Zune HD made me wish I never bought an iPod

Microsoft's Zune never really took off. And that's a crying shame.

Zune HD

Zune HD (Image credit: Richard Devine/Windows Central)

I, like the majority of people, bought an iPod. I actually bought several of them, starting when I was 18 with a 20GB fourth-generation model of what would eventually be known as the Classic. I also had the original Nano and eventually the iPod touch, because that was cheaper than an iPhone.

The Zune never even crossed my mind, especially because it wasn't exactly readily available or well advertised product in the UK, where I live, at the time. It was all about Apple.

Only one of two Zune media players is still available today, but I recently picked up a refurbished Zune HD from Amazon for a low price. One thing became quickly apparent: I should have never bought an iPod.

Understated design and great hardware

From the start, the Zune HD feels like a quality product. This was the very first time I'd ever touched a Zune, and there's no denying the quality. It's a neat little design, with a nice sized display, and it is easily pocketable. The branding is subtle, and the design is classy. It doesn't yell about its purpose, like those shiny backed iPods of the time. The Zune HD is understated in design.

Aside from the shimmery finish covering the display, it's hard to fault the Zune HD as a piece of tech design even now. There are worse looking smartphones being sold every day, and this came to market eight years ago.

Zune HD

The tiny OLED display only has a measly 480 x 272 resolution, but it still looks pretty fantastic. Not by 2017 standards, but rewind to 2009 and there would be zero complaints. The dark-themed user interface is sharp, colors are bright, and for everything right down to web browsing it's a solid little display.

Oh, yes, web browsing. There's built-in Wi-Fi and a web browser on the Zune HD, though trying to load a current day website is an exercise in wasting your time.

Before Windows Phone there was Zune

Zune HD

Zune HD (Image credit: Richard Devine/Windows Central)

The Windows Phone Metro UI that so many loved, and some still do to this day, has roots in the Zune. There are no tiles, but the similarities are plain to see. Compared to the iPod, and even iOS and Android back in 2009, this would have been a breath of fresh air.

Or it would have had it taken off as a product.

The Zune UI feels thoughtful, based on gestures rather than taps. Sure, Apple pushed multitouch from the launch of the iPhone, but you stil had to tap and tap and tap to do everything. The Zune just flows, and of course, the rest is history.

While I wouldn't entertain the idea of going back to Windows Phone for a similar experience, it still feels just as awesome on the Zune HD now as it ever did on a phone.

What about the music?

Zune HD

Zune HD (Image credit: Windows Central)

With the iPod came the (heinous) iTunes for Windows. With the Zune came the software of the same name. One of these is still updated today, but the other has disappeared into memory. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, however, nothing ever truly goes away.

Microsoft still hosts a download of the Zune software, and that means even when buying one for the very first time in 2017, it's possible to hook it up to a PC and actually use it as a music player.

Download the Zune software from Microsoft (opens in new tab)

In the present day, you lose all the cool features like Zune Music Pass, but as a functional interface for putting content onto the Zune HD, it still works just fine. And it's better than having to deal with iTunes.

With only 16GB of internal storage and no expansion, I won't be loading up my whole music collection, but it'll still hold a good chunk of it. When you consider that for most of us our smartphones have become our media players, many are still sold with only 16GB of internal storage for everything.

The music player is a lot like the one that came on Windows Phone after it. It looks fantastic to this day. It is unique, and stylish, but function is front and center. The Zune HD even has a radio. (I still like listening to my local radio stations.)

The wrong one won

Zune HD

The iPod and its creator, Apple, were the undoubted winner of this war. Apple is still winning to this day, and I've contributed enough of my own cash to that end in the past. It may be a lot of years too late, but by picking up a cheap, refurbished Zune HD it didn't take long for me to realize that I was wrong. A lot of other people were wrong, too.

I should have bought a Zune.

