Microsoft Zune HD Puts iPod to 'Shame,' Experts Say

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft has struggled to make room for itself in the digital media market since the days of iPod -- but now critics are today calling Microsoft's Zune HD the "best portable media player released by any vendor."

Early Revisions Lackluster

Released in time for Christmas 2006, few techies found the Zune hanging in their stockings. Despite wireless capabilities that allowed one user to swap tunes with a friend, the Zune's drab colors (black and brown, mostly) and few other features failed to shake the Apple tree.

Experts: Zune HD Put iPod to "shame"

But now it seems, Microsoft may actually have a winner on its hands. There's nothing complex about the strategy -- make a product so good that everyone takes notice.

Enter the Zune HD, a well-crafted and impressively small (52.7x102.1x8.9mm) device weighing just 74 grams. The screen, featuring all kinds of high-definition goodness, is lush and easy to read. The OLED display employs nVidia's Tegra APX 2600 graphics chip, which has critics like Betanews' Joe Wilcox saying "Apple iPod designers should bow in shame." (Source:

The Zune's capacitive screen reads the electrical impulses from a user's fingers in order to proceed through menus -- a system identical to that used by the iPod Touch or iPhone. Scrolling through those screens is also an ease, too, since the Zune is very responsive. (Source:

Not Enough App Support

Still, where there's praise there's often also criticism. Experts knock Microsoft for not spreading out an application-dense universe for users to explore. There are less than ten applications for Zune HD owners to download, versus the 65,000 available to iPod Touch buyers.

Zune HD Video Game Support

Given that the Zune's maker also builds what might just be the most technologically-advanced video game console on the market, it's hard to believe Zune fans are left without their own mini-iterations of Halo or Gears of War, but that may very well change in the near future. (Source:

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