Zune HD


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Electric Jolt

My Zune HD --------Purchased September 18th, 2009.

Replacement or First Media Device---Replaces my iPod Touch 2G.

Thoughts of previous device compared to Zune HD---Still miss my iPod Touch 2G and adapting to Zune HD.

-----------------------------------------Section 1 ~Should you buy it or not?

iPod Touch 2G---

I loved having my iPod Touch 2G, but I was pretty upset about the design of it. The home button and everything seems so different from regular pieces of hardware. It wasn't a regular button, and in pictures of the original iPhone before it was released, I couldn't imagine it in real life. A circle on a circular button, just don't know about that. And the mirror scratch magnet on the back, hated it from the beginning, it looked so dumb altogether. The original iPhone looked cool, and the iPhone 3G looked neat, but the original iPhone is better designed because it wasn't as contagious to scratches as the glossy plastic on the iPhone 3G was. It is just a terrible design, terrible completely. Hated it's look, and got a case to make it look like the iPhone 3G, and now I look at my iPod Touch 2G and it has so many scratches from being in the case, it's just messed up. Not sturdy at all, worst design.

The UI of the iPhone OS is great at first, because you have never seen it before, but that wears off fast. Wow factor went down the drain, and jailbreaking and using my bad-ass theme I made for my iPod Touch 2G which made it look like a sexy iPhone 3G made it slow loading apps and drained battery, but everybody did mistaken it for an iPhone and think it was a bad-ass iPod. The UI just sucks, it may be consistent, but consistent means nothing to me if it means complete sameness, I want something neat.

The App Store really makes it the best piece of hardware, making it connected to the rest of the world. Jailbreaking was great for getting apps for free. You can do virtually anything with the help of the App Store, it is great being able to do over 70,000 tasks, whether that is gaming, typing a document, measuring an object using the built-in accelerometer, or checking Facebook. Virtually anything can be done with a simple app from the App Store.

Safari, the internet browser on the iPhone OS and it's computer OS, Mac OS X, is extremely fast thanks to the WebKit engine. Wifi is okay speed, but the speed of the browser makes it as fast as it can loading and rendering webpages. It is up-to-date and is called Mobile Safari on the iPhone OS, a separate edition of Safari made for the iPhone OS and is up-to-date with the computer edition that is widely used on Macs. It supports tabs too.

The dictionary is an important part to learning your fingers on the iPhone OS and your words. Makes typing so easy and welcomes you with open arms when coming from a physical keyboard, helps by popping in words and fixes mistakes, it's basically typing for you.

Zune HD---

I love my new Zune HD, which is smaller than intended even though I was prepared for that from several YouTube videos and other sources. Everything is sturdy on the Zune HD, I purchased the black edition of it, and is better than intended. I wanted the silver model but it was outside of my budget at the time. The back is great, because it is immuned to scratches with the way it is designed. I haven't got scratches yet and I got more than one minor scratch on my iPod Touch 2G's mirror backing the first day having it. The OLED screen is great, just love the colors, they pop out so nicely in low-light situations. Default lighting setting is medium, you have to turn it up to high in certain situations, including natural sunlight situations usually occuring in vehicles like cars or buses. Colors are nice in standard-light situations, but pop out in low-light situations, so it's great to watch movies and play games in low-light situations like in buildings with many artifical lights and with less light, and it is still viewable and usable in standard-light situations to change songs and check time and use basic UI. The home button is a sexy button, nothing from NASA, no odd circle that could possibly chip. I thought prototypes only included text on side that read "hello from seattle" but it is indeed on all Zune HDs and it's pretty neat, not an advertisement in anyway. Some people do not understand that the button on the side is a button called the media button and is one button, it is not a rocker button that can change volume. You must use touchscreen to change volume and change tracks, play/pause. Overall, great piece of hardware.

The UI of the Zune HD OS is incredible. The wow factor still lives on today with me as if I just purchased it, and it will for a long time. Smooth animations, neat effects, mind-blowing fonts, and still very usable. Very good integration, the OLED screen makes the fonts look great, and the black looks incredible as far as contrast goes on these screens. Very simple UI, yet very innovative, includes Pins and History, this is very useful to me. I love using pins, I love songs and then I don't, so I pin what I want and so I don't go through my entire collection, and I do not enjoy playlists, I like the direct shortcuts to my songs. Really pins works for everything, not just songs, it can pin anything really. Really happy WPF is in this great OS, takes advantage of the NVIDIA Tegra, again, very good integration.

This is definitely possible, with the NVIDIA Tegra, gaming can be better on the Zune HD, so far the apps and their loading screens and ads are bad. But it can be improved, the developer base for Windows is much larger than Apple's smaller developer base. With Monotouch, apps can become cross-platform and look great because they are made using .NET. A racing game is coming soon, I am waiting for it, because it looks great thanks to the NVIDIA Tegra, and also I love racing games especially using the device as the steering wheel. Facebook and Twitter apps coming soon too. If I can just get my stubby little hands on the upcoming app called "Project Gotham Racing: Ferrari Edition", I will be in love with my Zune HD.

