Average review score based on 696 user reviews
of customers recommend this product
The iTouch similarities make it great, the differences make it arguably superior, or at least a formidable challenger!
While the Zune is not without fault, the Zune itself is a smooth operator, with well thought out specifications and unlike other iTouch competitors it provides a multitude of features unique to it's kin! The Zune HD has an outstanding 3.3 inch (480x272px) OLED screen, which allows for excellent quality picture. The HD radio is where it begins to noticeably set apart from Apple's wonder products. The Zune user experience is quite unique to that of the iTouch, the iPhone, etc. The feel is different, and that's because the many features allow you for fresh music all the time! You can access the marketplace right from your Zune, so you can have music straight from the device itself. You're also able to play a plethora of file types, even viewing movies at a in HD 720p on your television! The only catch, is to view them on your television, you need the Zune dock (which runs an additional $40-70 U.S. dollars) however, I can assure you it's absolute worth it! The dock completely mimicks the interface of the device itself and charges it. One of the superior features of the Zune is it's outstanding battery life particularly in a field of short lived Nano technology devices. It outlives it's opponents by hours.
The HD also brings an accelerometer to the table which makes the few applications it has worthy of applause, particularly because all Zune apps are completely FREE! While critics argue there are few apps, which is true there are currently around 25; they continually add more. Although the Zune doesn't feature an outpour of third party applications, it does provide useful ones including Calculator, Weather, and Facebook. Other features include wifi which is convenient especially on the go at place that provides free wifi. In addition, of course it features a web browser which is complemented with the touch screen keyboard, which is spot on and easy to use, standard QWERTY just like a computer keyboard but touchscreen.
Impressive additions unique to the device is the way the sorting of the library. You can view your song in numerous ways, flick buttons to swap in and out of connections to a song beginning with it's playlist then viewing others it's featured in, to viewing it's related album and the songs associated with it, which makes for excellent maneuverability!
The significant similarities to the iTouch are the Facebook application and web browser. Like the iTouch, it's completely silent, quick, and full of cache! You won't have to worry about not being able to large scale pages, you can view virtually any webpage. The browser automatically converts them to a better view for your screen and has that great 'pinch, push, squeeze, and stretch' way of changing your view the way you like, just like the iTouch. Fortunately, the Zune HD continues to receive support and improvement from Microsoft. They are adding more updates to the firmware — which unlike the iTouch is free to update. Microsoft also are at work creating more applications as well as games unique to the Zune HD.
While the Zune doesn't bring wildly new innovation to the table, it's certainly something to think about. It's convenient, great for media lovers of all types, and provides a different experience than the iTouch.
*Newheartsi (I, The Answer)
The reviewer worked very hard on this article so please rate it!
If you are looking at the iPod touch, the one alternative that is at the same level and in some cases better in performance and quality is the Zune HD. It does every thing the Ipod Touch 3rd gen does (audio, video, games/apps, touch screen, easy to use and intuitive user interface) and more (HD output, HD radio, OLED screen, more video formats.
It really is amazing. The way you navigate and the little things that make up the UI is what made me so happy right away. The available "official" Microsoft apps are killer and beautiful (ex. Audiosurf, PGR racing, hexic puzzle game), as well as a collection of hundreds of XNA/OpenZDK apps at zuneboards.com that will fill the gap between the amount of apps available for the iPod Touch and Zune HD. Video looks incredibly stunning. Battery life is really good and on par with the iPod touch.
In addition, Microsoft provides all the accessory packs you need on its website zune.net for separate purchase (USB sync/charge cable is already included with Zune HD), including an AV 720p output dock (allows HDMI, composite RCA, and fiber optic output), AC adapter and car charger/FM transmitter pack. There are also plenty of partner companies selling skins/shells, cases, screen protectors, and larger iHome like radio docks and speaker docks.
If you buy the Zune HD you will have a beastly fast, Nvidia powered device that plays music and video like no other handheld, while keeping up with awesome apps and providing the accesories to make the experience even more enjoyable.
Well, I wasn't making a choice for too long. No apple, period. Zune delivers just excellent sound quality with almost all my headphones, it's power is enough to drive even low resistent drivers, and the AFC is comfort for ears, just like it is required for outdoors - a bit more highs and high mids, but that just creates it's own sound style and charisma. Frankly speaking, I was a bit of tired of linear, flat and kinda academic sound of my iRiver - excellent sound quality but lack of emotions. Zune has brought me to the new level of portative sound pleasure, it can be called portative hi-fi easily. The mark, ipods will never reach, by the way, cause mainstream just does not need such a quality.
The absence of loseless formats just means that simple fact that it is impossible to realise loseless potential in such a small amperage and voltage - good quality amplifying is absolutely necessary for such formats. The beginning level of hi-fi audio is not always enough to notice the difference between flac and mp3 320 kbps, so what talking about portative audio? Yes, flac and aac support for pocket players is always a marketing and nothing more.
