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Touchingly Different : Zune HD


One of the most positive initial reactions to the Zune HD was that we haven’t seen a better OLED display. At 3.3-inches, the display (480 x 272 pixels) is crisp with great color. The device is built well and owing to its slimness and a brushed metal rear cover feels pretty solid. There are only 3 keys on the device, a flush-fitting power button on the top, a (very useless) media navigation button and an elongated menu button just below the display. Startup is quick, thanks to some new hardware courtesy NVIDIA. There’s an HD video processor, an audio processor, two ARM cores and a graphics processor.

The specific Tegra solution used is the APX 2600 and this system-on-a-chip (SoC) is based on a 65-nanometre fabrication process. This particular Tegra solution Thanks to this there’s an HD video out capable of 720p, although the cable for the same is a separate purchase. Thanks to Tegra, the Zune HD is amply powered for every multimedia usage scenario one can think of, and menu responsiveness and activity animations are super smooth with no delays whatsoever. Microsoft has promised 3D games for this platform, which means what we’re seeing in terms of performance is probably a cakewalk for the APX 2600, and it is only 3D applications that might better utilize the jaw dropping hardware under its hood.

The interface a lot more complicated than Apple’s simplistic one and you will take an hour to get your bearings. The device itself has a good clean menu system. Compared to the iPod Touch, its obvious competitor, Apple has a much simpler, defined menu structure where it’s difficult to go wrong. But to some, this soon becomes boring as it involves mostly list-like menus. With the Zune, you will perform a lot more gestures. For example in the music menu, you will be swiping your way to glory moving between artists, playlists, albums, genres and so on.

The Zune HD ships with a tweaked version of their Internet Explorer for WM devices, pretty much necessary for a device with Wi-Fi support.

Videos look sweet, with good color, detail and contrast. In terms of audio quality, the bundles earphones mediocre, but audio quality of the device is good. You can directly download songs to the device, without the need of a computer. Tracks can also be sent to friends’ Zunes by entering their email IDs or Zune tags. Now for the serious downside, the Zune HD isn’t available here! Sad, for this is surely Microsoft’s best attempt yet, to nuke what can only be described as Apple’s utter domination of a segment.

Price: Zune HD 16 GB – $219 and 32 GB – 289 US$.

2 comments:

  1. OMG! The Zune HD is more than 2 years old and the Zune line is also being discontinued now - And you post a review of it now.. Keep up with the times folks!!

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  2. I write the reviews after actually getting a 'hand on' of the product which might include old devices.

    Received your mail also, would try to improve on them :)

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