The Best mp3 Player {Zune HD Review/Giveaway}

Have you ever heard of this little device called the iPod?  You may have heard mention of it once or twice.  What is not mentioned nearly as often is an mp3 player by Microsoft called the Zune.  Now, I know I’m SLIGHTLY biased, but I have mentioned that I have a iPod Nano, and I asked a few friends who have an iPod Touch some questions so I could give the Zune a very thorough review.

First, I downloaded and installed the Zune software.  Even if you don’t own a Zune, I completely recommend this software!  I downloaded and installed it before the Zune even came in the mail (come back on Wednesday for the full review of the software).  I also signed up for my Zune Pass.  There is a 15 day trial of the pass, and it is completely incredible.

The Zune software was able to grab all of my music from my iTunes library, I plugged my Zune in and was up and running in a jiffy.  I did have to recreate my playlists, so that was a bummer, but I needed to go through those anyway.  It even grabbed the podcast subscriptions I had!  Once it was all loaded up I was ready to play around with my new toy.

I hooked the Zune HD up to my home wifi network so that I could browse the Zune Marketplace.  The awesome thing about the Zune Marketplace is that you can stream an entirealbum, listen to the entire song to see if you like it and want to purchase it.  Or just stream an album that you like, that you haven’t gotten around to buying yet.  I’ve already discovered several new artists that I really like from suggestions in the Marketplace (and due to the fact I can listen to the whole song!)  Can you really figure out anything about a song from a 30 second clip?  I never could.  When you are browsing through the artists in the Marketplace, you can browse albums, songs, pictures, bio’s, and related artists (either similar in sound, someone that influenced the artist, or someone influenced by the artist).  This is a really great feature for discovering new artists that you will enjoy listening to.  The Marketplace also has apps, but there aren’t really a lot in there … YET!  I’m sure with Windows Phone 7 coming out soon the apps will get kicked up a notch.  I did load my two most important ones, Facebook & Twitter.  The other area where iPod beats out Zune is the addition of a camera.  Zune does not have a camera.

After I played with the Marketplace I checked out the radio features (which iPod Touch does NOT have).  This is where the Zune HD gets it’s HD part of the name.  Apparently there is now such a thing called HD radio.  I tuned to one of my favorite local radio stations.  I was greeted with familiar static and quality degradation as I moved the Zune around.  Then I selected the HD channel.  It was amazing.  The sound quality was awesome, and I moved the Zune around, sat on it, put it under my laptop (under all that electronic interference), and it still sounded crystal clear!

I watched a few podcasts, checked out the web browsing (over the wifi), and set my homepage to be an image of my kids.  So here is what I’ll say about the “GUI” (Graphical User Interface), it is so beautiful!  Seriously, the iPhone has been around for how long, and they haven’t had a major update to it’s GUI?  The wall of icons is outdated!  Give me access to the things I need quickly, and let me decide what the things I need quickly are.  For example, there are two main home areas.  You can swipe right or left to switch between the two.  The first one is the list of places to go (ie music, videos, pictures, etc).  The other home area is the one I use more, which is the customizable home screen.  The first item on the list is the “now playing” so you can easily go back to exactly where you were in whatever playlist or album you were listening to, even if it’s from the Marketplace.  Next is your “pins” which you can completely customize.  I have my most frequently used playlists pinned there, so as soon as I turn the device on I have ONE tap to get my favorite playlist started.  After your pins you will see a history, so if you recently played a podcast or a certain album that isn’t already pinned, you will find them quickly in the history section.  Last is the “new” section.  This will have all of the most recently added items to the device.

The last thing I’ll say about the user interface is I LOVE how it plays songs.  It displays pictures of the artist the song name as they scroll across the screen in fun patterns and directions!  Videos are crisp and clear and you can even plug it into your TV and get 720p HD!

Now that you know how much better a Zune HD is than an iPod, you completely want one, right?  Well the great news today is that Microsoft was generous enough not only to give me a Zune HD, but to let me give one away too!!  That’s right, this weeks giveaway (I hold a giveaway every Monday on awesome technology products) is a Zune HD.

To enter to win the Zune HD simply leave a comment on this post!  As always, there is only one entry allowed per person.  The giveaway will go through Sunday, Sept. 26th at 8 PM MST.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website


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  • I would love to win this!! My husband had the biggest one you can get as far as GIGS and it was stolen.He’s miserable without it!!

