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Choosing a Zune: Which Zune is the best buy for you?

written by: •edited by: Rebecca Scudder•updated: 12/31/2008

The Zune is Microsoft's answer to the Apple iPod. Now with such an array of functionality and dazzling features the Zune makes digital media come alive. But with so many different choices, deciding on a Zune can be a daunting task. Here's some advice on which Zune you should buy, and why?

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    Never heard of the Zune, click here to read all about it.

    As the Zune becomes more popular with digital media enthusiasts it is important to understand the potential these devices have, and what you can do with each different version. With four different models to chose from it is important to know which offers what, how and why?

    Comparisons: the Zune 4, the Zune 8, the Zune 30,and the Zune 80. [See image 1]

    • Size: The Zune 30 and 80 are approximately the same size at 2.4 × 4.25 × 0.5 inches, while the Zune 4 and 8 are much slimmer at 1.6× 3.6 × 0.33 inches. The Zune 30 and 80 fits inside the average hand very comfortably, whereas the Zune 4 and 8 are better suited to being slipped into your jeans pocket.
    • Weight: The Zune 30 and 80 weigh around 5 ounces, whereas the Zune 4 and 8 weigh 1.7 ounces. Again, the Zune 30 and 80 feels sturdy and has a good solid weight, while the 4 and 8 are designed to feel as weightless as possible.
    • Features: All models run on the same software, so they are identical.
    • Touchpad: The newer models - the 4, 8, and 80 use a different control pad. The original Zune30 uses a circular directional pad, while the new generation of Zunes utilizes the "Squircle" Zune Pad, which allows for easy scrolling by flicking your finger across the pad. The difference isn't significant, but it's nice to have scrolling when you have a huge list of music.
    • Pricing: The Zune 4 costs $129.99, the Zune 8 costs $179.99, the Zune 30 costs $199.99, and the Zune 80 costs $249.99.
    Get a Zune 4 or 8 if:
    • You want to stick to music. 4 or 8 gigabytes is usually enough space for most music collections, but not if you want to throw movies or TV episodes onto it as well.
    • You want something unintrusive. They're so small you'll hardly notice that they're there, and are exceptionally good for jogging or at the gym.

    Get a Zune 30 or 80 if:

    • You're a music junkie. If less than 10 gigabytes isn't enough space to cram your huge collection of music into, then you need something bigger.
    • You want to watch a TV series or movies often. The larger screen makes watching videos ideal on the larger Zune, and there's enough hard disk space that you won't worry about running out.

    Protip: If you're torn between the 30 and the 80, I recommend splurging for the 80. You'll enjoy the vastly superior hard drive space. The only time you may want to consider the 30 is when there are hardware sales, because the Zune 30 can drop in price to as low as $100.

    Different Colors
    The different models have different colors schemes, so you have added personal choice with which to spring for. [See image 2]

    • The Zune 4 and 8 comes in black, green, red,and pink.
    • The Zune 30 comes in black, white, brown,red, and pink.
    • The Zune 80 comes in black and red.

    Special Editions
    There are many Zunes with special colors and designs which present themselves as part of different promotions.

    • As part of the video game Halo 3's advertising campaign, there were black and brown Halo 3 Zune 30s that came preloaded with Halo 3 videos.
    • Nylon magazine released pink Zune 30s with diamonds.
    • Adult Swim came out with special black Zunes.
    • A Microsoft Zune campaign gave away very rare orange Zune 30s. [See image 3]
    • Microsoft employees have yellow Zune 4s, 8s,and 80s.
    • As part of Valentine's Day, red Zune 80s were sold online.

    Zune Originals
    The most famous customized Zunes come in the form of Zune Originals. Microsoft worked with 18 well-known artists to design artwork for the back of the new generation of Zunes. Anyone can go to and for no extra charge, get a laser-etched design and customize it with text. [See image 4]

    You should get a Zune Original if.

    • You're buying a Zune 4, 8, or 80 - which should be most people. At no extra charge, you can give a little personality to your Zune and the artwork is top-notch.
    • You're buying a Zune as a present - the customized text is a good place of saying 'Happy Birthday' or 'Merry Christmas'.

     Previous >>>  What is the Zune? Can it compete with the Apple iPod

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