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Zune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player (Platinum)

100% Positive Reviews

Posted

Pros: Sturdy, good sound, Zune/Xbox Music subscription compatible, handles most music files, fun interface, beautiful screen, Zune desktop client

Cons: Limited app choice, Zune has been discontinued

Although I love music and have historically been fond of Apple products (since the Mac Classic), I never found a need for an iPod. They seemed cool, and I sort of wanted one, but I really didn't have much use for a portable player.

 

When I finally broke down and bought one for the gym, I went with a Sansa Clip, as reviews said it sounded better than all but a few iPods. Later I upgraded to a Sansa Fuze, which I also liked. But something was missing. I didn't just want to load up a device with MP3s; I wanted more of a curated experience ala Apple. But I didn't really want an iPod. *Everybody* had one of those, and the iTunes store's DRM (not a problem now) and interface annoyed me.

 

So what to do? I searched, and I found numerous reviews touting the Zune HD as an "sleeper" of a portable audio system -- one that few people owned, but was actually a great alternative to the iPod. It had a $15/mo. subscription plan that - to my great surprise -- carried tons of music that I liked and was interested in (things like experimental rock and metal, for instance).  So I found a gently used Zune HD on eBay for $200 or so. We've been inseparable since. I now own the (discontinued, but still available if you look) HD dock, as well as a car radio kit, and I use my Zune much like I suppose many people use their iDevices ... docked to my computer at home, docked in my car on my commute, and docked at my workstation at work. It's a slick setup that suits my tastes.

 

Quickly about the device itself: It is very well constructed, with a magnesium shell and tough glass. The OLED screen is brilliant and still impressive for an aging product. It does have some apps, but not many. AudioSurf is the best of the lot. There is also a calendar, rudimentary browser, a Facebook app, an email client, and an HD radio. Not bad for such a small device. However, if you own a smartphone, you will prefer to use that for your social tasks. Anyone with adult eyes and fingers would tire quickly of writing emails on this thing.

 

Unfortunately, the once-touted "social" features no longer work, as Microsoft has let them die. Same for wireless downloading from Zune (I think). I haven't been able to wirelessly download tunes for several months, and I think it may have to do with Microsoft's transformation of the Zune service into Xbox Music. [Clarification: Streaming music from Zune/Xbox Music still works via Wi-Fi; my problem is confined to Zune subscription mp3 downloads.] There is a well documented issue with the Zune's Wi-Fi not playing nicely with WPA encrypted routers, so that might also be an issue. Come to think of it, I have auto-synched tunes between my laptop and Zune in the recent past via wi-fi. It was kind of slow, though. Transfers are speedy using a USB 2.0 or higher connection.

 

Some good news: the Zune client is still available for all recent flavors of Windows, and it does still work (as of early 2003). I've confirmed with Microsoft that Xbox Music is compatible with Zune (via the Zune software) and should remain so indefinitely (that is not a promise, but it is encouraging). The Zune software is no longer being updated, but it is stable and very usable on my Windows 7 computers. I'm hoping for a couple of more years to enjoy this device before Microsoft pulls the plug.

 

Downloads using the Zune software and synching still work just fine. So does importing your own music to the player. ... Which gets to the reason I still use this thing: It's a *very* good little music player.

 

The sturdy magnesium shell is durable and scratch resistant, and the device has an interesting and very usable interface (it's just a touch annoying sometimes, but you get the hang of it fast) that was an inspiration for Windows Phone. The controls are all touch-based, except for three buttons, which you use to navigate and turn the Zune on or off. It stores a healthy amount of music (32 GB in my case, though a 64 GB model was sold). There is no expandability or battery replacement. It charges within a couple of hours and can run all day. I've dropped it many times (inside an Incipio protective shell) and it seems no worse for wear. 

 

The sound is quite good. I've read it uses a Wolfson DAC and it seems pleasantly warm and detailed to my ear. There are rudimentary equalizer choices (like Rock, Acoustic, or Jazz) to tweak your sound. My unit does not carry any electrical noise. Just a very nice, clean signal. That is worth comment ... the output jack appears to be well designed. Better than any computer device I own.

 

Touches like this make the Zune HD seem less like a consumer audio device and more like entry level audiophile device. I've listened to it using $40 headphones and $400 headphones and remained impressed. I consider this the DeLorean of mp3 players ... not many sold, but an iconic, enduring classic. I'll use this until it wears out or Microsoft stops supporting it. By then, maybe somebody will manufacture a smartphone that caters to the audiophile crowd?

