Each holiday season my employer, Magenic, gives out a cool tech gift. Over the years we've received things like MP3 players, an XBox, Tivo units and an XBox 360. This year the gift is Microsoft's new Zune device.
For all that I'm a techno-geek, I am also quite conservative when it comes to spending money on devices. They become obsolete so fast, and they are so expensive when new that I just have a hard time spending the money. So I've been still using the Creative Nomad Jukebox 3 I got from Magenic some years ago. It is a nice enough device, with a 20 gig hard drive, good sound recording capabilities as well as perfectly acceptable playback. Creative's PC interface sucks, but I got a 3rd party product called Notmad that totally rocks, and all has been well for years.
But Windows Media Player 11, and the very nice Urge music service, don't support anything as old as my Nomad... So I was getting ready to find a new music device in any case when along comes Magenic with the Zune gift. Thank you Greg and Paul! :)
The Zune device is pretty decent. Plays music, pictures and video. Even with the small screen, video is pretty darn good due to the screen's high quality. And personally I like the radio feature, as I listen to MPR a lot, and listening live beats yesterday's news downloaded via podcast...
The drawback to any of these devices, Zune, Ipod or whatever, is that to get the most out of them you need a subscription to the service. I was hooked on Urge before this, so it is fortunate that Zune has the same basic backend and music selection. Better still, Magenic is covering the cost of the first year's subscription, so now I've got all the music I care to have (and more - they do have country music too, and I just can't stomach that stuff... ;) ).
So I have a playlist of several thousand songs - all the five star music in the MetalCore sub-genre - put it on shuffle and I'm as happy as can be.