Friday, December 25, 2009

Microsoft Zune HD

Zune Aims for Apple

Afte r years of trying , has Microsoft finally beat Apple at its own game? Well, not quite. But the fantastic Zune HD certainly gives the iPod touch some worthy competition. The lack of a robust App Store is the only drawback for the Zune HD, which otherwise flaunts a beautiful touch-screen, an excellent user interface, HD radio, and the best browser we’ve seen since the Apple’s mobile Safari. While the touch is a better touch-screen player, the Zune HD is a close second. A very good-looking gadget, the 16GB Zune HD is Onyx Black and the 32GB version is Platinum Silver. This Zune has a smaller, lighter frame than the iPod touch, measuring 4.0 by 2.1 by 0.4 inches (HWD) and weighing just 2.6 ounces. However, the Zune’s 3.3-inch OLED screen is noticeably smaller than the touch’s 3.5-inch LCD, but video still looks great on it. The touch and Zune HD seem nearly identical in touchscreen sensitivity.

Microsoft’s software updates, however, are still clunkier than Apple’s. But once you’re up and running, the software and interface are impressive. Also, the Zune HD supports only MP3, WMA, and unprotected AAC files. The best new music feature on the Zune HD is the ability to purchase music wirelessly, thanks to integrated 802.11g. The Zune Marketplace makes it easy to browse for music on the player or your PC, but the Apps section currently has a very limited selection. Overall, Microsoft has shown Apple that it, too, can make an attractive, easy-to-use player. If Microsoft is able to give birth to an
App Store that can rival Apple’s, then the race could get interesting.—Tim Gideon

Microsoft Zune HD
16GB, $219.99 direct; 32GB, $289.99

Pro s : Gorgeous multi-touch OLED screen. Intuitive user interface with sharp, goodlooking graphics. Strong Web browser. Wireless music purchasing, downloading, and syncing. HD radio.

Con s : Limited HD video support. Very slim pickings in the App section of the Zune Marketplace.

Source of Information : PC Magazine 2009 11

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