Apple iTouch vs. Zune HD

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Microsoft’s New Zune HD

Microsoft and Apple have always been rivals; their products are frequently competing for dominance on the market. For example, Apple has the iTouch; Microsoft has the Zune. Both are music players that were released several years ago. However, now Microsoft has improved the old Zune into the Zune HD.

Both the Zune HD and the iTouch have touch screen and 480 pixel resolutions, along with Wi-Fi connection and web browsing, but the Zune has several different features.
By itself, the Zune HD won’t display HD videos, but you can hook it up to a HD TV and play the video in 720 pixels.

The Zune HD has always had a radio, even in previous models, but now, when you hear a song you like on the radio, you can “tag” the song playing to buy later. The iTouch doesn’t even have a radio, let alone a “song-tagging” ability.

Online, there’s a community called the Social that extracts information from your Zune and shares the “listening tastes” with a Zune-using community. There, you can also chat with other people.

Even better, the Zune HD is way cheaper than the iTouch. A 16 GB Zune HD is $219, while a 16 GB iTouch is $290: the Zune is $71 cheaper. A 32 GB Zune HD MP3 is $289, but the iTouch is $370: the Zune is $81 cheaper.

So if you want to save some money and gain an all-in-one package of radio, video player and music player, do yourself a favor and buy the Zune HD.

Zune HD vs. iPod Touch
Zune HD vs. iPod Touch


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David vs. Goliath: the Apple iTouch

Microsoft’s Zune series of mp3 players has received little coverage as of late, and with good reason too. With low-tier hardware and clunky software the Zune players paled in comparison to their iPod counterparts. With the Zune HD on the horizon, Microsoft is attempting to make a comeback in the media player department, however, this will be no easy task as they will be competing with media giant: Apple. It’s a case of David vs. Goliath, except this time Goliath isn’t the one going down.

Although equipped with a faster processor, HD radio tuner, and power-saving OLED (organic light emitting diode) screen, the Zune HD is equally matched by the iPod Touch’s larger screen, better equalizer, and voice recording options. Price-wise, the low-end Zune barely beats out the low-end iPod Touch by an extra eight gigabytes, but if you’re looking to get something high-tier, the prices are about the same with the iPod offering an extra 32 gigabytes over the Zune for $100 more. When it comes down to chips and circuits the two media players come out even.

But hardware is only half the battle. Having the finest tools and being unable to use them negates the point, and the Zune HD’s software fails to impress. While the Zune performs admirably as a top-grade media player, its limited media options (only 5 million songs available through Microsoft vs. the 11 million on iTunes) leave it gimped. Also, its secondary functions seem half-baked. The bare-bones web-browser is extremely limited in its usage, and the Zune’s syncing system has yet to gain the streamlined functionality of iTunes. Aside from the lack practicality, both Zune’s syncing application and its downloadable content are plagued with advertisements. If you have to pay a few hundred dollars for an mp3 player, it should come free of tagalong ads.

This brings us to our next topic: applications. No, these are not the college applications that every senior should be thinking about but instead, these are sweet little programs that can turn your iPod touch into a ruler, a tuner, and even a library card (handy for QUEST). While both competing media players have an application store, the iPod Touch’s choices utterly dwarfs that of the Zune. Furthermore, the iPhone’s slick application interface makes the Zune’s look like the work of an amateur.

When it comes down to flexibility, the iPod Touch can’t be beat. It can virtually perform any task, while the Zune provides slightly beefier media playback, the difference is not nearly enough to make-up for the lacking software.

Ultimately, the iPod Touch’s jack-of-all-trades, master-of-all mentality wins out.