  • I have never owned an ipod or a zune or anything. I think this would be a very good start! 🙂 Thank you for offering this and good luck to everyone!

  • This would be so awesome to use to with my children for their MN highschool music contest.(They have to learn and study all sorts of classical music throughout history) Thanks for the chance!!

  • I would love to win this. I still live in the dinosaur time and listen to music on a boombox, (*GASP*) LOL!!! Course my 8 kids would arm wrestle me for this…I would be nice and share! 🙂

  • My daughter is almost 18 (next month) she has had a Zune for such a long time – she loves it – she is ANTI-apple (except for the fruit) 🙂 Her last Zune she had lost the little tiny screws out of the back of it and she held it together with rubber bands – refused to buy a new one because it worked perfectly. She had it for several months like that – she finally broke down and saved up for money for a new one some time last year. I presently have a DEAD NANO – worked fine one day and the next time I went to use it – DEAD! She told me I should have bought a Zune. You know – sometimes Kid’s do know best. I would love to own a Zune of my own. Plz consider me for your give-away. Thank you!!

  • I am the only one in the house without one of these things! My husband, and my girls all have ipods – thanks for giving me the chance to be part of the new millennium, lol!

  • I bought one of these for my husband before they got big for xmas 4 years ago and he loved it but it unfortunetly got stolen out of his truck so this would be great to replace that!

  • What an awesome giveaway. If I was to get it, it would be gifted to either my Hubby or my oldest daughter. She is 13 this year and has a mP3 player high on her list of wants and it is just not in the budget.

    Thanks for the chance.

  • Thanks for all the information. This would be awesome to win cause I have chronic back pain and I walk. It would get tons of use! And with all my medical costs there is no room in our family budget to pay for one so thank you for sharing this!

  • I would love to try the zune. It sound very cool. Everyone in my family has an ipod but me. So it would be nice to have something different.

  • I would love to get this for my wife she has been wanting any music player really for cleaning and she really deserves it. Thanks for the chance.

  • I would love to win this. My fiance’s MP3 player is slowly going out and I know he would love to have this to make it through his work day.

  • I was always a fan of the zune over any mp3 players, but my old bulky and original Zune just died on me 🙁 I’d love to have a new one and I’m super excited to here about this version, since the ipod touch was looking very tempting to me, and I really didn’t want to get one! Here’s hoping I win a Zune HD through you!!

  • My 12 year old would absolutely love this! He has been begging me to buy him one. This would make a perfect christmas present. Considering my husband is laid off and we can’t afford one. Thank you for all the information on Zune.

  • Awesome giveaway! I love new technology and would love to check this out. With two kids, my budgeting doesn’t include new gadgets anymore.

  • This would be a great item to use as a gift! Not sure yet if it would be a gift for me or someone else!! LOL

  • I have heard fantastic reviews on the Zune. Would LOVE to get one. We got an ipod shuffle ages ago and it would be sweet to have an mp3 players with a screen and bring me into this century.

  • i LOVE ZUNE Its the only brand my husband will buy. I have had 3 of them. The first one took batteries so we upgraded to a rechargable one and 6 months later my daughter washed it (I kept it in my jacket pocket so I could use it whenever i left the house and she was trying to be nice)so for my birthday my husband bought me a new one which he is using right now since he stepped on his and broke the screen. SO I really could use a new one.
    Thank you

  • I may be the only person on the planet without an iPod. I have a cheapy little 4gb mp3 I got a few years ago for Christmas. Mama wants a new toy!

  • My daughter has had 4 IPOD’s since mid July this year, she keeps having to replace it. Not impressed. I would love to have an mp3 player for myself and the Zune sounds cool. Thanks for the chance to win one.

  • My husband’s 7 year old IPOD is on its last leg. Would be great to surprise him with this for Christmas

  • This will be great for my husband. He loves music and his phone just doesn’t hold enough music.

  • I would love to win the Zune. I’ve never had an MP3 player. I just started working out and this would be great.

  • I would love to win this. I am alway doing without. I am always helping out my kids and my family. I always end up broke. This would be a great win for me.

  • I would love to own this my son has one but not hd. He wants this one I would give it to him and take his old one. He loves the zune

  • Hmmm, an MP3. With three kids I doubt I’d ever get to use it but it would still be fun to win! It’d be nice to have something to listen to while mowing and running (not both at same time thought)