There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

There's a lot to like about this in spite of a few flaws.

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The Engadget Score is a unique ranking of products based on extensive independent research and analysis by our expert editorial and research teams. The Global Score is arrived at only after curating hundreds, sometimes thousands of weighted data points (such as critic and user reviews).

Engadget Review

Zune HD review

When we broke news and images of the Zune HD back in April, we were more than a little excited. There had been talk -- and rumor -- of a widescreen, touchscreen Zune for some time, and seeing the fruits of Microsoft's labor made it clear that the company had done its homework. As time wore on and we reported on the official announcement, confirmation of NVIDIA's awesome Tegra chip inside, and news that the Zune Marketplace would extend into Xbox Live, we were downright giddy at the possibilities. Finally the much-anticipated, heavily lusted after micro-slab has been brought to market -- and it's not just the unit itself. Along with the release, we're seeing new desktop software, the Zune brand move towards a connected experience for Windows computers, and the expansion of the Zune Marketplace and ecosystem -- replete with applications designed just for the Zune HD interface. So the time has come for the Engadget review. Does the Zune HD finally match up with Microsoft's ambition, and can it stand up to the heat and ubiquity of the competition? Read on for all the answers.

  • Gorgeous new UIResponsive touchscreenZune Pass
  • Limited beyond music and video playbackUnclear roadmap for applicationsNo Mac compatibility
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Score Breakdown

Average Critic Score

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Media support


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Even though the Zune HD is a tremendous media player with a lot of great features, we still don't think it competes 1:1 with a device like the touch. Still, it competes, and for Microsoft and the Zune brand, that's a major leap forward.
The Zune HD is the best touchscreen PMP on the market. It's got the most unique vision, the most impressive hardware and the most stylish software. ... But I'm not sure that's enough.
Ars Technica
Those who take the bait will find themselves hooked (in both senses) by one of the best portable music discovery experiences yet created. ... For everyone else, the new Zune HD is “merely” an excellent media player with a gorgeous screen, HD radio, and 720p output over an HDMI connection.
Tom's Guide
Watching videos and listening to music is better, smarter, and more convenient than the previous Zune models and is on par with Apple’s interface.
The Zune HD delivers one of the best portable music and video experiences money can buy. At a time when many people have shifted their focus to games and applications, providing a killer media experience may not be enough for potential Zune buyers.
PC Mag
With a fantastic OLED touch screen, a top-notch Web browser, and a wireless music store, the Zune HD is the best PMP you can buy—that is, if you live outside the iTunes universe.
All in all, there’s a lot to like here. But there are still some big holes we’d love to see filled. After years of playing second fiddle, it seems that this scrappy underdog from Redmond might just have what it will take to compete with the iPod.
If you need a high-end player primarily for music and video, Zune HD is a strong alternative to the iPod Touch. It's even more compelling if you appreciate using a music subscription service.
New York Times
The Zune HD player isn’t perfect, but it’s every bit as joyful, polished and satisfying as its rival. The question is whether Microsoft will stick it out long enough to close the catalog gap, the ecosystem gap and the image gap.
This is a fantastic media player. Don’t take my word for it, though. Go to your local electronics store and see for yourself how good the screen is, how intuitive the interface is, and how right it feels in your pocket — you may not want to put it back when you’re done.