Specifically, each of these esteemed reviewers found the Zune lacking in terms of portability ("The Zune looks big and blocky, sort of like a prototype for a gadget, rather than a finished product," said Mossberg), battery life (less than the iPod's, or even Microsoft's own claims), and content selection (there are currently no movies, TV shows, or podcasts available on the Zune Marketplace, although a last-minute deal with Universal does bulk up the offerings somewhat). Furthermore, Zune's one potential "iPod-killing" feature -- music sharing over WiFi -- is judged to be a complete dud; instead of truly helping the consumer discover new music, Pogue opines that "you can't shake the feeling that it's all just a big plug for Microsoft's music store." Mossberg goes on to knock the Marketplace's point system -- you can only buy points in $5 blocks -- and both gentlemen lament the dearth of accessories and the perceived "screw you" to all parties who have already invested in the PlaysForSure microcosm.
So, is there nothing positive to say about the ol' Zune? Of course not: the device gets high marks for its smooth syncing, polished GUI, intuitive navigation, ability to dock with an Xbox 360, and solid build quality. The problem is, these niceties don't outweigh the missing or frustrating features -- so although it may be a decent player on its own merits, it falls far short in the inevitable comparisons to Apple's darling. Still, we're reminded once again that this is only the first generation of Microsoft's entry into portable audio hardware, and like so many other products from Redmond, it promises to only get better with time.