The talk that resulted in Tux offering me a slot on here revolved around his being in the market for a new top of the line pocket media/MP3 player. For his birthday last year a few of us got him a new Zune, which he loves, so he was thinking about getting a nicer one. I had to tell him to put it off for a bit, as the next generation of bad ass was coming soon.
For some the iPod is king... but its not for everyone. Below is my description as to many of the reasons why people would choose the Zune HD, which comes out Sept 8th, over the iPod line.
#1 - Look at the damn thing! I can't speak for the world here, but I really can't stand the swoopy, curvy soft lines of the iPod, and most Apple products in general. When I have the option, I go for cool factor, something that has the feel of a machine rather than an artsy paperweight. This mean puppy has the look of a serious device, and as you will read below, its all business when you get past that killer venier. Past the esthetics, there is less space between the edge of the screen and the edge of the device. This actually means that you get the same size screen in a smaller overall package.
#2 - Its not just the size of the screen that counts... but its the motion of the ocean... right? I've always been a fan of the size AND motion of the ocean strategy, and Microsoft agrees with me here. They decided to kick Apple in the shins and replace their old screen with a 480 x 272 OLED, which in English means it'll be uber sharp and bright, more so than the oh 'so last month' iPod Touch.
#3 - Under the hood is perhaps where this puppy shines the most. Its got the brand spankin' new Tegra processor from NVIDIA, meaning this bad boy will rip through your video faster than anything out there now, and... get this... will be able to port out to your TV, with an HDMI cable, with full HD video. Until the interwebernetz connects everything to each other, you can bypass those ancient circular plastic pieces of junk DVDs, keep your movies on your harddrive and just hook your good old Zune HD up to your flatscreen and watch Firefly with abandon... thats what I'll be doing anyway :)
#4 - Other killer features that the Zune has over the iPod line include HD radio reception, wireless sync, and for the gamers among us, the unique ability to view content you buy for the Zune on your Xbox or home computer. This mixed with the Zune Pass subscription service, which lets you download all the music you want onto your Zune for 14.99 a month. As their ads say, compare this to the literally tens of thousands of dollars you would have to pay to fill your iPod with MP3s, and the victor is clear for me. The Zune pass can even be used on up to three computers and three Zunes.
I'm no Microsoft fanboy, as a matter of fact I'm fairly anti-Microsoft on a number of fronts, especially Windows vs Linux, Microsoft Office vs Open Office, Hotmail vs Gmail and Explorer vs FF and Chrome. But here we have a qualitatively better product, with a handful of better features and, in the eyes of this beholder, a better design. I've gotta tip my hat off to them for this awesome piece of hardware. I've been holding off on getting an MP3 player, just keeping a few on my netbook and smartphone for the last few years for when the radio gets boring, but this puppy might pull me down off the fence.