I’ve been out of the Zune scene for a while (just enjoying my Zune 80 watching videos), so I haven’t been keeping up with the latest Zune technology. I did receive an email yesterday from Zune.net regarding the Zune HD, which prompted me to take a look at this next-generation media player from Microsoft. I’m glad I did, as it appears to be a really cool device!
If you check out the specs for the Zune HD, it is smok’in hot. As they say, “the 3rd time’s the charm” when it comes to Microsoft products, and this definitely is a charmer. I love the thinness of the Zune HD along with its OLED touch screen (yes, the entire screen is touch sensitive instead of just the small touchpad on the current Zunes). They updated the operating system to run more smoothly and have animated screen transitions (much like the iPod Touch and iPhone) and the ability to access HD Radio (for free!) and play high def videos out to a external TV Monitor (via a dock) is great for videophiles.
The battery life is suppose to be pretty good (compared to the current Zunes), and the Zune HD comes with a full Internet web browser (connecting via WiFi). There’s even a popup on-screen keyboard for typing in web addresses, etc. Just like the iPod Touch and iPhone, the Zune HD comes with an accelerometer which allows you to rotate the unit from portrait to landscape mode very easily.
The only bad thing about the Zune HD, is the size of the storage space. Currently, the max you can get is 32 GB, so switching from a Zune 80 with 80 GB of storage to only 32 GB is a drastic change. However, I currently only have about 60 GB of space being used on my Zune 80, so I could trim it down to less than 32 GB and still be comfortable with my loaded videos. Still, it would be nice to have more storage space.
I can understand why Microsoft chose to max out the new Zune HD at 32 GB, however. Microsoft probably wanted to have a device that was priced under $300 US, and to do so they needed to limit the storage to 32 GB if they used FlashROM as the storage media. I’m sure we’ll probably see larger capacity Zunes appear next year, but only if the price of Flash storage technology comes down as well.
If you’re curious, do a Google search on “Zune HD Reviews” and you’ll find several different videos showing the Zune HD in operation. Although I’m perfectly satisfied with the performance of my current Zune 80 (which I mainly watch TV Recordings), it would be great to have the ability of surfing the Web at a Starbucks, McDonalds, or any other WiFi hotspot with my Zune device. HD Radio would be great also, along with having a much lighter Zune in my pocket!
For those who can’t wait for a Zune HD, you can pre-order one now from Amazon.com and Bestbuy.com for delivery on Sept 15th.