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Zune's Wireless Functionality Pros And Cons

Aug 10, 2008
I usually say that, in terms of features, there's nothing an iPod can do that a Zune can't do, but that the opposite isn't true. And the biggest feature that the Zune has and the iPod lacks is its wireless functionality.

Wireless Sync

Wireless is the new way to go, and frankly, it's a very good thing when you're able to sync your Zune to your computer's library without having to plug it into a USB cable. Even better, you don't even have to remember. If your wireless sync option is turned on, your Zune automatically syncs as soon as it gets "within range" of the wireless network it's configured for (said range is about 100 feet indoors, and up to 200 feet outdoors).

The wireless sync option on your Zune automatically syncs everything, including videos, songs, playlists, pictures, and podcasts, exactly the way it would do if you chose to sync via a USB cable. And as a bonus, as long as your Zune is docked or plugged in, wireless sync is continuous, which means that whatever you add to your library is automatically synced to your Zune.

Zune to Zune Sharing

Another neat wireless feature is Zune-to-Zune sharing. It allows you to share your favorite media (music, audio podcasts, pictures, and playlists) by beaming to your friends wirelessly when within range. If your wireless feature is turned on, no matter where you are, you can check to see which other Zune owners are around, so you can exchange media. You can also setup your Zune so that it shows your friends exactly what you're listening to now.

Zune-to-Zune sharing does has some limitations. You can play only a song beamed to you up to three times, and that particular song cannot be beamed to you again after you've received it once. And beaming only between Zune players using version 2 of the Zune software.

Drawbacks to Using The Wireless Function

The main drawback to using the Zune's wireless functionality is that it eats up battery life. Fortunately, some features are built into the Zune to help prolong battery life. For example, if you sync manually from your Zune (when it's not docked or plugged in), it disconnects from the wireless network immediately after syncing to save battery power. Also, if you plug your Zune into your computer during wireless sync, your Zune drops the wireless connection and syncing stops.

In general, if you can keep the wireless function off during normal use, and only turn it on when you are going to make or receive a transfer, your Zune's battery will thank you.
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