The Good The Zune HD's brilliant OLED display, HD Radio tuner, long battery life, movie rentals, and subscription music integration finally give iPod expatriates something to shout about.
The Bad You still can't use the Zune with a Mac, Marketplace purchases require "Microsoft Points," video format support is limited, audio quality lacks advanced controls, you'll need to purchase a dock accessory for HD video output, application and game selection stinks, and the recommended music subscription plan puts the real-world cost higher than the iPod.
The Bottom Line 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.
Editors' note: This review has been updated with battery test results from CNET Labs, new pricing, and includes the 64GB model.
As the high-profile underdog alternative to Apple's iPod portable media player, the Zune has endured an unfair share of jokes and scorn. Proving the adage that "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger," Microsoft has taken four years'-worth of hard knocks and forged the Zune HD. As one of the only iPod alternatives that can match the iPod Touch in beauty and pricing, the 16GB ($199), 32GB ($269), and 64GB ($349) Zune HD also includes a unique stable of features worthy of Apple's envy.