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Customer Review

on March 11, 2010
I admit at first seeing this out of the box, I wondered how something this size could measure up to other media players out there. Fortunately, everything about the Zune HD makes up for it. I don't know the size of the iphone or itouch; I honestly thought those were larger, so if larger appeals to you, maybe that and a present collection from itunes would back a purchase of something that I'd agree is much pricier, which brings me to the cost-effectiveness of the Zune. Both Zune and Itunes enables you to purchase music and videos, etc. exclusively for the media players. There are strengths and weaknesses to both players, I'm sure, but ultimately what brought me to the Zune was the fact that I already had a good collection started through their free software, but moreso because more people are buying ipods and such, and this made me decide to buy something in support of a Microsoft project that should only get better. Also, I am looking to get a Creative Zen X-fi because it would enable me to watch my Amazon downloads. This Zune does not enable that, and my guess is that Amazon itself will come up with a proprietary media player of its own, in line with its kindle project. Possibly we could see a phone from both companies, if not already, I don't know.

Anyway, it was the Zune 120gb or this 32gb HD, and I can say I'm more than happy with the touch edition. To my knowledge this is a different technology than the older edition, and much more dynamic; thusly, this type of storage is more expensive than a simple hard drive. "Dynamic" is how I wanted to describe the graphics available on this, especially through their apps, which proves what is possible for the downloadable HD content. I watched some of a movie filmed in Chicago (since I lived there, it interested me), but the high definition is apparent.

UPDATE: I've watched several animated shows, such as The Simpsons and Spongebob, and they look great!.

Back again to storage: I am more than happy with the capacity this offers because I just today synced my entire CD/Video/Photo library onto the zune32 with about 13gb to spare. I plan to subscribe to their marketplace and manage the library from there. The downside to downloading content though, I must admit, is that files can normally only be downloaded once for a certain duration when they are purchased. From there, you'll need to make backup copies of the songs, which will not play under someone else's computer that is registered in their name. That would be a deciding factor when purchasing for most people. Itunes itself is proprietary this way, but contrary to itunes (which has online radio), with the Zune Marketplace, you can download all the music you could want. Most all of the music available at the marketplace is downloadable with the Zune Pass at $15 month to month, and as long as you keep subscribing you can hold onto the stuff you like. If you go a month without subscribing, the songs expire. However, you'll discover tons of albums that you can collect from each month because you're allowed to keep 10 songs a month while subscribing. Video selection is not as immense as Amazon, so I think it's unfortunate that I can't sync my Zune to Amazon Unbox. I'll feel guilty enough after purchasing a Zen Xfi (in order to sync to Amazon) that I'll probably donate an equal amount of money to a local charity or homeless shelter.

Besides the Zen Xfi, you might also consider an Archos, in order to play Amazon videos. All of the MUSIC you downloaded from Amazon, however, will play on any media player you buy, and that's why Amazon is the best deal for music now. At this time, Amazon is not proprietary, and the music you download from there should have no Digital Rights Management. I was also considering a more economical choice in a previous edition of the Sony Walkman, the S-Series, and I decided to get one of those through Target so that my friend would have something. Those go for $100-$130 for 16 gb capacity at the same exact size as the ZuneHD32, though the screen is smaller and obviously old technology. The Sony plays Amazon videos; it actually syncs with Amazon Unbox, but I'd argue that project by Sony was a quantity over quality, meaning even though you can expect a quality product from Sony, that Walkman is very limited in functionality and was targeted at a much larger crowd of buyers than the zune possibly. Sound is done to perfection on it though.

And here I am back to the Zune. New everything. It is simple to navigate, and quick. I don't think it's safe to operate any such devices on the road unless the music is managed before the drive. A lot of attention is required of these things because there are menus and submenus and special motions of the finger to play/pause/change volume/change tracks. I expect button versions of media players to be safer, but I don't know from experience besides from an ancient Archos 10. The Zune has much to offer through its marketplace. If you subscribe, you'll even have access away from home to almost any music you think of, with access to 10 songs you keep each month.

It seems that it's a good size to use just one hand with your thumb being operative, and I'll be the first to say I might try it on the road sometime (double lane divided highway). Anyway, it is a nice thing to have around the house, and it really motivates me to get away from the computer. I'll also say the screen is difficult to see in daylight outside. Indoors during the day there is no problem.

Other things to make note of that others might not have touched on, the headphones included are good quality, but they easily fall out. Be careful if you're a guy at the urinal listening to a song. I found out today that my music from Zune transferred easily to the Sony Walkman. The sound on the Zune I'll confirm is excellent. The internet is simple. I'd say it works better than a Sony PSP, but nowhere near the size. You can zoom in and out, scroll, etc. You can even adjust the Portrait/Landscape mode just by moving it. Finding the perfect website to browse, I'll leave for someone else to find, because it doesn't seem to be any use to me right now. I do use the Facebook App, and that is the most use I get out of browsing online. Also, the radio I really don't care for. Anyone who doesn't like radio is sure to get away from that menu. I do listen to NPR sometimes, but I couldn't get a signal today just to see how it was. I'm a good distance away from the big town, so I wasn't surprised.

My first thought on syncing everything from my computer was that it felt like having everything organized on a separate machine that is portable, if that gives you a better view of what this offers. Like for instance, you can't walk around casually with your laptop or computer to watch videos or listen to music while browsing photos, and we're used to sitting at a computer with our Mp3 selection. This device or any other like it, should enable you to walk around the house, get on the treadmill, lay in bed, do chores, walk outside...in other words, it'll diversify your day - all while listening to your favorite new or old music.

This ZuneHD offers much to the typical consumer. It's surprising how far advanced we've become technologically, and the ZuneHD is definitely a part of that.

As I said earlier, I'm happy with the purchase, I'm a little stuck in a stuck situation, and I'm glad to have something that helps with that. I tend to go through one hobby to the next, and that is my stuck situation. Honestly, I'm addicted to designing houses in the Sims 2. I think I need to be visiting friends more, going places more, anything to open up my understanding, and being in front of a computer much of the time takes away from that part of life. Honestly, computers should not replace that.

If you already have itunes music, some of it should play on the zune, but zune marketplace music and videos may or may not play on an itouch/iphone/ipod or other media players (again, not for sure on that; might depend on the media player itself). Sometimes is the case anyway, because I was actually able to sync the zune music to my friend's sony walkman.

I'd go with the Zune HD again, if it gets lost/stolen/broken. I'm totally impressed, and I'm sorry I couldn't touch on more of what this offers other than what you probably already know. Very slick navigating, etc. If you decide to purchase one of these Zunes, I'm sure you'll enjoy it. The sound, versatility, graphics, reliability, and other such things were given a great deal of consideration with the ZuneHD, and their software is attractive, free, and readily available.

UPDATE: I've had my Zune HD on almost consistently, from one day's charge and play to the next day's charge and play, for a month or two now. Still works great, and alcohol wipes seem safe for cleaning the screen off since there is sure to be fingerprints. Also, hand sanitizer might reduce the amount of fingerprints you get on it. I use a hand sanitizer that doubles as hand lotion.

UPDATE: Still enjoying my Zune a great deal, but I should recommend waiting for the 64gb version due out sometime if not already. I have subscribed for three months now, and the benefit of previewing music is very understated and simple. An immense amount of music is available for free download under subscription. Subscription content expires when you don't renew your subscription. Some music isn't available to buy or preview or download. Oftentimes, I'll discover a new artist and it turns out none of their music is available on zune. It might be listed but not available. However, what I've been able to download makes up for it. If you're into game soundtracks, EA has all of their music available, but many of the Japanese artists haven't made theirs available yet.
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