Monday, October 15, 2007
Posted by Jason Dunn in "Zune Hardware" @ 09:08 PM
Zune 4GB and Zune 8GB
Audio: up to 24 hours
Video: up to 4 hours
How does that compare to the iPod? The Zune 4 and Zune 8 devices compare to the iPod Nano, which according to Apple manages to get 24 hours of audio and 5 hours of video. So it's a match on audio playing time and 20% more on video for the iPod Nano. I don't know how much video people are going to really watch on a 2 inch screen (Nano) or a 1.8 inch screen (Zune 4 and Zune 8), so I don't see a significant advantage going to the iPod on that score. I'd call it a wash.
Audio: up to 30 hours
Video: up to 4 hours
The Zune 80 lines up against the 80 GB iPod Classic, which Apple says will do 40 hours of music and 7 hours of video. Unlike the Flash-based players, I think the difference here is a bigger deal. I think the Zune's 3.2" screen is going to be used for video more often than the 2.5" screen on the iPod, and four hours of video on the Zune isn't much to write home about. Sure, powering up a 3.2" screen probably takes more juice than powering a 2.5" screen (even though the resolution is the same), but four hours of video playback isn't impressive moving into 2008 - it was decent back in early 2006 when I had my Creative Zen Vision:M, but we're talking almost two years later. I'm a big fan of mobile video, and I was really hoping that the Zune 80 would be a killer mobile video device for that 10 hours of flying I'm going to do in late November when I head to Amsterdam. I can supplement it with a USB-charging device, but I would have loved to have seen six to seven hours of video playback on the Zune 80. Looks like Microsoft has some catching up to do here with Apple.
On the audio front, 30 hours of audio is a huge step up from the 12 to 14 hours we saw with the v1 Zune, but it's also a massive 25% drop from the iPod's offering of 40 hours. For my needs, 30 hours is a lot of music, but if you're a daily commuter that doesn't like to have to worry about recharging your audio player, 10 hours might be a few extra days of a commute.
So in summary: Microsoft did quite good - a big improvement from v1 - but they still haven't matched the iPod, and that's not a good thing for consumers that are deciding which player to pick.