Since I haven’t found a good slip cover case for my Zune, I started to focus on a docking station. Currently, I’m using the simple USB cable to connect and sync my Zune to my Desktop PC, but laying my Zune on my desk with a connected cable running to my Desktop PC USB port isn’t very functional (or cool looking). So getting a basic dock is high on my list of accessories. I noticed a week before Christmas that Buy.com was having a sale on the older (round) docks where they were going for $14.99 (discounted by $25). They also had the Zune AV Kit (which contains the round dock, video cable, sync cable, wireless remote control, and AC adapter) going for $29.99 (discounted by $70). Since I needed an extra sync cable and AC adapter for my travel bag, I decided ordering the AV Kit would be the better deal.
The only issue is that the new Zune models (v2) are not completely compatible with the older docks. Specifically, the connector at the bottom of the dock is just a bit too close to the back of the dock slot making it diffcult (or impossible) to fit the new Zune 80 in it. After a bit of research, I discovered that a few users reported that taking off the top circular face place would allow the needed extra room for the Zune 80 to fit, so I decided to go with the $29.99 AV Kit purchase as the alternative is a $50 purchase for just the dock alone for the Zune v2 models.
So, my AV Kit arrives this morning and I immediately test to see if my Zune 80 will work with it. Sure enough, removing the top plate does allow the Zune 80 to fit (although it is a tight one), however, the remote control didn’t work. The remote is designed to drive the Zune while it is connected to the powered dock station. This is a handy feature if I connect my Zune to a TV set to watch video files, where I can change the videos, control the volume, etc. So not having a functioning remote control was a bummer.
At this point my only choices are to keep the AV kit as-is (with the defective remote or IR Receiver), or return the entire kit. The problem I always have with online ordering is that shipping defective merchandise back can get very costly, so much so that it negates any savings you might have gotten by ordering online vs a walk-in store. Because of this, I often write-off defective low cost items as shipping them back could cost as much as the item itself. In my case, the $32.00 US that I spend on this kit sits on the border with me regarding whether to ship it back for an exchange (once it’s open, you can’t get a refund from most online vendors). Fortunately, Buy.com has a return policy where they will pay for shipping if the merchandise is defective (they provide you with a pre-paid UPS shipping label online to print out). So, returning the item wouldn’t cost me anything (unless they deem it to not be defective, in which case they will ship it back to me at my cost). This is certainly a nice and unusual return policy, so I shipped the AV kit back to Buy.com today for an exchange. I’ll probably get my new kit in 2-3 weeks, so I’ll report back if the return procedure with Buy.com goes well or badly.
So for the record:
- The Zune 80 does fit in the older (round) Zune dock if you remove the top cover plate
- To remove the cover, just depress the rectangular button that is inside the remote control slot (behind the Zune slot). This will release the cover and you can remove it
- The Zune 80 will fit somewhat snuggly in the slot, but it isn’t too bad
- With the cover removed, the remote control will fit very loosely in the remote control slot
- If you buy just the Zune dock (older round one) it does not come with any cables. You’ll need to use your existing sync cable to connect your Zune to your Desktop PC or a powered USB port for recharging.