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>> What's up, Prizefight fans? You know what time it is. I'm Brian Tong. And this week, we're facing off two touch screen media players, whose hatred runs deep. It's a Throwdown Showdown between Microsoft's Zune HD and Apple's 3rd Generation iPod Touch. Our judges for this fight are Senior Editor, Donald Bell; Senior Associate Editor, Jasmine France; and Yours Truly. Now, we'll take all three judges' scores and average them out to the nearest tenth each round. The final Prizefight score will be an average of all rounds using the same decimal system. Who will reign supreme? We've got five rounds to find out. First round is sexiness. The Zune HD's brushed aluminum back and thin bezel is hot in its own right. It's more pocket-friendly. And its OLED screen has to be seen in person. Now, we know sexy is the standard for Apple's toys. Donald and Jasmine are kind of tired of the Touch's design, which hasn't changed, and it's still a fingerprint and scratch magnet. Don't be surprised, people, because the Zune wants to sex you up. And it takes this round, 4.7 to 4.3. Next round is navigation. The Zune HD's interface rocks. It surpasses the cool factor of the Touch. And it's so unique, you won't even compare it to Apple's. Now, you might think the top left button is for volume control. But instead, it pulls up media controls on the touch screen. No physical volume controls is a bit of a bummer. Now, the Touch is still the cat's meow when you're talking about easy-to-use navigation that is consistent through every function. Its physical volume controls, on the player, and integrated controls through the included headset, are a nice touch. The iPod gets a perfect 5 and the Zune HD gets a 4.3. So after averaging two rounds, the Touch leads by only 2/10 of a point. Round three is compatibility. Can Microsoft and Apple ever play nice? The Zune's marketplace software looks great and navigates just fine. But it's PC-only. And there's plenty of people like me who want it, but just can't use it. It supports the major audio formats, and its hybrid music subscription is excellent, but the media content available is still not on the level of iTunes. Now, for the Touch, you're locked in with iTunes. It works on Macs and PCs. It supports the main audio file formats, except for WMAs, and its video library is filled with content galore. ITunes might be the only game in town, but do people really care since it dominates the space? The Touch takes this round, 4.3 to 3. Next round is sound and science. The Zune line has always excelled with top-notch audio quality. And this time is no different. The FM radio with HD tuner is great. And you can watch your HD content on a TV with an additional add-on. The Zune uses Wi-Fi to access its marketplace, and social features, which still have yet to take off. But there's no App Store here. And Microsoft says there's not going to be one. Now, the iPod Touch may not have the best sound quality, but do you even notice? It's not only a media player, but a pocket computer that offers the best mobile web browser, e-mail, voice controls and recording, and an App Store that takes it to another level. The iPod Touch gets a 4.3, and the Zune HD gets a 4. So after four rounds, the Touch has increased its lead to 5/10 of a point. It's going to take a big turnaround for the Zune to make this close. The final round that decides it all is value. The entry-level Zune starts at 16 gigs at $219, where the iPod Touch starts at $199 for an 8 gig. Now, jump to the 32 gig models, and we're pretty much even around $290 to $300. So if you compare them dollars for gigs, you might say the Zune is a better deal. The Zune subscription service is also a great value for $15 a month and 10 free MP3 downloads. But it's still an added cost, if you really want to use it to its full potential. The Touch offers so much functionality. And there are plenty of quality free apps that you will use that has transformed itself to be more than a media player. We're giving out 4s to both devices in the final round. So in a Prizefight, where the Zune HD jumped out on top early, the Touch then took the next three rounds and held its lead, winning 4.4 to 4, and is your Prizefight winner. These are both top-notch devices, but the iPod Touch's features and versatility really made the difference. Until next time, I'm Brian Tong. Thanks for watching. And we'll catch you guys next time on another Prizefight.
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