Posted

Pros: Sleek, OS is well organized very efficent, Sound Quality is natrual

Cons: No apps

Enjoyable, I upgraded from a iPod Nano 3'd gen.

I love the OS it's very smooth, the addition of the HD Radio Tuner is great as well. Audio quality is good too, unlike my iPod, there's no hiss or excessive noise at high volume.

Screen is wonderful, clear and vivid a little on the smaller size. All in all a great buy, but it's best for Digital Media playback only!

Posted

Pros: Sound, UI, Touchscreen, OLED Display, HD Radio, Software, Zune Pass, Durability, Battery Life

Cons: Not many apps

I had an iPod Touch before this.  The headphone jack in the iPod broke again for the fourth time, so instead of dishing out $50 to fix it, I decided to buy the Zune HD.

 

 

The music player on the Zune HD is purely amazing.  It's a very cool and neat interface to play around with.  It made it fun to listen to music.  It also has an HD radio that is decent, but not extremely good.  However, it's still better than no radio.  The software for the PC is also sweet, a definite step above the iTunes interface.  It is very colorful and creative.  The software allows you to buy music straight from the Zune player or from your computer.  The song cost varies, but you can purchase a Zune Pass.  With the Zune Pass, you can download as much music you have for $15.99 a month.  It's a must have if you're always downloading new music.  The Zune also has a magnificent OLED display that makes the darks darker and the brights brighter.  I was really blown away at the vividness of the screen.  Not only is the screen awesome, but the design of the player itself is marvelous.  It is sleek and really just slides into and out of your pocket smooth.  It is also a pretty durable device.  Dropping this will probably do more to your headphones than it will to the player.

 

 

Overall, I think that this device definitely deserves to be at a higher ranking than the iPod Touch.  For 32 GB of storage at a cool $200, this device is a must-have.

Posted

I love the interface and design, beautiful to look at and use. A bit underpowered, but the Ipod is worse. I was honestly amazed at how light this thing is, but it is so sturdy. The actual Zune software made going through my music fun again, not just a long list of grey lines.

Posted

Pros: Low price per Gig. Nice UI. String drivers.

Cons: Me and the touch screen don't always agree on what I'm trying to do.

The UI:

The UI is very easy to navigate and the screen looks great. I only have two complaints, the touch screen sometimes has trouble telling when I am swiping and scrolling, and the screen sometimes pulses when navigating the UI. 

 

Sound quality:

My IEMs sound great. The Zune also manages to drive my Denon D5000 satisfactorily though an amp is definitely needed for any high quality cans. 

 

Apps:

The apps market is pretty weak though with a total of 30 apps or so. However, Facebook and Twitter apps are available which should be enough for most people. 

 

Why I bought it.

Zune HD: ~200$

http://www.amazon.com/Zune-Video-MP3-Player-Platinum/dp/B002JPITY8/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1287862783&sr=8-2

 

Walkman ~400$

http://www.amazon.com/Sony-Walkman-Video-Player-Display/dp/B0029NYI4K/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1287862757&sr=8-1

 

Touch: ~300$

http://www.amazon.com/Apple-touch-Generation-NEWEST-MODEL/dp/B001FA1O18/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1287862800&sr=8-1

Zune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player (Platinum)
Description:

Use your Microsoft Zune HD 32GB MP4 Player to Browse, stream, buy, and play all you want, including music, podcasts, HD video, games, and much more. The Microsoft Zune HD 32GB MP4 Player is the premium digital experience that gives you access to the latest in entertainment and technology, allowing you to enjoy, connect, and discover content in a whole new way--the way you like it.

Details:
DetailValue
BindingElectronics
BrandZune
ColorPlatinum
EAN0882224858144
FeatureNOTE: In order for headphones to work properly, insert jack into device port until it clicks into place
Height0.35 inches
Length4.02 inches
Weight0.62 pounds
Width2.07 inches
LabelMicrosoft Zune Players
List Price$269.99
ManufacturerMicrosoft Zune Players
ModelEND-00002
MPNEND-00002
Package Quantity1
Product GroupCE
Product Type NameMP3_PLAYER
PublisherMicrosoft Zune Players
StudioMicrosoft Zune Players
TitleZune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player (Platinum)
UPC882224858144
Batteries Included1
Is Autographed0
Is Memorabilia0
Release Date2009-09-15
Battery Description1 Rechargeable Li-ion
Display Size3.3
Size32gb
Models:
Model Name/TypeMPNEAN/UPC
Head-Fi.org › Head Gear › Portable Source Components › Digital Audio (FLAC/MP3/etc) Players (DAPs) › Zune HD 32 GB Video MP3 Player (Platinum)