The usability of the device is good, I'm not sure it can be done better, but some features are a compromise. No possibility to use device as a flash drive, no way to upload music data to device directly, no way to download applications and games from non-supported areas, which is a really frustrating thing for "international buyers". For example in my country zune is not saled officially, thus the installed zune software just has no "Marketplace" option.
Thats bad, nothing to say.
The screen is bright (but still you can see nothing is bright sun) and the control is ok, slight touching is enough to make it work, just needs to get used to. What is frustraiting are colors. They are too vivid, green is too green, pink is too red. For ex I uploaded the photo of myself and my lips appeared to be almost red (vivid pink), which made me looking gay. I deleted that photo immediately...
Performance is ok, nothing to complain about.
Internet compatibility is ok, but unfortunately there is no mode for the device to fit the page to the screen, so webpages not optimised for mobile devices should be scrolled in all sides, which is not really convenient. Youtube does not work either. Keeping in mind screen unreal vividness, you'll not get mutch pleasure from browsing flickr or picasa if you care about normal pictures displaying of course. So the practical internet usage is pretty limited.
No possibility to read books. At all. With such a large screen it is a great omission. Actually, I was absolutely sure that it can read plain text files or pdf until I had it. Probably microsoft has no possibility to sell books yet. If they can't do money on this, they will never realise such a feature as txt support. How mercantile it is, in best traditions of microsoft, huh?
Well, that's pretty mutch it. Enjoy it.
he 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. The walled garden ecosystem approach will not bode well with some being that you must use the supplied software and are encouraged to purchase content from the Zune Marketplace. To get the most out of the Zune HD and to take advantage of some of its best features you will have to purchase the $15 per month Zune Pass. With the Zune Pass you may find that it is not as all-encompassing as a music catalog should be with newer and older content.
The Zune HD might have a bit of a commercial music feel to it and limits your choices but you cannot ignore the sexy hardware, incredibly responsive touch screen, killer UI, great sound quality, and connected features other players just don’t have. For those looking for a very easy and seamless experience between devices, software, and services the Zune HD may be for you.
Clean and easy user interface
Great looking OLED screen
Very responsive capacitance touch screen
Great sound quality
Solid design and build quality
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
From : http://www.anythingbutipod.com/archives/2009/10/zune-hd-review.php
The Zune HD is a decent player, but it has drawbacks. I bought it and out of the package it needed to have the drivers downloaded from the Zune site. No plug and play capability. The Zune Pass feature was the reason I bought it. Zune Pass is a subscription service that allows you to play almost any music in the Zune library as long as you are subscribed and get 10 songs/month that are yours to keep. I figured at $14.99/month it was like buying one album per month and getting to listen to the whole music store too. Unfortunately, I couldn't get it to work at first. Now that I have it Zune Pass is awesome it works great. Almost any band I can think of is here and most of the albums are available. This is what I was looking for in a great music player. The HD quality is good, but rentals at $6 each is too much. You don't actually need the player to watch the HD content anyway, just the computer software. Who's gonna watch an HD movie on a 3.3" screen anyway? The touch screen works good enough and the keyboard is ok, but it is a little small and can be hard to work with sometimes. The internet browser works, but it is slower than the Ipod Touch and the screen size is an obstacle. I am not giving up on Zune, just the HD. The main reason I left Ipod is the fact that their music sharing, buying, and transferring policies are a nightmare. Zune fortunately has no digital rights policies that interfere with managing your music like Ipod does. I bought albums from Apple that were corrupted and got told that any content once downloaded will not be replaced under any circumstances. Overall the Zune HD is a good player with nice features, but the small memory is a problem(32gb is the largest). I have to say I miss the bluetooth accessories and connectivity of Ipod too. Honestly it is the features that will keep me with Zune(DRM-free and Zune Pass)not the player itself though. Buy the 80 or 120gb model and buy a Blu-Ray player with the money you save. I'm selling mine and getting the 80gb Zune and a Blu-Ray player myself. Thank You, if you actually read this.
I bought my first Zune HD almost a year ago. I loved it so much that I had to buy another one. Now I have one for music and the other for videos. The Zune HD beats iPod Touch in everyway except for apps. The screen is better in so many ways. Half of the people I see with iPod Touch have a broken screen. I have never seen a broken Zune screen. Its slightly smaller in screen size, but its quality in picture is so much better than iPod. The zune also automatically adds pictures and biography for every band and this takes up almost no memory. The zune is also much lighter in weight than ipod and feels more comfortable. The wi-fi works great. The keyboard could be a little bigger though. The zune pass is also a great asset to have. Sync unlimited music to your zune and also have the ability to download songs for free from wi-fi connection. The radio is crystal clear. The only downside is the number of apps. Very few compared to ipod, but if you are like me I rarely use apps so it doesn't affect me too bad. All of the apps are free though and it has the basics such as Chess, Solitaire, a great racing game, great calculator, checkers, and some other fun apps The zune marketplace is also great. Never been a fan of itunes so when I first started using Zune Marketplace I was in love. Great buy and would recommend to everyone.
