Hands On With The New Microsoft Zune HD

Aug 2nd, 2009 | By | Category: iPods & Portable Media Players

CNet’s Matt Rosoff got a preview of the upcoming Microsoft Zune HD, and came away “thinking that Microsoft might finally have a contender”:

I was surprised and pretty impressed with its small size–without measuring, I’d guess it’s maybe two-thirds the size of an iPod Touch, and quite a bit thinner. In my hands, it felt more like an iPod Nano or perhaps one of the flash-based Zunes, although it’s obviously not that small.

But the real innovation seems to be going on in user interface.

Microsoft has done a solid job, taking the mixture of horizontal and vertical menus used on the current Zunes and adding particular tweaks for the touch screen. You can scroll horizontally or vertically simply by swiping your finger along, and there are multiple “ways in” to and “ways out” of the various menus and screens, which encourages exploration.

There was a bit of a learning curve, but after a couple minutes I was impressed by how much functionality Microsoft was able to pack into such a small screen.

Rosoff’s take is much more positive than the reviews of the 1st and 2nd generation Zunes. With investors calling for Microsoft to kill off the Zune, which has been bypassed by buyers, this could be the company’s last opportunity for a success with the platform.

The Zune HD is expected to be released this Fall.

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3 Responses to “Hands On With The New Microsoft Zune HD”

  1. msbpodcast says:

    And until I see a released product out there, I am not going to comment, and I lament the “floating of trial balloons” and the “Running of things up a flagpole to see if anybody salutes.”

    Write when you’ve got something to write about, otherwise its just vaporware and I’ve seen way too much of that over the decades from Microsoft.

    Used to be that Microsoft would “announce” an upcoming product to suck the air out of the room for the developer who was actually working on something.

    Then when the guy ran out of money and investors, Microsoft’s competing product would fade from the media buzz.

    They destroyed several competitors in the nineties that way.

    Don’t fall victim to the same “false news” yourselves.

  2. msbpodcast says:

    I sincerely doubt that anything branded Microsoft would be able to come out of the gate with enough momentum to make the institutional investors happy.

    I’m just sayin’

  3. Nikolai says:

    msb, what do you mean by vaporware? Cnet actually got a working model of the HD. Are you suggesting that MS made a mockup, complete with working UI, etc, just to “suck the air” out of something? Out of what, the iPod? I understand that you have a low opinion of MS, but surely even you must see how absurd that is.

    I for one am looking forward to the HD’s release. Looks like a fun product.

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