Zune Annoyances

I just bought a Zune. Most everything that the reviews have mentioned is true: quick, sexy UI, nice tactile feel to the case, screen is crisp, software is easy to setup, music sounds good. Of course like all the good there is the bad and here are a few things that have raised my temperature by a few degrees:

#1 - Can’t Play Music Directly from the Zune

Perhaps I’m missing something and I’m happy to be proven wrong but you can’t seem to play music directly off the Zune. I fully expected to be able to browse my Zune, select a track and hit the big, lovely Play button. Nope. Nada. This inability to play music directly from my Zune is such an annoyance I may actually take the thing back.

#2 - Sync Destroys Preloaded Content

I was so excited to buy a Zune I bought one during lunch and plugged it in directly at work to charge it and since I have a small music collection at work and it happily sync’d. Next I come home and it tells me that I can either make my home computer a “Guest” or I can make it my new main sync PC. Obviously my home computer should be the main computer so I picked that option and then watched as it formatted the Zune and sync’d it, thereby destroying all the preloaded content.

I actually liked the preloaded content and because my only options were to either connect as a Guest or format I had no way to preserve select items. Again, if there isn’t a good way to get the content back I’m returning it.

#3 - Sync Assumes You’re Stupid

I have over 90GB of ripped music, the Zune holds 30GB, yet upon first install it happily indexes all my music and says it’s “Synchronizing”. Well Gee, ain’t that special, what do you think it’s synching? Do I get to pick? Do I get to tell it that I really don’t need all those old hip hop albums from the 80′s? Maybe I don’t really want every trance album I’ve ever owned on the thing? Nope, it just seems to chug away without asking for any of your feedback.

You can delete the unwanted items from your Zune and then next time it sync’s it won’t grab those items but what a wasteful, tedious process.

Is The Love Gone?

Even with these issues I like the Zune: it’s hardware, software and the idea. I like the concept of it integrating with the 360 ecosystem, I like the possibilities it holds. Of course I’ll never buy a single track from the Marketplace because I also own a Sonos music system and I don’t buy music that I can’t play on the equipment I own but I understand the evil of having an iTunes/Zune Marketplace concept. I’ll continue to support emusic.com and even the Russians to get my music without DRM.

What I don’t like is that they seem to have forgotten about the initial, out-of-box experience. They’ve forgotten about the many users that swap between their personal laptop, their home computer and their work computer. They’ve tried to make a simple solution but in the process have assumed a simple user.

I can only hope a patch/update fixes these issues. If tech support can’t help me I’m going to return mine and wait for these issues to be fixed.