It's too late for it to matter now, but even today this little music box is a tremendous device and a much earlier example of Microsoft's strength in design. Portable music players are mostly pushed out now by smartphones, but I'm going to keep using the Zune HD. It's small enough to fit in any pocket or bag, won't sap my phone's battery when I'm on the road and is just a nice thing to have. It found its way into my heart.

Your Zune love stories

If you're a Zune fan, old or new, share your story with us in the comments below. Bygone it may be, but when you remember something it never truly goes away!

Richard Devine
Managing Editor - Tech, Reviews

Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine

  • Love my zune till this day, and would loved to see a windows phone modeled after it. I have a moto z and once i get a 3d printer im gonna see if i can make a mod with it. Just need to figure out the pin layout to get power from the phone to power the zune.
  • I love my Zune and Zune HD and still use them regularly.  Definitely one of the more under-appreciated devices in recent memory.  However, the entire Windows Phone OS IS modeled after it.  I'd go as far as to say the Metro design, Windows Phone, Windows 10, and Xbox user interfaces are all a result of the original Zune premise. 
  • I also still have my Zune HD, which i bought super cheap on double clearance, This article has me thinking about digging it out of the "old tech bin" at home. The Zune interface is what got me into Windows Phone and i honestly feel like the Zune HD was the best incarnation of Zune service/hardware they ever made. Zune started getting messed up with Windows Phone 8 and onward and shortly after the time they changed to Groove I stopped using Groove because most of the things i loved about Zune were gone and a ton of Indie artists i listen to were disappearing  from the catalogue. I'm on Spotify now for the ubiquity and large catalogue, but i really miss the good 'ol Zune days of yesteryear :(
  • I still have my 64 GB Zune HD as well as my 1st brown 30GB player I bought from overstock.com for $99. When it 1st came out. Still use my 64GB to this day. My 30GB still works but the battery's dying, won't last long on a charge.
  • Hijacking this comment to complain about spam. So, the WC, why did you start to send me daily emails that have no unsubscribe link in them? I was a reader of you site years ago until you decided to censor the Android subsystem tools for Windows Phones. Anyway, you have no right to suddenly start spamming me with your articles. Now you made sure I'll never be your reader again. Good job. Later edit: after spending 10 minutes I was able to find the option to stop the mails. That's because the WC has a bug, if you try to edit your profile then you go to edit your notification settings you are redirected to an non-existing page: https://passport.mobilenations.com/follow/ You have to go edit your notification settings from the main WC page to reach the real page: https://www.windowscentral.com/follow/ Anyway, bye WC. Hope to never hear from you again.  
  • The emails I receive have an 'Unsubscribe' link. It's located below the 'Share Windows Central with Friends' heading at the very bottom of the email  
  • Found the problem, the mails don't render proplerly in the Windows 10 mail app, the last part is missing, including the ad, the share buttons and the unsubscribe link. Which is kind of ironic for a site called Windows Central.
  • I have an original 30Gb Brown Zune and a Zune HD and I use them both fairly regularly. I bought an iPod a few months before the Zune came out, but found a willing buyer the day the Zune came out, so I used that money to buy a Zune and have loved it ever since.
  • My brown 30gb zune died on me a couple of years ago, never had an iPod found them way overpriced.
  • Don't get me wrong.  The Zune looked amazing for what it was. However, I do think that we're looking at this devices with rose-colord glasses.  The provided features compared to something like the iPod touch, which had apps and a long-standing product line for reliability.  Plus it was just a side-step for people to buy it for kids or just have a portible music device that ran apps without the cellular markup. Today, we can look at both the iPod and the Zune as a product we really don't need as compared to a smartphone and since the iPod has be userped buy the iPhone in many respects, it's safe to say that we have reached peak stand-alone music players long ago.  So no competition is there to make these things "better." It is opinion to see which is better by looks.  In a lot of ways I think the Zune looks amazing.  But the wrong one didn't win.
