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.

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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 SarahKimmel.com

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  • I would LOVE this! I’ve never owned a mp3 player of any kind! This would be so cool!! Please pick me!!!!

  • We fell in love with the world of podcasts and MP3’s about 3 years ago. An aunt gave my big girls simple MP3 players that ate batteries like crazy. The following Christmas, she got them Zen Mosaic’s which we absolutely LOVE because they fit so much on them AND are rechargeable and we like best the built in speaker. We stumbled upon a bargain and my son has a Thingamapet MP3 player – only 128mb storage, but he puts in on to play every night at bedtime and is asleep long before it stops playing. No headphones – so it’s great for car trips too as he “shares” the stories and music with his cousin that lives with us.

    However, I’ve really been wanting something for myself. We bought me a cheap one, and have found I don’t use it much between difficulty of use and not liking ear buds. So I’m still in search of something for me. I would love to give this a try – I really miss radio and we live in a “hole” in the country – hard to pick up anything.

    How exciting!

    • This would be a great gift for my husband. For his birthday, he got a picture of a Zune printed on a piece of paper with and IOU in the screen. His work has been cut back, so we weren’t able to buy it.

  • Wow.. I want an Ipod touch for personal reasons. But this looks pretty cool to.. Good luck to the winner (fingers crossed its me)

  • I would LOVE to win this for my husband! I have a ipod but its pink so he wont use it lol and he is starting a new job soon which he will be on the road alot and this would be great for him to have to plug into the car and listen to his music on the road! Thanks!

  • This would be AWESOME for my daughter’s birthday present. Her birthday is in October! I would be the coolest mom ever!

  • This would be so wonderful for our family! My phone does have and MP3 player on it, but my daughter always wants to play it and I end up missing phone calls! I want to encourage her love of music, but I need to have use of my phone. Thanks for the opportunity!

  • I would love to win this mp3! I have an old iPod from sooooo many years ago and it doesn’t work anymore… I need music in my life again! =)

  • OH!! My daughter and I want one of these soooo bad!! We love Zune! The software is great and we have never had any trouble with our 8GB zunes!! But we are so ready for an upgrade! 🙂

  • I feel so old school – I don’t even have an MP3 player. :o( Help me out Tech4Mommies!! ha/ha This would be great!!

  • Wow. That would be so cool! I don’t have a music player at all, so I’m sure it would get good use!

    Melodie

  • I love Mp3 Players!! They are such handy little things to have. I have never tried a Zune so it would be cool to win it!!

  • I would LOVE this!!! My husband has a cheap MP3 he takes to work and i loaded some of my songs and this kids music on it and everyone at work laughed at him, so i would Love to have 1 for myself and kids to share!!
    THANKS SO MUCH FOR THE GREAT GIVEAWAYS!!!!!

  • I have never owned an MP3 or ipod, etc. My techno-savvy daughters own the iTouch & they love it. I think it would be great to have one!
    Thanks for the posting.

  • I would SO love to win this player for my husband! He has NEVER owned a player of any kind–although he always makes sure I have one or my sons have one. He deserves this because he’s a hard-workin’ man and needs some personal enjoyment.

  • I would love this for my hubby! He’s a good man and puts up with having few “toys” so I can be home with our kids.

  • I would love to win a zune so I could add music to my work out routine. It’s hard enough to stay motivated but good music always helps!

  • My poor Sansa is on its last leg – was planning on asking Santa for an iPod for X-mas, but after reading, maybe I’d rather have the Zune!

  • I would love to win this! I need a newer one for some music for our little one to listen to on our way to MI. Thank You for the information on it! 🙂

  • The Zune sounds wonderful! I would give this to my daughter. She travels long distances and having enough books and music to listen to for herself as well as her daughter would be wonderful! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • I want to win this for my Hubby. He got me one for my Birthday and it is AMAZING. I would love to win this for him to take with him when he deploys. The Zune software and Marketplace make all of the difference.

  • The Zune sounds like a great toy for me. The two men in my household have mp3 players but alas mom does not. Thanks for having the contest so I can have a chance of winning one.

  • My Ipod that we had saved forever for was destroyed by my precious Vietnamese son while in Africa adopting his baby brother. I loved it and really want to replace it, but don’t have the money right now. Thank you so much for this opportunity!

  • Mom is always last. Everyone has one but me, what a GREAT present this would be for my birthday 🙂 Thanks for the chance to win!

  • Love the Zune ~ my oldest son who is now 15 started out with one and now my 7 year old wants one!

  • Would love this!!!! I could use it on walks with my two little ones!!!! Never win anything, please make my day!!!! I could use a break!!!

  • It would be such an awesome privilege to win something like this. Christmas is going to be tight this year, and this would be a wonderful gift to give away to someone in my family!

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