Internet Explorer 5 on Zune HD OS? Terrible! The wifi is nice, but because the browser is slow, it makes it like dial-up! Internet Explorer 8 needs to be on the Zune HD, at least Internet Explorer 7, something. This can render pages nicely, but it has no tabs, and buttons do not respond, I tapped X so many times I was so frustrated. The Zune HD users community does know that the Internet browser does cause flickering, most likely caused by wifi and Tegra using too much battery leaving the OLED screen with not enough power to light itself up leaving bad refresh rate as it may seem. I bet a better browser can fix these issues. So far, most websites just report my browser as being Internet Explorer 5 and tell me to upgrade. Most websites just break, and the browser just is terrible.

The dictionary is not supported on the Zune HD OS, and guess what, it doesn't even include a nice landscape keyboard, it still appears to be cuddled together into a small area that doesn't go across the entire screen. Nice keyboard, but with dictionary and enlarged landscape keyboard, could be a whole lot more useful and productive to use. Until then, kind of my sad thought on it.

-----------------------------------------Section 2 ~Still deciding? Here's what I think they are supposed to do?

iPod Touch 2G---

It's a productive and yet fun OS to have, iPhone OS. You can have music, videos, podcasts, etc. You can have apps to accomplish a game or a document, etc. It is widely used and known, came from iPod lineup, main reason of hype of product. Has copy and paste and basic functions. Gets stuff done quicker by having no loading screens or ads on startup.

Zune HD---

It's all about entertainment. I love having music, and new songs come out all the time. I might not like them, but it gets stuck, so I try to listen to it until I get tired of it, and then I love other songs, and I just can't really rate a song one out of five and still believe in that. Paying for a song stuck in my head? That doesn't make sense to me, when I can just stream it over wifi. Or download it and then delete it right from the collection on my Zune HD without needing a computer to do so. With a free trial, and then just 14 dollars per month, I get all the music I want. So all those songs, I just stream them over wifi, and then if I want to continue listening to it going somewhere with no wifi, just download it then play it whenever. Rate it as you like it, don't like it, or don't rate it. I got this song stuck in my head, so I rate it as I like it, but then I don't like it anymore because it's not stuck in my head anymore, tap the rate button to not liking it and on the next sync, my sync plan is to not sync songs rated as not liked. So away from Zune HD and retained in my collection. What if I do like that song and want to learn more, well I check the bio out, and maybe I will enjoy some pictures during the now-playing screen. It's great being able to listen to whatever music I want and how I want. Wireless syncing, don't forget that too. With my AV dock, I can purchase a movie and then watch it on my TV in 720p HD. So I have options, and I can go play a game if I want, no time to spare, I can watch an advertisement. Might be annoying but don't forget, it's only for 5 seconds and no time to spare and you don't see it during the game. Lots of apps in the App Store have ads all over the apps, no free trial option so lite apps and regular apps crowd the App Store. I can do so much with my Zune HD, and it's my center of entertainment, no boring UI that lost the wow factor and continues to look the same over 3 years later. It can't show time on every screen, or do copy and paste, or show battery level, it may be dumber than the original iPhone because of that, but I got used to it and don't need that stuff.

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murkurie

I would just like to point out that it is a modified internet explorer mobile 6, not whatever you posted, but nice review, I hope to dump my ipod 2g for the zunehd, I feel the ipod's are no longer about media,

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mrmomoman

The Original intent and use of the IPOD is compared to the Original intent of MTV. Over time it no longer was about music and videos it was about trying to stuff everything into one program.

I love my ZUNE HD. I don't find as many browser issues have some have reported. They will improve on the UI and there will be hacks for it just like the previous Zune generation. They can grow this platform and I if you haven't tried just the Zune Player itself give it a try. It is a nice setup, easy to navigate and I like the borderless frame with animation of the artist and text while playing their song. Nice touch.

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Chsoriano

Since I purchased the Zune HD as primarily an mp3 player, I don't have any complaints about the browser... what I've used of it was alright, but I haven't actually tried to use it as a browser.

That said, I absolutely love the device, as others have said, the interface is second to none, the integration of the marketplace (and Zune pass) is done very well. Friends of mine have used it and love it. I've already convinced a couple of people to purchase it as well. I do hope that Microsoft starts to push more apps or opens it up for developers.

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Electric Jolt

Neowin's front page looks like crap on here. This keyboard doesn't even make capital letter for new sentence. Its overall frustrating. I'm typing on it right now.

