A Couple of Zune Corrections - InformationWeek
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11/16/2006
04:43 PM
David  DeJean
David DeJean
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A Couple of Zune Corrections

"Write in Haste, Correct at Leisure" is my motto. So here are a couple of leisurely notes on my very hasty first look at the Microsoft Zune media player that appeared yesterday.

"Write in Haste, Correct at Leisure" is my motto. So here are a couple of leisurely notes on my very hasty first look at the Microsoft Zune media player that appeared yesterday.First, Duane Williams emailed me to point out, "You say in your review of the Zune that it has a screen twice as large as a standard iPod. I believe that's false by any measure, but it is certainly misleading. I presume you were comparing to the $249 30GB iPod, since that's the one most comparable to the Zune. Both of the iPods (but not the Nano or Shuffle) sold by Apple have screens with a 2.5" diagonal. The Zune screen's diagonal is 3". That's a larger area, but not twice. Both of the iPods have a screen resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, the same as the Zune. It's the resolution that is most important, since simply blowing up the size of pixels to make a larger display doesn't make a better looking looking picture. Since the iPod and the Zune have the same number of pixels, the iPod display should look sharper, since it's got smaller pixels."

Mr. Williams is absolutely right on all counts. I was sloppy. I compared the Zune to the iPod at hand -- which in my case is my wife's older 20GB model with a 2-inch diagonal screen and a resolution of 220 x 176 pixels. It's not surprising that I thought the Zune screen looked sharper than that. If I had compared the Zune with either the current 30GB or 80GB iPod I might have come to a different conclusion. Pushing my math skills to the limit, it appears to me that the Zune screen is something less than one and a half times the size of the screens on current iPod models, not two times. I stand corrected. Mr. Williams I thank you.

Curt Maas emailed me to say, "You are a pure idiot. I can't even begin to tell you how stupid you sound in your evaluation of Zune features. Everything negative you point out is either obvious to everyone who has a brain or impossible because of copyrights on design, you know what those are right? Btw the player/hardware is made by Toshiba, not Microsoft! It is a gigabeat 30 gig, look it up."

Mr. Maas is correct in his observation that the Zune player is manufactured by Toshiba, and is comparable to the Gigabeat S 30GB player in both features and its WPC operating software. I did look it up, and I note that the Zune is not a Gigabeat S in every detail. In particular, it lacks the volume and playback controls that adorn the right edge of the Gigabeat S, and has a very different case. I stand by my statement that Microsoft must bear responsibility for the physical design of the Zune.

Mr. Maas is incorrect, however, in his observation that I am an idiot. I'm pretty sure about that, too.

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