A Zune From Matchstick

I’m back home for the Canada Day extra long weekend, and I discovered an 8GB Zune awaiting me. I had been in contact with Matchstick, a ‘viral’ marketing company based in Toronto, about trying out the Zune, and given my interest in gadgets, I was happy to have the opportunity. The premise of Matchstick’s business, representing companies by giving away products to ‘Influencers’, as it terms them, has certainly earned Matchstick its share of ups and downs. On the one hand, everyone likes free stuff, but on the other, I started this blog purely as a personal project and certainly not to get freebies. Credibility and candidness are still of utmost importance.

But enough about the shady dealings of the blogosphere. Let’s talk Zune.

To help promote the Canadian launch of the Microsoft Zune, I was hooked up with a black 8GB flash version, a pair of the “premium” headphones and a USB-AC adapater. I knew I would be receiving the 8GB Zune, but not the extra goodies, so that was a nice surprise. After the obligatory un-boxing photo shoot, I got down to charging the device. As far as I can recall, this is the first electronic device that I’ve received completely devoid of a single ounce of battery at un-boxing time. While it charged up enough to even turn on, I was able to give it a thorough physical examination.

From the textured rear casing (which from what I can tell seems to be aluminum) to the glass covering over the LCD, this thing feels solid. There are no creaks and fit-and-finish is tight. It is also much lighter than my Samsung P2 and certainly only a fraction of the weight of a 30GB iPod Video. In terms of size, however, it’s not significantly smaller than the P2 (about a 1cm shorter and narrower, and marginally thinner), which has a much larger display. On the other hand, given the build materials, I don’t feel as though I need to baby this thing to keep it in pristine condition like the P2 or iPod.

Zune, P2, iPod

That’s all for now. I want some time to get to know the player before I write much more than a physical analysis. I’m already jotting down some detailed notes for a full review, but know this: I’m not Microsoft’s puppet. Sure, I would have loved to work in Redmond, but I value my credibility and ethics just a bit more. I figure if a company is sending out samples to the press, it at least thinks it’s a decent product. On the other hand, if the thing is crap, then the producer is clearly misguided and I want to let them know.


5 Replies to “A Zune From Matchstick”

  1. Wha? How do I get my hands on free promotional goodies? I plan to pick up an 80GB Zune, but when the price is right…

    Funnily enough, I contacted Microsoft when the Zune was first launched to possibly be a Canadian Zune Master (ambassador) but they weren’t releasing the Zune in Canada all those many years ago.

  2. I’ve decided instead of the Zune 4GB to get the Creative Zen 4gb MP3 player. The main factor was the price for me as its only $99 this week at Best Buy.

  3. I’m a little jealous you got to test it out so soon. I’m also a little disappointed that I got no direct or indirect mention. You will have to let me see it sometime so I can break my iProduct crush.

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