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Difference Between Zune and Zune HD

Zune vs Zune HD

The latest version of Microsoft’s music player is the Zune HD, with HD supposedly standing for High Definition. Let’s see how it differs with the other Zunes that preceded it. Probably the first thing that you would notice with the Zune HD is that it is smaller and much lighter than other Zunes. There are many contributing factors that allowed the Zune HD to be smaller and lighter than other Zunes.

Although the Zune HD is smaller, it has a bigger screen. While other Zunes had screens of up to 3.2 inches, the HD has a 3.3 inch screen. The reduction in size is due largely to the removal of the Zune pad that used to be the primary interface for the device. Instead, the Zune HD uses a capacitive touch-screen interface. The removal of the Zune pad provided more space for the screen while reducing the overall size of the device. Although the Zune HD has the higher resolution, it is not HD at a mere 480×272 pixels.

Another contributing factor for the reduction of size and weight is the choice to go only with Flash memory. Older Zunes came in versions that either have Flash memory or a hard drive. The choice of Flash memory means that the Zune HD has comparatively limited storage space with a maximum of 64GB compared to the 120GB maximum of those with hard drives. It is a fair trade-of considering the advantages of size, weight and battery consumption.

The discs in the hard drive need to be spun constantly for the data to be written or read. This consumes a lot more power than the purely electrical requirements of Flash memory. Because of this, the Zune HD lasts 33 hours on audio or 8.5 hours on vide compared to the 30 and 4 hours for other Zunes. The huge gap in battery life when playing video is proof that the lack of a hard drive is a major factor. Playing video requires more data to be read compared to just audio.


1. The Zune HD is smaller and lighter than the Zune
2. The Zune HD screen is bigger and has a higher resolution than the Zune
3. The Zune HD relies on a touch screen interface while other Zunes use the Zune pad
4. The Zune HD only uses flash memory while other Zunes use Flash or HDD
5. The Zune HD can last longer on a single charge than the Zune

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