Zune HD looks like a winner

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Wired’s Dylan Tweney got to play with Microsoft’s inexorably excellent Zune HD.

It’s compact, lightweight, good-looking and has a very slick interface. Microsoft’s newest media player has a bright, crisp OLED display that the dark lighting of the nightclub showed off to very good effect. It’s fast and responsive: Video looked great on it. Its 480 x 272 pixels are a far cry from HD, but they present a 16:9 aspect ration and they’re bright and contrasty, with deep, rich blacks, so you won’t mind much. Also, we could zoom and swipe between photos with great speed…

Read the rest at Gadget Lab.

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7 Responses to Zune HD looks like a winner

  1. dculberson says:

    I would actually argue that Windows Media Player is already a better media manager than iTunes. iTunes can’t even monitor a folder for new files, ffs. What year is this, 1989? Christ.

    I guess I’m just agreeing with you that iTunes/Windows is a dog. No experience with the Mac version, but I doubt it fixes the glaring features that are lacking. “Add to now playing list,” anyone? Who the fuck cares about an “on the go” playlist. I just want to add something on to the end of what I’m listening to, RIGHT NOW. Why on earth should I have to act like I’ve got a virtual stack of CDs and can’t do anything with them once I hit play on an album?

    It’s like Sony with the wait-in-a-line to play the equivalent of browser games on the PS3. Someone needs stabbed in the mouth for that one.

  2. Keith R says:

    I can’t wait to see how the Zune HD will stack up against the forthcoming third generation iPod touch (set to debut next month). The Zune HD looks to be a noble effort, but I am anticipating the next iPod touch will bring new features to the table that will keep the Zune HD from being a dominant player, and remain as a worthy alternative.

  3. north says:

    “Its 480 x 272 pixels are a far cry from HD…” -
    It’s called the Zune HD because it can output 720p video to a (HD)TV over HDMI (plugged into it’s dock) This is no easy feat, but NVidia’s Tegra chipset is apparently the secret sauce at work here…

  4. Blue says:

    Agreed, the Zune HD looks spiffing, but the dock looks like clueless shit straight out of the 80′s.

  5. BillyShears says:

    It looks pretty promising, an OLED display has been on my iPod wishlist for sometime. The 720p output is nothing to sneeze at either.

    That said, the only way Microsoft will make a dent in the iEmpire is to not only match, but surpass the entire experience; not just the player, but the ecosystem. That means building a better media manager than iTunes (they have a chance on the Windows side, iTunes/Windows is a dog) and the level of store integration that Apple’s achieved. The device itself is only a piece of the larger “This is why I want an iPod” mentality.

  6. dculberson says:

    Outputting 720p over HDMI is pretty freaking incredible for a pocket sized device.

    I hate it when my aspects are rationed.

  7. TJ S says:

    Blue, I think the coloring in that photo is confusing. Other shots I’ve seen show that the table under the dock is color-changing, and giving the weird effect you see there.

    The dock itself is black. (And it’s not like there won’t be a bunch of 3rd party ones to pick up if you don’t like the shape.)

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