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Review: Zune HD

updated 08:45 pm EDT, Thu September 17, 2009

Zune HD reviewed with iPod in mind

For awhile, many had thought the iPod touch had dealt blow to the Zune that Microsoft didn't have an answer for: the 2008 Zune update was just a mild refresh, and even the software team was mostly quiet for the next year. The Zune HD, then, is Microsoft's return salvo. It promises not only to put the Zune level in terms of features like multi-touch input and Internet access but to have features Apple lacks, such as 720p support, HD Radio and an OLED screen. We plan to discover just whether or not Microsoft's return to form is enough to quiet Apple's guns in our complete review.

by MacNN Staff



  1. slapppy

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Of course

    Of course they have an answer to the iPod Touch. They copied it and added a few useless features to try and make it seem different. Without the iPod Touch, the Zune had nowhere to go to progress. So might as well copy Apple again.

  1. gitcypher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Useless Features?

    I swear, that is fanboy hate at its best! How can you say OLED, HD Radio and HD output via that incredible Tegra chip to be useless? Maybe you guys are so trained into believeing Apple knows what you do and don't want. You probably think that the ability for the nano to take still pictures was a useless feature... Apple sure does, even though every other poratble device intuitively has that.

    Sheep, man. Sheep!

  1. sgirard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Zune camera

    Gitcypeher: I didn't know the Zune has a still camera. I didn't see it in the specs. Thanks for the tip.

  1. vasic

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Did anyone read the whole thing?

    I made an effort and read through the whole thing before commenting here.

    Zune HD, if it were to exist in a contemporary vacuum, would be a very cool device. However, it does not. It exists in a colossal shadow of the iPod touch. As such, it will be all about perception, brand awareness. And today, nothing, just nothing can compete with Apple as a brand, and iPod as a device. There's that scene in the NBC show, "Chuck":

    Chuck Bartowski: Morgan! Hey, ah, buddy, do we carry any Rush CDs in the store?
    Morgan Grimes: No need. I got them all in my Zune.
    Chuck Bartowski (in complete disbelief): You have a Zune????
    Morgan Grimes: Are you kidding me? No, no. I'll grab my iPod.

    This says it all. The global perception is: Apple - cool. Zune - uncool. Zune HD has very little chance in changing that, regardless of its features, usability, build quality and price. It will have a purpose, though; it will continue to motivate those in Apple for whom building insanely great product isn't enough of a motivation (and despite what Apple fans believe, there ARE people like that on Apple's campus).

  1. gitcypher

    Joined: Dec 1969


    @ sgirard

    I wasn't implying that the Zune has a camera, which we both know is not true. I'm saying that every poratble device that has a little BS camera takes still shots as well. It seems extremely counterintuitive, and frankly, "counter-Apple" to not have that utility in the Nano.

  1. sgirard

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No camera

    Thanks for clarifying, gitcypher. I'm trying to figure out which is the better buy. The iPod Nano has the video camera, lots of storage for music, files, and podcasts, and plays videos too. The iPod Touch has the tons of cool App Store apps. The only advantage I can see to the Zune is the Zune Pass, but I hate being saddled with the monthly fees. Right now, I'm leaning toward the iPod Nano. It's really tiny and except for Zune pass does 95% of what the Zune can do, plus it has a video camera.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Zune HD vs iPod touch

    There is a feature per feature comparison of Zune HD vs Apple iPod touch at ObamaPacman dot com

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