Microsoft Zune HD 32GB Portable Media Player Review
23 June 2010
Conclusion: The Zune interface both at the keys and on the go is kind of, y'know, pretty (there, I said it), so while I did have to really search (and wait) for what I wanted at times, the lively Zune experience might indeed have an edge over the plainer, more static iTunes in terms of sheer fun.
Pros: Cross-platform "ecosystem" combines 1080p at home and 720p-to-go, Built-in HD Radio/FM tuner, Wi-Fi, with downloading directly to the device, plus social connectivity
Cons: Does not support Windows Media Video Digital Copy, Zune software could be more intuitive, less sluggish
Conclusion: With a fantastic OLED touch screen, a top-notch Web browser, and a wireless music store, the Zune HD is the best PMP you can buy—that is, if you live outside the iTunes universe.
Pros: Gorgeous multi-touch OLED screen. Intuitive user interface with sharp, good-looking graphics. Strong Web browser. Wireless music purchasing, downloading, and syncing. HD radio.
Cons: Limited audio codec support. HD files are displayed in standard-def on the player—an optional dock is needed to view HD files on an HDTV or a PC. Very slim pickings in the App section of the Zune Marketplace.
Excerpt: After getting my Zune HD I was surprised that it was actually smaller than expected. It was only inches bigger than the iPod Nano (1st gen). The Zune HD is solidly built device. The screen is slightly smaller than the iPod Touch and was prone to smudges.
Conclusion: The Zune HD is not too friendly with a bring-your-own-content scenario with limited audio and video codec support. It really hurts to see the most powerful mobile processor, the NVidia Tegra, being underutilized in a device without native video support.
Pros: Clean and easy user interface, Great looking OLED screen, Very responsive capacitance touch screen, Great sound quality, Solid design and build quality
Cons: Limited codec support, Many of the features rely on the subscribing to the Zune Pass, Microsoft funny money points required to purchase content, No custom EQ, presets only, No drag and drop support
Summary: The Zune HD is an interesting device and is most easily compared to the iPod touch. It is because of this comparison that some will deem it a failure, while others will praise its added features.
Excerpt: Ah, the Zune. Born back in 2006 as Microsoft’s attempt to compete with the mighty iPod, it’s languished, largely unloved by the marketplace. Each fall since then has seen the launch of a new version of the hardware, and each has seen it quietly fade into obscurity.
Pros: Best screen that’s ever shipped on a portable media player. Sync software has excellent music discovery features. Zune Pass subscription lets you download as many tunes as you want. Industrial design finally approaches the lustworthy quality of an Apple product. Zune Pass subscribers can stream m...
Cons: Several years behind Apple when it comes to interface and app store. Music library still has some holes. No Macintosh software. Web browser is competent, but takes a while to render some pages. Onscreen keyboard for browser is horrid.
Summary: The first-generation Zune media player that Microsoft released last year was a so-so product with a few nice touches. So the question with the new, second-generation Zune is whether Microsoft is ready to surpass its competition, most notably Apple and its iPods.
Excerpt: This past week, Microsoft launched the Zune HD , which won’t become available until the fall. In the meantime, a few sites ( Engadget , Gizmodo ) have had a chance to see the device in action.