Zune HD (Microsoft)

Zune HD (Microsoft)

What is it?

The Zune HD is one of Microsoft most understated products every produced.  It is good, very good, yet sales not only never took off, but people were left unaware on a mass scale, of the products thanks in part to Apple iPod Touch sales going through the roof (even thought the Zune HD was and still is cheaper than the iPod Touch).

So what is it? It is a touch screen based MP3 Player (or PMP – Portable Media Player), produced by Microsoft featuring the fantastic Zune Interface (which can also partly be found in Windows Phone 7’s. Let’s face it, the product was never going to become a runaway success, especially since Microsoft refused to release the product anywhere outside of The United States of America.

The Zune HD came in two variants, 16gb (Black) and 32gb (Bronze), and was later also released in a 32gb variant. The Zune HD connects to a computer via the Zune Media Player (which is also the primary media player for the Windows Phone 7). The Zune was officially first launched in September, 2009. It is unclear as to whether there will be a Zune HD2.

Special Features

–  Can Sync with the computer wirelessly (provided you have a stable wi-fi connection) and can also get onto the internet.

– Contains a Nvidia Tegra Chip (which makes it faster, and allows it to play games with higher graphics).

– Allows for 720p (High Def) playback (when connected to a tv via a Zune dock)

– Connects to a Xbox 360, for music and media playback.

– Features an 3 inch OLED screen (Organic Light Emitting Diode) which allows for not only a bright and crisper screen, but it has better power usage over normal screens. It is much better than an iPod Touch screen.

Zune Pass (US only for Zune HD) – A music subscription service where for $15/month, you get to download an unlimited amount of songs (for the duration of your subscription), and you keep 10 songs/month permanently.

– Features one of the most dynamic way of showing the ‘current song playing’ through a Screensaver mode. The artist themselves are displayed behind the album picture (and you also get related songs, Artist Bio, and Artist pictures).

Reasons not to get the Zune HD

– The Zune HD marketplace is quite pitiful in all fairness. It features 27 games, and 12 other applications (all are free however). As a direct competitor to the iPod, which has at last count over 200,000 applications, this was quite disappointing.

-These Apps also take quite a while to open.

– It is unknown how much longer the Zune HD will actually be supported by Microsoft (unless a Zune HD2 is released, but it might differ).

– Zune Marketplace is rapidly increasing, but it still cannot directly compete with the iTunes Store (but it is getting there).

– Only supported in The United States of America. People who have bought it but don’t live in The USA can expect not to be able to access the Zune Marketplace to purchase Music + Movies.

-Despite its amazing features, it is slowly starting to be outdated as it has been out for sometime now.

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Verdict – To get or to not?

If you want a small compact Portable Media Player, with an amazing screen and extremely fast (lag free) device, and don’t care too much about Applications, then this is your calling. It can be bought on sites like eBay for quite a cheap price these days. The Zune HD still features plenty of tech that isn’t available in other PMP’s.

Otherwise, there’s always the Apple iPod Touch.


Founder and Chief Editor of Techin5, currently based in Melbourne Australia. Has always had a deep appreciation of Technology and how it helps people, which led to the birth of Techin5. You can follow me on Twitter at @jubbing and on Instagram