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tsupersonic

Well, you can thank the iPod Touch/iPhone for the **** browser. Why? Because Apple is the ****** company which started putting WiFi (browser) on a portable media device. Call me crazy, but a portable media device is a device that's main purpose is to playback media (music, videos, pics). It's main purpose is not internet browsing, or apps, these are secondary features.

Since MS has to make the ZuneHD compete against the iPod Touch, they have to include a web browser. Otherwise, people would've have bitched that it didn't have browsing capabilities. WiFi is not done well on the iPhone/iPod Touch or the ZuneHD. It's just good for on the go checking very simple sites. Not only this, but to actually have a decent web browsing experience, you need a decent big screen (4"+) with a nice browser (like Opera). The Archos 605/5 series are a good example of how browsing should be like, if a PMP should implement it.

Overall, I'm enjoying the ZuneHD. I did a review of it against the Cowon S9, and as a media device, the s9 is just better than the ZuneHD. As a multi-function device, the ZuneHD is pretty cool. The ZuneHD is much better than the iPod Touch, in just about every category. The ZuneHD has better sound quality, a great OLED screen, marketplace/social integration is very nice, and the Zune software is better than iTunes.

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Electric Jolt

You're blaming Apple for causing the Zune HD to have WiFi. Wow, I wouldn't have got the Zune HD if it was going to be without WiFi. Opera is a bad browser, maybe better on other platforms, but Safari is so much better. I enjoyed being able to go to many websites and be able to browse quickly and with good rendering. Internet on Zune HD sucks so far because it's using an old version of Internet Explorer, and we already know the old versions have horrible standards. Plus sometimes the browser doesn't do what I tell it to do, I said stop loading a webpage but it continues to, and I said go to google.com but it insists on saying the page couldn't be loaded for some reason even though I'm on perfect WiFi. It's a bitch using this right now, but I'm happy Apple made a good experience, why would I be blaming them for making something different.

WiFi is done great on the iPod Touch and definitely the iPhone, I don't know what the heck your talking about. I loved using WiFi on my iPod Touch, I jailbroke it and then downloaded music from P2P on it and everything. Made it a server for accessing files, etc. You're like so dumb for saying it wasn't done right.

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tsupersonic

Well if you have even used Opera on devices like the Archos 605/5, you'd know it's superior to any browser found on any PMP devices. It's faster than "Safari" on iPhone/iPod Touch, supports tab, and it supports flash. The iPhone/iPod Touch has NOTHING compared to the Archos 5 when it comes to comparing media players vs media players, or even web browsing. The Archos 605/5 doesn't use the typical Opera Mini/Mobile, Opera created a version just for them.

Microsoft could change the browser in an update later on. Yes, Apple is the reason why MS put a web browser in the ZHD. Otherwise, it would be a web-browserless yet WiFi enabled device. There is a need to compete...

I'm sorry but the iPod Touch is so slow browsing on web sites, it's just a fail of a implementation. This is my opinion, and I am glad you find me dumb for stating my opinion.

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+warwagon

You posted a review of the Zune HD and didn't even include some pictures. That should be illegal :D

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Electric Jolt
You posted a review of the Zune HD and didn't even include some pictures. That should be illegal :D

Sorry about that. I don't have a camera, and my phone's camera freezes my phone so I have to take the battery out and put it back in to actually use it again. I flashed my W580i phone's firmware and everything possible, it's a hardware issue. So as far as pictures go, I'm SOL.

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Windbag
You posted a review of the Zune HD and didn't even include some pictures. That should be illegal :D

I too hoped to see some pictures of Zune compared with iPod. :(

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Calum
You posted a review of the Zune HD and didn't even include some pictures. That should be illegal :D

I disagree. Sometimes people are more interested in the person's experience if they have seen the product and many videos of it (like I have in this case) :)

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MazdawgRollin

I too have recently purchased the Zune HD and love it. First off, it was the first time i used the zune software on the PC and it's my primary media player now. Secondly the device itself is great. I had an iphone in the past and i think the useability of the Zune is a lot better, not to mention no crashes, hangs or reboots. I think my favorite points are that I got to uninstall itunes, and the fact that i can add/remove music at multiple locations.

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PL_
It's faster than "Safari" on iPhone/iPod Touch, supports tab, and it supports flash.

Mobile Safari supports tab. Also, why would you want Flash on a mobile device? It drains battery and is pretty CPU-intensive.

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tsupersonic
Mobile Safari supports tab. Also, why would you want Flash on a mobile device? It drains battery and is pretty CPU-intensive.

I know that, I have a 16GB iPod Touch G2...The only nice thing about the touch is it supports exchange, I like that feature very much, but I don't use the touch otherwise. Why would I want flash on a mobile device? It's just nice to have, can play flash games if I'm bored or goto video sites...I've seen many apple fanboys complain about not having flash on the touch or the iphone. Also, that's like saying why have bluetooth or wifi on a mobile device? It drains the battery. Just include flash, give the option to turn it off in the settings, and everyone can be happy that way. That's how the Archos 605/5 works.

