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At the time of it's release, the Zune HD was heavily overshadowed by the iPod Touch, which was undoubtedly the better product, but the Zune HD still had some things going for it, and it's still a product that can be great in your personal life.
I'm sure you all remember the iPod touch, but what's this Zune thing? That's a line I hear oh-so-often when people are discussing the Zune. Despite producing arguably better sound, the iPod had, and still has, so much more to offer. Microsoft simply missed the mark with the Zune HD and they've been playing catch up ever since. Due to Microsoft underestimating the future influence of apps the Zune lacked heavily in the sense that it was a barren wasteland in terms of apps, besides the bare minimum included with it, such as radio, social, internet, photos and video, all of which the iPod had, and more. Yes, this review may seem all doom and gloom, but the Zune HD was in fact a solid MP3 player and, despite being rather obsolete in the days of smartphones with built in music players, it is more than worth the money for the price you can pick them up for nowadays. You'll normally find them for £20-£40 on eBay, I got mine for about £35, which is an absolute steal if you're looking for a player for just you're music and nothing more. Read on for a breakdown of the general features!
Audio. Considering the Zune HD is predominantly an MP3 player, I'd be expecting the audio quality to be incredibly high, and so should you! That's exactly what we get, incredibly high quality audio, which, as far as my ears can tell, is better than that of a current generation iPod! The Zune HD does however have no external speakers, another function that the iPod does have, which is a major let down for when you want to let your friends hear that awesome new song you downloaded!
Display. The display is very nice, crisp and clear. It's not quite a retina display, in fact it's far from it, but considering the age of the device it holds up well against the competitors.
Interface. The interface is one of the highlights of the device. The panel layout, which appears to be an early version of the layout used in the new Windows Phone's, is very nice and feels intuitive to use. Every control is contained on the touch screen, with the exception of the home button, which can often become a nuisance when trying to change the volume, which requires you to press a button on the side then press the screen to adjust volume and switch songs.
Apps. They're non-existent. Microsoft clearly didn't see the potential in apps back at the release of the Zune HD, leading to their absence in the Zune HD. There are a few basic apps, photos, videos, ect. but no third-party apps in an App Store format that was present on the iPod.
Overall, the Zune HD doesn't quite match up to the iPod Touch, but it is quite a nifty little device if all you're looking for is a place to store all of your songs. If you're looking for a cheap MP3 player with a nice layout and good quality, the Zune HD is the device for you but if you require a device with access to apps, internet and the full works, the iPod Touch is the device you need.