  • The Zune supported apps with the 2nd Gen on September 15, 2009, and on 1st Gen with a free system update available the next day. These were DirectX-based with a Windows CE core and supported XNA for games development, just like their evolution Windows Phone 7.0.
    It's just that there were not enough potential customers for many to bother writing apps for them. IIRC, the original iPod didn't support apps, that only got introduced with the 2nd Gen iPod touch on September 9, 2008. While a whole year before the Zune apps support, it doesn't matter, people were already buying iPods without apps support before that merely because it came with white earbubs you could exhibit as a fashion statement. Apple marketing already won. Apps, or even audio quality compared to competitors, didn't matter anymore.
  • My wife and I use our Zune HD's almost everyday around the house and garage.  We have them sitting in their A/V docks and use the remotes when we are on the treadmill.  We live in a rural area and streaming is not an affordable option and our Zunes still work awesome!  The interface to add music was the only real pain point, it takes a lot of time to transfer music on to the device.  For those who were not aware, when they first came out there were apps and games you could download.  They even had a facebook app.  The only thing that is really missing is bluetooth.  I also use mine with noise canceling headphones while cutting the grass (mowing the lawn, for some of you).
  • Loved my Zune HD, great device.
  • Major mistake with the Zune was that, as with so much of Microsofts great things, it was US ONLY and that expanding to new markets takes them years or never happens (most of the time), take the Band for example! Millions of us wanted one and we where, trough the internet, teased by Microsoft with this great product but most of us never got the opportunity to buy one!
    You can't compete with Apple like sales figures when you are excluding billions of consumers globally that can't buy your **** Microsoft! That's why Apple reigns supreme in so many markets, because you decide no our money is not good enough for you!!!!
  • This was why the Zune failed, not because it was a inferior device but because it was marketed so badly and restricted to one market. I knew a lot of musicians that loved the audio fidelity of the Zune over the iDevices.
  • I've seen the argument about being limited to one market hurting it several times, and I don't get it. I mean, it's not like the Zune was crazy successful in the US but just got outsold worldwide. It was never a success in the limited number of markets it was offered in, so how would a broader geographic push have achieved anything other than it getting trounced in more markets?
  • Limited or world-wide the answer is still that it was not marketed properly. Microsoft has a tendency to not push their products the way they should. Especially when there are competing products. The Zune is just as good if not better than the iPod as far as how it works. For that matter, there are other mp3 players that were more successful that didn;t really measure up. Now, the sansdisk player, for example, was successful because of it's price-point. It was not so much competing with the iPod and Zune as it was filling a niche in the market. They knew there were people that either could not afford iPods or Zune or did not want to pay the higher prices. Sony had their mp3 Walkman which is one of the players I considered. The problem was that for the price they seemed to offer fewer features. I find that kind of sad since Sony pretty much pioneered portable music players. Besides the marketing aspect there is the fact that Microsoft has a bad habit of not listening to what their customers want. If they like something about a product it's probably not a good idea to remove that feature in the next generation of product. By the same token, they should not force new features that people dislike. The start screen tiles from Windows 8 for example. I could see how that was good for a mobile device like a tablet or phone where the interface is often simplified due to space and/or processing capability. Windows 10 seems to be an instance where Microsoft listened to people since it had the return to a more familiar form (I see 10 as a combination of WIndiws 7 and 8 as far as the look and feel). The Groove player on the other hand is a step backward. I think Groove is worse on a computer than on a phone since you typically have more control over funtions on a computer. As has been said, the Groove player would be great if it were more like the Zune interface.
