in every XBox fails, but the stupid red lights always work?

Sorry to interject, but what about the Zune is so great for audiobooks? I’m not a fanboy, but when I looked into it last time, the iPod Classic was smaller, had the same storage, had no horrible reliability problems, and had a plethora of accessories and software available, all at the same price. I’d understand if the Zune were cheaper or turned crap into candy, but it baffles me that these things still exist.

You know the product has trouble when you pack it up in the nice, unmarked white box they send to you to return it in, and the woman at the UPS Store counter knows exactly what it is BECAUSE SHE’S SEEN SO MANY! :eek:

I don’t know, but both my original and 360 work fine.

It has a 120 GB hard drive and a huge battery capacity. Compared to my 32 GB iPod touch (a lot of which is filled up with music and apps) and the minuscule battery capacity (generally I can play the iPod for about an hour continuously before I start having the battery start to become seriously drained…with the Zune I can usually get 4-6 hours on a charge).

In my own case I also have all of my audible.com downloads formatted specifically for the Zune…so, I’d need to re-download them for the iPod. Fortunately I also have a fairly large .MP3 collection of audiobooks, but I’m at the point where I need to swap books in and out on the iPod due to space limitations.

I love my iPod touch…but it simply can’t compete with the Zune for storage or battery life for audiobooks. That’s why I have both. As for price…the Zune with a 120 GB hard drive was over a hundred dollars cheaper than my iPod Touch with a 32 GB hard drive. They both do what I need them to do very well…love my iPod for the apps and music, for surfing the internet (if there is a WiFi connection available), checking the weather, checking stocks, and watching YouTube. I love the Zune for it’s capacity (storage and battery), for playing audio books and movies, for being able to have my entire entertainment library at my finger tip in case one of my trips extends from a week to several and I don’t have the time or capability to swap files with my laptop.

They are cheaper, and the Zune is better at the job I want it to do. With the exception of the connector I’ve had no issues with my Zune…and no issues with my iPod either. That’s why I have both.


Is it the same way I know $10 nonreturnable Motorola headphones don’t work with a G1 even though they use a mini USB jack?

I have an adaptor in my car that lets me hook up headphones and a charger at the same time. The only problem with it is I’m trying to use it send sound to my car’s radio over an fm transmitter and even though I’ve tried putting the transmitter 2 inches from the car antenna it’s still staticy.

If you’re looking to free up your port one of these might help. It’s a bluetooth stereo adapter with a 3.5 mm stereo jack and built in mic.

I’ve got one coming in the mail for my birthday.


I tried shopping around for a sony ericsson (eww sony holds nose) data cable and headphone adaptor for my mom for mother’s day.

Stupidest connector ever. It’s got these weird knobs on the side, exposed wires. Shoddy piss poor construction. It looks like it’s built to break.

I’m not suggesting that you go out and purchase an additional 32 GB iPod Touch, but at some point you decided to purchase a hard-drive based 120GB mp3 player. Apple sells one called the iPod Classic. By all accounts, it has much better battery life than the comparable Zune. It plays 36 hours of audio or 6 hours of video. It’s much smaller, and costs roughly the same as the 120 GB Zune. I know it’s confusing that Apple makes more than one product called an iPod, but I’m still wondering what about the Zune is better for audiobooks than the comparable iPod.

Maybe it’s that when you have an iPod, you have to spend so much time being patronising about other people’s consumer choices that you can only find time to listen to Dan Brown audiobooks.

Small print, eh? Tch.

I’m not trying to mock the guy. I’m in the market for a new mp3 player, and I plan to listen to audiobooks on it. As it stands, the iPod seems like the superior choice. If xtisme has more information than I do regarding the Zune’s performance, I’d like to know this before making a purchase. If it’s just that he prefers the Zune store or hates the clickwheel or likes the FM transmitter, then it wouldn’t change my mind.

That you have to act all defensive and insecure when someone asks a reasonable question about your mp3 player’s features seems like a major drawback to owning the Zune. See, I can play the “generalized statement about product owners” game too.

Yes…about 2 years ago. I’ve never heard of an iPod Classic…nor was I aware that Apple had a product out 2 years ago with a 120 GB hard drive with the battery capacity you are talking about.

How long has it been out for? I’ve never heard of it.

Well, as should be fairly obvious to you by now (and should have been before your post), I’m comparing it to the Apple products I actually know about…namely the Touch and Nano. I’ve never heard of an Apple product that has a comparable screen, hard drive and battery…which would be why I thought that the Zune was better for these things.

Another factor would be that I already HAVE the Zune…so, I’d need to be convinced why I should spend even more money on another device. If the device was out when I bought my Zune then I perhaps I made a bad choice.