PCMag Gets Hands-On with the Zune HD

I have to say, even as an iPod Touch owner, the Zune HD looks fabulous – thin as a wafer, and that interface looks killer, and a lot of fun to use. The browser – that special version of Internet Explorer – looks fabulous as well, and here’s hoping that Tim is right and it really is a sign of things to come in Windows Mobile – WinMo desperately needs improvement in its browsing experience.

To that end, the Zune HD will likely only fall down because it’s essentially a media player and a web browser. Granted I think that’s what most people do with their iPod Touch and other media players that are capable of that, and I do think that the end is nigh for media players that just play music and maybe video on a tiny screen if you’re lucky. We’re ushering in the age where your digital media player should also be able to check your e-mail over wifi and play a few videos.

The Zune HD reportedly will cost less than the iPod Touch (and let’s be clear, the iPod Touch is its obvious competition here) which is just fine considering you won’t be able to download games and apps to the Zune HD (at least not that’s been confirmed) – but the question remains whether people even want all those apps, or consider it when buying a media player. Microsoft may be betting than when people want a media player, they want something that plays their music and video and maybe can check their e-mail, while Apple’s made a push to make the iPod Touch more than a media player, but also a mini handheld computer that can do those things as well as play some games and help keep you organized, or be a reference device wherever you go.

Time will tell, but one thing is for sure: the interface and the elegance of the Zune HD will definitely force Apple to improve – the Zune HD is a gorgeous device, and I’m looking forward to playing with one. Competition is a good thing!

[ Gearlog :: PCMag’s Zune HD Hands-On ]

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