  • I am sure it is really expensive to sell devices, especially outside your homeland. I am sure it is quicker and easier for Microsoft to get it on the market on the US and then expand. If it is a flop in the US, why waste more time and money on something that will probably fail everywhere? Especially with smartphones and wearables, the US is key. If you can't crack the market here, it is going to be tough to bring developers to the platform.
  • Zune didn't need "developers". It needed marketshare, which meant getting it into as many hands as possible through marketing and worldwide distribution. It also needed worldwide publishers & labels to be on board, so people could buy all the music they desired. Microsoft failed on both fronts - they didn't release it practically anywhere else so marketshare never grew, and it took 1-2 years after WP7 came out (2012-2013) before people could actually buy music outside the US (you could only buy apps/games with the Zune software, besides synching your own photos/music/videos). But by that time the Zune was already dead and buried
  • Music developers? I guess that kinda fits!
  • Agree! I lived in Europe at the time, and I Really wanted a Zune! But because I couldn't have that, I decided to not settle for anything, not even an iPod. I had already had music on phones since Nokia 6230 (year 2004!), so that sufficed.
  • I loved my zune, but the iPod "won" because the Zune was like 6 yrs too late. By the time they came out with the Zune, the iPhone was coming out, which would end up pretty much killing the dedicated media player device. They missed their window just like they did with smartphones. You could come out with the best dot matrix printer ever now and it wouldnt matter.  
  • I disagree. Apple is the master of being late to the market, and still they've reigned supreme, simply because they've taken other's ideas and marketed them better. I bet apple could market a dot matrix printer today. Or, well, at least two years back when they still were ahead of the game.
  • I wouldn't just say Apple markets them better, they also implement thing better. Whether you're an Apple fan or not, it's hard to deny that when Apple does something, they're usually VERY careful about what they're doing and they almost always get it right. Calm down some of you, I said almost always. Apple rarely jumps the gun, and it shows and pays off big time.
  • I do agree, and it's something that really frustrates me as Microsoft doesn't seem to get it. A new device/platform doesn't have to be perfect, but it has to offer something compelling to the target market. You can't talk about the iPod Touch separate from the iPhone. The original iPhone was far from a perfect device, but it had a set of features that were extremely desirable to a large number of people: First, it had compatibility with iTunes content (leveraging prior success with their iPod line). Then it had a large, high resolution (for the time) touch screen with apps carefully designed for that interface. And while it was initially limited to the built in apps, they were extremely good versions of apps that people wanted. In particular, it had a fantastic browser and email for the time, and maybe even more important, it also had YouTube and Google Maps apps that were amazing compared to the alternatives on mobile at the time. I didn't get an iPhone when they came out. I couldn't justify the cost of the service at the time, but I got a 1st gen iPod Touch when it came out. It was incredible. Soon after, I was travelling with a friend who had a Blackberry from work. He was driving and wanted me to look up something. My iPod Touch was useless on the road so he gave me his Blackberry, and it was unbelievably frustrating to use. The interface felt like it was from the last century compared to the iPod Touch. The issue isn't being first, per se, but being first with a complete (enough) package sure helps.
  • I use my red 120 while skiing
  • LOL at the Zune Fanbois.  It lost, get over it.   I still don't get the hate for iTunes - it is somewhat ugly but works just fine.
  • Did you even read the article?
  • Ugh... iTunes is the worst piece of crap ever foisted on the general public.  
  • You seem to be forgetting Quicktime for Windows.
  • Not trolling here...iTunes for MacOS is OK. iTunes on Windows is gawd-awful. I have an iPod classic 5th gen, modifed to use flash memory which gives it 128 GB of storage, and it works great. But I also have the Zune HD and love that, too. Playing the AudioSurf Tilt game while listening to Pink Floyd is surreal...
  • LOL at the Apple fanbois...the products suck and are designed people who don't mind overpaying for mediocre stuff, get over it. Poor quality audio hardware, poor software interface, designed purely for mindless fools - and works fine for them. I went from my Zune (that I still use occasionally) to a HiFiMan and Fiio. They do what they are designed to do well - play music.
