Gadgets: Wireless action

the new Zune 80GB from Microsoft is an extremely well-engineered multimedia player.

zune 88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
zune 88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Featuring a stylish design, powerful sound and long battery life, the new Zune 80GB from Microsoft is an extremely well-engineered multimedia player. The big, bright 3.2-inch glass screen at the front, in combination with matte-finished aluminum at the back makes it a must-have item for all multimedia player fashion snobs. One of the highlights of this player is the touch-sensing pad which sets it apart from many other players. This exceptional navigation pad performs like a cross between a standard four-direction navigation pad and a laptop's touch pad. You can press or slide your finger in four directions, and scroll through songs, photos or videos with a gentle touch of your fingertip. The Zune comes with a built-in FM radio tuner so you can listen to your favorite radio stations, something that makes it a worthy iPod alternative. Microsoft also gave the Zune the ability to wirelessly share songs with other Zune users. You can listen to full-length tracks sent to you up to three times. It handles the wireless transfers smoothly and with very little setup. Even better than sharing songs wirelessly, the new Zune can be synced to your computer without cables. The built-in wireless can be quickly configured to connect to your wireless and update songs, photos or videos. Of course, you can always connect the Zune directly to your computer using the included proprietary USB cable, but the wireless option is a neat trick. The player is satisfying to use and the graphic interface is pretty impressive. The main menu screen has oversized text and can be customized with a background image from your digital photo collection. While the Zune is one of the advanced MP3 players on the market, there are some competitive features it lacks such as equalizer capability, AVI and MPEG formats. It has no touch-screen either, a feature which is becoming increasingly popular on digital media players at the moment, and disappointingly it operates only with a PC. The bottom line: The Zune 80GB is a highly competent all-around media player. It has excellent battery life, its build quality is supreme, it is packed with many features and it is capable of most file format support. Also, the fact that you get all the cables and a case in the box is a thoughtful touch and saves the expense of getting them later. The Zune 80 GB is available at BUG stores for NIS 1,644.