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BoDEAN

I "heart" by Zune HD. Use to use ipods...but no more.

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Electric Jolt
I know that, I have a 16GB iPod Touch G2...The only nice thing about the touch is it supports exchange, I like that feature very much, but I don't use the touch otherwise. Why would I want flash on a mobile device? It's just nice to have, can play flash games if I'm bored or goto video sites...I've seen many apple fanboys complain about not having flash on the touch or the iphone. Also, that's like saying why have bluetooth or wifi on a mobile device? It drains the battery. Just include flash, give the option to turn it off in the settings, and everyone can be happy that way. That's how the Archos 605/5 works.

When something drains the battery like that, or has a con that's as bad as that one, it simply doesn't get on the product because it isn't supported. If customers call in saying the battery is draining itself, what is Apple going to do, say "By Design" like Microsoft did all during Windows Vista? The iPhone experience is supposed to be seamless, it's why it is so popular. And the Zune HD doesn't include many features, it's why the battery lasts so long for me. For God sakes, it doesn't have time and battery everywhere, who thought that would become a feature. :blink:

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tsupersonic

Hello, I don't know if you have heard of such thing as an on/off button, but they allow you to turn off these battery hogs like bluetooth/wifi, etc. All I'm saying is MS should add in flash and have an ability to turn it on/off. If you don't want flash, just turn it off. If you want to do something with flash, just turn it on. How great of a concept is that? :rolleyes:

WTF are you talking about the ZuneHD not including "features"? It has wifi, that is a huge battery hog, and the battery is good because of many factors. Stop being such an apple fanboy. Hmm, so just because it doesn't have time/battery everywhere, it's getting more battery life? That is the stupidest thing I've heard. You know what's a feature on every MP3 player I've seen except for most of the ipods? Radio, what a feature it is to have that...And to think Apple is just getting around to adding it to the ipods, freaking pathetic.

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  • 3 weeks later...
thomasfrank09

Ok, first off, Opera on my Zune HD would make me very happy. Oh so standards complient.

Anyway, I bought the 16, so here are my impressions.

Firstly, my device history goes like this...

Sansa E250 2gb - Creative Zen Vision M 30gb - Zune 120gb - Zune HD 16gb

So right off the bat taking a 104 cut in memory was an iffy choice for me. But I had sacrificed features with my last purchase as well: as you may know the Zen Vision M was regarded as one of the best PMP's of all time with it's wide codec support, great UI, and amazing screen. With the 120, I was forced to convert much of my video collection and some of my audio. But I still really enjoyed the jump in memory, as my song collection is huge. I still own both these players, so if I really need a large capacity player I can grab one.

Well, I won't be for quite some time.

I absolutely love my Zune HD. Like everyone has said, navigating the UI is a dream. I just looks amazing. I also love being able to see what is new on the player; oftentimes I'll sync a bunch of music over and then forget what I put on it. Also, pins are great.

Being on a college campus, I have almost 24 hour wifi access. So I really haven't had a problem with storage - I've just synced over what I like and left ample room for new stuff. The only problem is with video - I used to be able to carry around a lot of movies with me; now I can get about 2 (currently Waiting and Never Back Down). Of course the other problem is most of my movies are .avi, but that's always been a problem for the Zune.

I also really like the feature that lets you start playing music at any menu screen. The old Zunes made you go through a lot of menus to get playing, with this you can just hit play from the home menu to start shuffle or hit play on any album or song.

At first I thought I would hate not having a dedicated volume rocker because it wouldn't allow me to change volume from my pocket - I now realize that it's a great feature, because I get to take it out and look at all the eye candy to do it. And it's really not that much of a hassle.

The touch screen is amazing. Pinch zooming is even better than it is on the ipod. I just love it.

The web browser does need some work. It's pretty slow. That said, I don't mind using it. I can get to the zune forums, facebook, and gmail just fine. However if you check gmail on the zune it doesn't mark your messages as read. Overall they could fix it but it's still a nice feature to have.

Apps right now suck. Chess, soduku, and goo splat are fun, and the calculator is useful, but with this thing rocking a Tegra and the awesome touchscreen it could do so much more. In fact, if you're willing to do some dirty work installing XNA there is a 3D tron lightcycle game floating out there right now. Personally I can't wait till the end of this month when the new apps are scheduled to drop in the marketplace though.

On a final note, sound quality on this player is awesome. Even the people over at anythingbutipod think so - they're saying it compares with the awesome sounding Sansa Clip (which I also have).

Overall, I love the Zune HD. I just think it's got a lot of potential that hasn't yet been tapped.

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