  • I had the original Dell Digital Jukebox (Dell DJ) when the original iPods came out and I used that thing forever. I didn't get an iPod until MANY years later. Eventhough it wasn't Windows the Dell Digital Jukebox was easy to use and bulletproof.
  • I have a Dell DJ and to this day it works great. Even as a storage device.
  • Never had a Zune HD, buy I had several original Zunes. It was a superior product to iPods at the time. Plain & simple. It may be the butt of jokes about failures, but I enjoyed it immensely.
  • I've owned 3 Zunes. The HD is still one of my favorite mobile devices. Groove still can't touch Zune IMHO.
  • i loved my zue hd, i got it 7 years ago. i think the problem with it was, microsoft didn't open it up for developer support. so it fell into disaray. but i used my zune hd until i got my first smartphone 2 years ago. the sound was great, interface perfect. i wish there was a way to flash windows 8/10 onto it.  
  • Never owned an IPod, never will. I use to own the original 30GB model but upgrade shortly after to the limited edition Halo 3 model and still use it to this day. I also own the media kit to plug it into a dock and output to a TV with the remote (got it on a Amazon clearance deal of $0.99). I love my Zune and never understood so much of the hate it got. It was a fantastic device and exceled in music way better than the IPod ever could.
  • Because of this article I'm going to have to make a visit to the basement, try and locate my old Zune HD and relive the good times.
  • I have and still use my Halo edition 30gb and bought a used white 30gb sadly the white 30gb will not update the firmware because Microsoft has taken that website down and can't get it to work. 
  • had an ipod and won a zune through bing rewards (OG 30GB model) and guess what? the zune was better. Even the PC app was awesome. Just wish my car's HU was compatible (ipod ready, thus why I had an ipod)
  • I loved the Zune it was then and still is today so much better than the IPod or any other MP3 Player would ever be. In fact I still have my Zune 64GB Player. Another great product Microsoft abandoned because they (Microsoft) fail to properly promote and maintain THE BEST MP3 PLAYER produced at that time. Some times I turn it on, charge it up and listen to quality sound from such a great MP3 Player. This is one in a long line of great products made by Microsoft then abandoned. Further proof to show the Morons at Microsoft didn't just get stupid, they have always been that way. They should have continued Zune as many of us suggested and not use Groove which in my opinion really and truly suck, pretty much like Edge.
  • Was always confused why Microsoft didn't make a Zune phone with this, that look and UI in 2009, this would have been a big hit! I had the same one you just got, great device.
  • Can't wait for this article 8 years from now about the Microsoft Band 2.
  • LOL
  • Lol
  • Biggest difference is that the Band 2 has a bad durability issue. If he's going to reminisce about his band 2, the article will start with him stating "I picked up the plastic bag containing the remnants of my beloved Band 2, crossed my fingers that the exposed contacts wouldn't shock me, and strapped it on." I loved my band 2. Was really upset when it fell apart within 8 months.  Still holding out for a replacement. 
  • If you think the Zune HD was great compared to the iPod, you need to stop before looking at the Zune Software compared to Groove Music....what a downgrade.
  • I agree. The Zune software was written so well, years ago, that it still functions today. Microsoft misses so many opportunities by not properly marketing their products.
  • "it wasn't exactly readily available or well advertised product in the UK"   You can scratch UK and put in "entire European continent". I never saw a single Zune for sale anywhere in Europe. If they were sold here, you probably had to get them at Diagon Alley or something.
  • You can apply that to "anywhere except the US & Canada" as those are the only places it was really released
  • What makes the Zune HD great for music is the high quality DAC which most Windows Phones do not have. The Galaxy and iPhone have great Wolfson DACs. BTW, the ATH-M50x are great sounding headphones...
  • I've heard those headphones are good, but not demoed myself. I use a spare 950xl (fast ring native drivers) connected to a Schiit Gungnir Multibit, Schiit Mjolnir 2 & Mrspeakers Alpha Prime headphones. Looking forward to creators update on elite x3 so can use that as source.
