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Prizefight: Prizefight: Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune, part 2

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Prizefight: Prizefight: Apple iPod vs. Microsoft Zune, part 2

3:47 /

The exciting conclusion of the biggest Prizefight yet. Will the iPod stay on top, or will it be served a crushing defeat by the Zune? Find out!

>> Previously on Prize Fight, gather around everyone. Today we have a prize fight for the history books. In there corner the champ weighing in at 4.8 ounces, yes, the Apple iPod. And in this corner, the challenger weighing in at a heatfy 5.6 ounces the Microsoft Zune. Here are the scores for the first three rounds. Now onto round four - features. The Zune's biggest selling toy is the Wi-Fi. It's used to share tracks between other Zune user, but it's limited. You can listen to the track you got from a friend for three times or for three days, whichever comes first. Even if the song isn't DRM'd, you still can't keep it. Plus all this wi-fi business only works if there's someone else around with a Zune that's willing to talk to you. Can you sync to your computer or buy music online with the wi-fi? No. It has a nice FM tuner though. Like the iPod, you can view photos on the Zune though only in JPEG, and share them with other people. Sharing is not restricted. You can also listen to music while browsing photos. The iPod isn't known for extra features, at least not ones that come for free. There's no FM tuner unless you buy it as a separate accessory, but it does have Calendar and Contacts and those can be syncd with Outlook. There's also a stopwatch, world clock, decent EQ settings, and games. Now, there are rumors of Zune games from X Box Live, but also nothing's been confirmed yet. It all comes down to the stores. Apple and Microsoft want you glued to iTunes and Zune Marketplace, respectively. iTunes naturally has an enormous collection of artists available for download, not to mention movies, television shows, and podcasts. The Zune Marketplace has music. For devices trying to push community, not having podcast listing or built-in aggregation is a big no-no. The payment plan for the Marketplace is weird too. You can only buy points, ala X Box Live. Now, the wi-fi and the Zune is a cute trick but only time will show if it's widely adopted enough to make it worth our while. Another tough round. The iPod surprisingly has more features, but the ones the Zune has are pretty innovative. The iTunes store is great and has games and video, but Marketplace is brand new and hopefully more things will be added eventually. Sorry, though, iPod gets a 5 just because Microsoft should have had their store ready to go. No excuses, Bill. You did get the 4 because you still have some pretty innovative features, but I want that content. [ Bell ] The iPod's ahead by 1. It all comes down to the final round -- performance. There's really no difference in audio quality between the two players. There are EQ settings on both players, but the Zune has only seven presets. You can't adjust your own EQ. So much for unlocking your inner DJ. Yeah, they say that on the install screen. For battery life our labs have been able to squeeze 14.7 hours of audio time out of the iPod; the Zune gets around 14, but having the wi-fi enabled will drop that down to 9 to 11 hours. Video playing time is also relatively the same if you discount the wi-fi there too, but hey, there's likely to be only a few other Zune users out there, so you might as well leave the wi-fi off, right? Video doesn't look fantastic on either device when it's pumped out to a TV and that's to be expected. The video does look great when it's actually played on the devices. I think the wi-fi and the Zune works really well too. It's easy to search for and find other devices if they happen to be out there. I think that these two players are on par for performance. Hopefully, the EQ situation will change in the future, but I'm not sure that it will affect too many users as it is. The tie for this final round, each gets a 4. [ Bell ] Time for the results. What is the final count? [ Bell ] iPod gets a 20 and Zune gets a 19. Did I promise you a historic match or what? The iPod is staying at the top of the MP3 player heap, but I've got to give the Zune credit for trying. I have a feeling Apple isn't getting too worried though. If you'd like to suggest a Prize Fight or comment on this episode, you can e-mail me at prizefight@cnet.com. I'm Veronica Belmont, thanks for watching. ^M00:03:00 [ Music ]

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