This little thing is awesome! I get HD radio with station info (last version did it too, I know, but this is more detailed), the touch interface is more intuitive than the touchpad on previous version, the display is faster and more vibrant, it is extremely lightweight and super thin too! Video playback is stunning and the oled response is impressive. Did I mention the amazing sound quality from the standard included earbuds?!? I can't wait to check out what this thing is gonna sound like through my sennheiser studio monitors! Oh yeah and the available games and apps are pretty cool too. The ZuneHD OS runs extremely smooth - an improvement but that's not a huge improvement from the last version as my 80Gb Zune 2nd gen ran pretty smooth too even with games installed. So far the battery life is pretty close to rated values. I'll go with 85% of what MSQL values are. I used the music player functionality three days in a row for 9 hour shifts at my job before it needed to be recharged, but it wasn't totally dead either... The video player allowed me to play the first five Saw movies at a marathon me and my girlfriend hosted with a little less than half a battery left.
There are two cons but they're minor in my book. 1) Still no internal bluetooth to complement the WiFi or external dataport add-ons for bluetooth. 2) Still no support for creating custom playlists from the player except the now playing list.
Neutral points (for me): Does not have an internal speaker, does not have an internal camera, comes with above average entry level earbuds/headphones (the zune premium v1's I got with my 2nd gen Zune are better).
Overall I'm gonna give this gadget a 4.75 out of 5. Radio reception is killer, operation is not only easy but fun, music playback is well beyond my expectations and video is exceptional for a portable device. Expandability options are more available for ZuneHD now too as far as a/v out, remote control and alarm clock/speaker functionality. While not a true HD screen it sure does mimic the ratio close enough for me. I'd buy it again!
The Good, It's Small,Looks Good,Has a Great Picture ,Long Battery life,Touch Screen.HD Radio,no other MP3 player has this.As far as I know.
The Bad ,screen too small (to watch a movie.A music video,or some short videos is OK). The sound ,not enough EQ settings.I have had better sound,and more EQ settings on other MP3 players. A little low on the Highs,for me. It could use a volume control on the side,so you don't have to use the touch screen evey time to adjust it.Also you can't use this with Windows Media.You have to download Micorsoft Zune software. Hope this is helpful.
The Zune HD is a great alternative to the Apple Itouch. If you are more concerned about music and video then this is definately the choice over the Itouch. the Zune software on your computer is far superior to Itunes (it doesn't ask you to update every three weeks) and Zune pass is one hell of a deal. for $15 a month it allows you to download (DRM) unlimited music from zune marketplace and keep 10 of those songs DRM free. Far better than $1 a song on Itunes.
The apps on the Zune are very limited at probably just under 50 total but at least they are free. The WiFi internet browsing is decent but is the equivalent of Internet Explorer 6 (some advanced websites don't display properly) and also does not support Flash, so no videos (Youtube or whatever)
the touch screen works pretty well as does the touch pop-up keyboard but it does take some getting used to.
Overall, if you don't want to shell out for a Mac product, either because you don't want to pay that much or hate Apple (or both like me) then this is the product for you.
WOW! Finally, a media and music player that actually is designed to make the video look good and the audio sound great! After frustrating fumbling with my ipod ,training my brain to think apple, and donating a significant portion of my hard drive to itunes, I found out the music quality sucked.
Zune; now this is what the music is supposed to sound like. The only frustrating thing I have encountered with the Zune HD is getting started ,or "setup". You have to type the http//www.zune.net/setup in the address line because if you put it in the search line lots of FAKE sites come up all claiming to be "official". Once you get to the real site the loading is slow but it gets there. If you can last through that pain the reward is worth it. With the Zune HD you get ease of use, much more information is at you finger tips about artists and media, clear pictures,the games are fun and free. The touch screen is great and the tilt feature is remarkably sensitive making games smooth and rotating a picture seamless. The quality of the screen is first rate and crystal clear. the unit is small though, a bonus for those looking to downsize and video is not hard to see it is simply a smaller screen than say, an iphone. The cord comes out the bottom so when it is in a pocket you don't have to flip the controls over in your mind(or when you pull it out of your pocket)they are just the same as when you hold it in your hand. There is quick access to song skip and volume control via a side button so there is no need to wait for the screen to "time out(ipod)" to get to the volume control. Ironicly the single menu button and swipe controls are almost identical to the apple type so in that way it is like the ipod touch (wireless sync-ing,online surfing,email,send music to your friends) only thinner and with better sound, the off/on button is on top and will only turn it off once pause is pressed so accidently turning it off is unlikely as is accidently skipping forward or back due to the need to have pressed the side button first then the skip button on the touch screen. This is a great product, there should be more well thought out things like this in the world. (Did I mention great sound? Go ahead compare any other brand with it using: same song, same artist, same album, same headphones, and you tell me)