Zune HD Review

Microsoft’s new Zune HD is slowly becoming a solid competitor to the widely popular iPod Touch and while already in it’s 2nd generation, the Zune HD is still playing catch-up.

zune hd

The weight and dimension of the Zune HD is just right. Out of the box, the Zune HD is pretty slim and light (40% lighter than the iPod Touch) with a glass front panel coupled with a single slender button at the bottom.

At the back is an aluminum plate, in brushed-metal finish, tucked with exposed screws. The construction is pretty solid and the design is more skewed to edge corners rather than curvy ones.


The navigation is really neat and fluid but needs some time to get used to. Instead of icons, the menu is composed of enlarged texts and some visualization. Playback controls appear with a single tap but you can play forward and back with a (horizontal) flick of a finger. Instead of a timeline, fast-forward control is activated with a sustained tap. Likewise, the volume can be controlled by tapping or flicking the screen up or down.


It’s got something going on with a number of pretty nice features the iPod Touch doesn’t have:

OLED Screen + HD Video-Out: Being able to output 720p resolution to your HDTV is a neat advantage. And OLEDs have better color range and viewing angle. True enough, the display doesn’t bend to a bluish haze when viewed at an angle (near the 180-degree angle).

HD Radio: Despite the very few HD radio stations here in the Philippines, the Zune’s HD Radio can pick up a wide range of FM stations at SD. Apple says they don’t want to put an FM radio tuner on the iPod Touch because they’re positioning it as a gaming device.

Wireless Sync: USB cable missing? The Zune can transfer and sync media files from your laptop or PC over WiFi. (If only it can also charge the battery wirelessly.)

zune hd

Did I say the capacitive screen is multi-touch too — so the pinch, flick and other multi-gesture functions are there. Very handy when navigating the built-in web browser. The touchscreen is very responsive and snappy that it’s indistinguishable with the iPod Touch.

For those curious how the Zune HD fares against the iPod Touch in terms of specs, see comparative chart below:

zune ipod

As for sound quality, the Zune HD has a nice volume range while the bass is more solid and sounded fuller. The earphones that came with it is decent and though it’s not impressive, I thought it was better than iPod earphones. When used with an in-ear earphones (SoundMagic PL11), the audio quality (especially the bass) is even more prominent. What I appreciated with the basic Zune earphones is the length of the cord (about 1.5 meters).

Video playback is smooth and crisp. Jumping from video to video or forwarding clips is snappy with no noticeable lags. The display brightness needs to be put in the “high” setting in order to appreciate the video experience. I didn’t have the AV dock so I wasn’t able to test how the 720p output fares when hooked up to an HDTV.

The Zune HD is not without its shortcomings. There are a number of things I thought that needed improvements:

External Speakers: As a PMP, I thought the Zune HD needs to have some external speakers. It’s not a big deal though but I expect Microsoft to add this feature in the upcoming models.

Improved Browser Functions: While the multi-touch gesture really made the browsing experience with the Zune HD very comfortable, the lack of basic features gave the impression that the browser is crippled. No bookmark management, no tabbed browsing, not even browser options. The browser cannot even render videos from YouTube.com (no Flash plugin).

App Marketplace: There were less than 10 apps that I was able to download from the Zune Marketplace — this is the biggest disappointment so far. I was expecting a bit more — not even apps for Twitter or Facebook.

What’s most interesting with the Zune HD is that it was priced by Microsoft very competitively. At about Php10,500 (see here) for the 16GB model, it’s very near the price of a 16GB iPod Nano and cheaper than the 8GB iPod Touch. Now there’s your value for money.

39 Comments on this Post

  1. is there a store which retails the zune hd in the Philippines??? if so how much??? thanks to whoever replies to this message…:D

  2. Zune HD and Ipod Touch are two different devices with various capabilities. If you’re looking for a solid music player with excellent video experience and tough battery duration Zune HD will do the job while the Ipod Touch offers apps. and games. Zune HD is a bang for your buck! X)

  3. anyone tried timing the battery time when playing videos and music (and apps)? just want to know because i tried mine for playing videos and it only lasted around 4.5 hours (but it says 8.5). haay. haven’t tried timing it yet in playing music but for apps, it really ate a lot of power!

  4. I actually watched a movie today lasted for almost 2hours and two TV episodes lasted for almost 48mins. it consumes about half of the power of my ZHD. My ZHD is set to medium brightness and volume is around 19-20. I only experience more power consumption in playing games which lasted almost an hour.

  5. I have one but the problem is sira sya nung binili sa U.S. problem is wla na ung warranty nya na 1yr ndi xa napagawa… I think its the battery. I charges it for more than 3 hours pero ayaw nya tl;aga magpen. Meron ba service center d2 ng zune o pwede mgpagawa d2sa pinas? tnks.

  6. mickey

    @lui – ang alam ko walang service center dito sa Pinas kasi sa US and Canada pa lang sya officially binebenta though alam ko may call center sila dito. have you tried pressing the power button for 15 secs? minsan kasi nangyari sa Zune ko nagoff sya tas akala ko lang bat empty at kahit anong ulit na pindot ko ng mga buttons ayaw talagang mag-on kahit pindutin ko pa ng mga around 10 secs yung power button kaya yun akala ko sira na yung zune ko. chinarge ko na rin sya nun for several hours pero ayaw pa rin talaga. pero tinry ko once pinindot ko yung power button for 15-20 secs or more at yun nagopen sya. parang nagreset to factory setting ata yun akin nun kaya kailangan kong pindutin ng ganun katagal. sana makatulong.

  7. edmar

    hi..l have my own 30g zone kaso d lang gumagana un wireless,,para mka pasa ng music,,need help po..pls ,,,tnx

  8. alexander salvio

    meron po b nagbebenta ng zune usb cord,if meron po pwede pashift sa tarlac.email me.tnx

  9. Trading your ZuneHD to PSPGO (Almost Bnew) mail me..

    • I’m ready for the summer and for a good time with the pocdast.But however it runs out, it just doesn’t matter.Saw this movie at the cinema and it blew me away.I was expecting to have fun from knowing Bill Murray from SNL, but I was about Rudy’s age and it was like having a big brother presence in my life for that summer.I went back to see again a few times.(movies and popcorn were cheaper then. And phones had rotary dials and cords and stayed in the effin’ house Eh, it just doesn’t matter *breathes deeply*)

  10. NO CAMERA??? No Nothing?

  11. philip willard

    panu bah maibalik yung marketplace na word sa homescreen ng zune hd ko?

  12. pewe68

    i accidentally deleted the marketplace menu on the homescreen or because i updated to firmware 4.5 thats why it is deleted bcoz some say that marketplace are is not supported outside US?how to fix this?can anyone help me?

  13. Perfect for a chillout slow jam hangout after the clubs close.
    If you own a Black – Berry 9550 Storm 2, Black – Berry Curve 8530, Black – Berry Tour 9630, Black – Berry Storm 9530, Black – Berry Curve
    8330, Black – Berry World 8830, Black – Berry Pearl Flip 8230, or Black –
    Berry Pearl Flip 8130, then you can listen to nearly a thousand songs on a
    single micro – SD card. Be comfortable in its open-air concept restaurant, where you might even sit in a table and look up to
    see stars in a clear night sky.


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