As the Microsoft userbase should know by now, the Windows maker introduced its first touchscreen, portable media player at the D7 technology show on Thursday. Surprisingly, those who've had a hands-on with the device have characterized it as quite impressive, and downright better than the iPod touch.
In what is sure not to resonate with Apple fans' view of a portable player, Brian Lam at Gizmodo claims the device is “tighter and more physically beautiful than the iPod Touch.” Moreover, the device (in the author's opinion) “has got a better UI,” with the main menu's scrolling feeling particularly “natural through the swipe gestures.”
Microsoft has placed the power button on top, with the home button below and to the left of the screen (as the device is held vertically). Under the volume toggle, there was a note saying "Hello from Seattle," according to the report.
Speaking about the home button in particular, the tester found it “nice and prominent,” though smaller than the one found on Apple's devices, describing it as “a bar rather than a round button.” The report also suggests that, although the device is sleek and extremely user-friendly, early adopters will not benefit from the variety of software applications that iPod touch users are enjoying.
While Softpedia hasn't been lucky enough to get a hands-on with the Zune HD just yet, I'm holding off any compliments regarding the aesthetics of the device, being quite taken by Apple's designs. And, as I'm sure readers of our Mac section agree, Microsoft's approach is not at all surprising.
Admittedly, the Zune HD isn't half bad (looking), while the hands-on video does show an impressively accurate and fast response to accelerometer input. However, history has shown that a good way to sell a product is by intriguing the customer. Microsoft has played it safe here, carefully building a device that looks normal enough not to frighten potential buyers, whereas Apple experiments, innovates and, in most cases, delivers the most amazing products on the market.
- Speaking of which, I can't wait to see what Apple has prepared for us at WWDC 09 -
So it's simply a matter of taste, and Apple fanboys have no problem being identified as the ones who thought “different” when making their pick. The iPod touch ranks high in every aspect, from design to software, from portability to wearability.
I believe that most people (Mac and PC users alike) would grab the iPod touch in a jiffy, had it been less expensive, but they simply won't admit it. So again, I turn to you, the readers. What is so spectacular about the Zune HD that yours truly simply doesn't see?