updated 04:10 pm EST, Mon November 12, 2007
Zune 80 Edging iPod
Early reviews of Microsoft's imminent Zune 80 are giving it an overall higher score than Apple's iPod classic, according to their respective sources. Reviews from mainstream sites such as CNET, PC Magazine, PCWorld, and YahooTech all note that the hard disk-based version of the player appears to have addressed most of the complaints about the device, which centered around its size and lack of podcasting support, while continuing to sport features Apple-made players lack. The 3.2-inch screen, FM radio, and access to an unlimited music subscription service all beat the iPod classic, according to the reviews; Wi-Fi sharing and sync are not even available on the iPhone or iPod touch, according to YahooTech.
"Simply put, Apple is no longer the leader in the realm of hard drive-based players," says PC Magazine reviewer Tim Gideon. "While the Zune 80GB and the iPod classic are both outstanding devices, the Zune has more features--and it's more fun."
Most reviews continue to criticize issues that have been present in the Microsoft jukebox since its inception in November 2006, which include lack of support for any protected music format besides that for the Zune Marketplace, and a lack of official support for platforms beyond Windows and the Zune media software. The new player's battery life is also weaker than for the iPod at less than 20 hours in real-world testing versus Apple's 30-plus tested hours for its 80GB equivalent, Wired notes.
The iPod classic is widely believed to be a form of stopgap measure for Apple, which is gradually transitioning to an all-flash lineup headlined by the iPod touch but feels obligated to maintain a hard drive-based player to address the wide gap in capacity between the differing storage formats. [via Gizmodo]