The Zune HD
The Zune HD player is quite a nice looking piece of hardware and one that certainly catches the eye. Its sleek form has an industrial yet sexy look that gets attention. The model we tested was the Zune HD Black 16GB. The black color brings to mind images of exotic sports cars, especially with the glass covering the touch screen.
The front of the player is where we find the new OLED screen. This 3.3-inch organic display is unfortunately surrounded by a bezel and not full edge to edge. While this does not take away from the picture quality, we feel that a full edge to edge screen would have really set the Zune HD even more apart in look that it already is.
Along the sides we find a silver inset piece of metal (most likely aluminum); this is sandwiched between the front and back pieces and offers something like a grip. On the left side is a single button. This is the media button which we will talk about in more detail later.
The bottom of the player has the connection port for the Zune cable and your headphones. The top has a single button that serves as a power/sleep button.
Microsoft has also gone the understated route with their branding on the new Zune HD. The front has the word Zune in very faint letters just above the home button, while the back only has a single embossed Zune logo. The industrial look we talked about above is further shown off by the exposed screws visible on the back. The model we tested came from NVIDIA and as such proudly shows off its Tegra heart on the back. With a retail purchase this would not be there.
The Zune HD is also thin; it is not too thin, but is thinner than the iPod Touch or the iPhone 3G. Of course, the Zune HD is smaller than either the iPhone or iPod Touch.
The overall feel and look of the Zune HD is quite exciting and really does show how old the design of the iPhone/Pod is getting. Compared to where Apple is at with design currently, (in my opinion) the Zune HD looks much more modern and interesting.
The OLED screen is great, it has much deeper black point and more color saturation than traditional LCD or LED screens. It makes the viewing of video content and even the UI much cleaner. The wireless (G only) on the Zune is a little flaky at this time. I had one or two issues with connecting to N routers, but for the most part it was quick and functional.
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