Good Things Come To Those Who Wait?

So I just got a sweet new 16GB Zune HD (Best Buy was unfortunately sold out of the 32GB models by the time I got there) and I have to say it has done a great job of satisfying my “shiny gadget” addiction…for now at least!

I had the Zune HD for a few days to play around with, and for the most part I am very impressed. The Tegra APX 2600 in the HD does an amazing job of powering all the functions of the device, with a very smooth and seamless UI experience. The overall build quality is fantastic, I think the engadget Zune HD review summed it up the best:

The first thing you’ll notice — the first thing everyone notices — is just how incredibly sexy the Zune HD is. The sleek casing and big, glossy touchscreen is a far cry from previous devices in the line. The body of the player is a sandwich of brushed metal bread with plastic “meat” through the center. On the face of the device is a tall and thin 3.3-inch OLED display and a lean home button at the southern end of the panel. The back is slightly curved on the edges and fastened with four prominent, industrial screws. On the bottom of the device there’s a Zune adapter port and 3.5mm headphone jack, while the top houses a power / sleep button, and a “media” button lives on the left-hand side of the unit (more on that later). All in all, the package is smartly put together, and while it sometimes felt a bit light (or not quite there) in the hand, we have few complaints about its build and style. It’s one of the more mature offerings Microsoft has made to the gadget world — and we’re taken with it.

I have two big issues with the HD; the web browser and the the lack of hardware volume buttons. Of course I am taking into consideration the fact that this is a first gen of the HD line, but you would thing that Microsoft would have learned a little from Apple’s iPod Touch. During use, changing the volume is such a basic operation that I should not have to go into the software interface to do it. But that is no where near as big of a gripe as the web browser. For goodness sake, what year is this?! What kind of self respecting internet-enabled device has a web browser this crippled in 2009?! Of course I get that this is mainly an MP3 player, especially since the HD will be the only Zune model, and that it is not meant for heavy internet use. But in this day and age you should at least be able to go to YouTube and watch a damn video. Thankfully the browser can always be updated later (the sooner the better) or even better, once a public dev kit is released then the mobile Opera or Firefox browsers can be ported over.

Messing around with the HD makes me so psyched for Windows Mobile 7 and the coming unified app store that the HD will take advantage of. I just hope that Microsoft doesn’t follow Apple’s example and lets developers have free reign on what apps can be run on the device.

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