Peer Review: Zune makes staggering improvements, is still no iPod

Microsoft announced its new line of Zunes in early October, eliciting a flood of opinion about the gadget's future. But only now are the reviews of new Zunes rolling in. Everyone agrees on one thing: the new Zunes are a lot better than the old ones. Most critics also agree that Zunes are still not as good as iPods, despite the fact that the Zune has more features and flexibility (wireless syncing! FM radio!). What do you think? More detailed views from around the Web after the jump.

It's serious iPod competition
"The Zune isn't a punch line any more… if you’re looking for a subscription service, the integration of player and service just crushes everyone else, especially the clunky Rhapsody to Go… realistically, it's hard to imagine the Zune convincing people to ditch their iPods." , Wired

"The Zune has blossomed from an ugly duckling into a worthy iPod alternative." , CNet

Wireless Syncing: hooray! It works, mostly.
"So what about that wireless synching capability? It works as promised… Unfortunately, we couldn't get the device to sync video podcasts or music videos wirelessly." , Laptop Magazine

Zune Marketplace still makes no sense
"This bizarre system [Zune Marketplace] ensures that you'll end up tipping Microsoft: After spending $10 worth of points on songs, I have 18 points left over." ,The Washington Post

Apple users need choices too
"Mac users are still left out of the party; sorry Microsoft, we're not fielding further excuses here, it's time to get your head in the game and hit Apple where it hurts. If they can develop iTunes for Windows then the largest software company in the world can develop Zune for OS X.", Engadget

Touch sensor: actually terrific
"The new touch sensor, the Zune pad, is actually terrific. There's a bit of lag, and drifting causes the flicking to be less precise than say, an iPod touch, but I prefer the Zunepad to the too small wheel on the iPod nano/", Gizmodo

Zune has improved quickly, but Apple is always a step ahead
"Unfortunately for Microsoft, Apple hasn’t been standing still, either. It now has its own large-screen, wireless model, the iPod Touch, with a radical "multi-touch" interface like the iPhone's.", The Wall Street Journal

These iPod comparisons miss the point
"You can hardly talk about the Zune by itself. Think about how well it works with everything on Windows Live accounts. It’s all about the digital Microsoft package. I have Vista Ultimate, an Xbox 360, and a Zune, and I love the way they all work together… That’s what we’re buying into when we buy Zunes, not 4.3 oz to 4.2 oz." , commenter on Walter Mossberg's Column

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