  • Oh the Zune. It made music an "experience." My favorite thing with on the player and the Zune Desktop software was the ever changing artist images with the music countdown and song info moving diagonally. I've sense moved on to Android but Zune lives on, as it can, in Groove for me.  While on this topic, just makes me shake my head at all of the truely nice things Microsoft came out with that died. Zune, Windows Phone, Windows Media Center, "Hubs" in Windows Phone, "Rooms" in Windows Phone, Yes - MSN Food and Drink (I loved changing pages just by waving my hand over screen)...just to name a few...I even liked Windows "Mobile" 6.5.  Yesh, my daily driver now is a Moto Z Force Droid with Microsoft Centric as much as I can (Arrow Launcher for sure) but I sure miss the Windows Phone. 
  • Food & Drink was a terrific application.
  • It was. It had great recipes showing up and also let you add your own. I had put several of my own in thinking it would surely be supported going forward. Then it got cancelled. Grrr,,,,,.
  • I added over 100 oif them...and since they offered no quick export, I had to save them one by one. This was the icing on the cake for me for being an early adopter and supporter of Microsoft Products. Now, I go with what works for me, even if it means a diversified platform (Microsoft, Android, Amazon.) 
  • The first iPod was released in 2001, the first Zune was released in 2006. Apple won because their product was around five years before Microsoft put anything out.  And I must be the only person who never had problems with iTunes, even on lower end laptops. 
  • I had Palm PDAs long before Apple came out with any similar products. That didn't stop Apple. It has nothing to do with how early or late you are (otherwise Microsoft would win over Apple any day), but how well executed a product/launch/marketing is. If Apple has taught us anything, it is that you can sell anything no matter how late, as long as it's fancy and full of historical inaccuracies ("for the first time..."). It's not for nothing that Apple fans are called 'sheep'.
  • A Palm PDA isn't an mp3 player, and has a drastically different UI. 
  • The focus of my point obviously being "time", not what was actually produced.
  • My 10yr old wants to use mine now and I think I will let him.  Great device and if I had my music collection organized right and it had bluetooth would be my workout machine.    
  • Make sure he appreciates the value (not monetary) before lending to him!
  • I have the old 30GB one and still use it while travelling to save my phone battery! It's the best music player ever! http://www.cespage.com/zune/images/zunewall1-1024x768.jpg
  • I loved my zune HD and since that time I have given it little bro. He still uses when he works out but man it was an awesome device. With more headphones that I experiment with I starting to find portable music players to suitable for my listening experience. I kinda want to get a refurbished one now...
  • I had a Zune120 as well as a ZuneHD. Both tremendous devices. The "stone" on the zune120 was far better than the stupid scroll wheel of the iPod. I still have the ZuneHD and it's a great device still. Use it for running, since its So light. Wouldn't do that with an iPod touch
  • I had a perfectly good phone when I bought my first iPod Classic. Since then I have always been of the mindset that I wanted my phone to be a phone and not use it for music and the like. I just didn't want to fill up the storage with all that stuff because storage was limited and at a premium. It just wasn't feasible with the phone I had at the time anyway. So, I bought an iPod for everything else that I didn't want to do on my phone. I had gotten used to the idea of having two separate devices and was fine with it. I never let the music player factor into my decision of which phone to purchase. My focus was always on how good the call quality was and, later, picture quality. So I've been able to hop around to different phone types and manufacturers. I've had an iPod Classic and a couple of iPod Touches over the years. Through those experiences with the Touch, I never felt the desire to get an iPhone. I just didn't care for the interface for anything other than playing music and the occasional game. Over time, I've used my iPod less and less for things outside of music, podcasts, and audiobooks. In fact, that's pretty much all I use it for anymore. I honestly don't even use my phone for a lot of apps either other than a few social networking, news, informational, and productivity apps, and I don't use either one for watching video. Right now I'm currently using a 64GB 5th-gen iPod Touch and a Nokia Lumia Icon with Win10. I think I'm to a point now where I could sacrifice one device, just use one device for everything, and be happy with the decision. The problem I face though is, my phone can't hold all of my music, podcasts, and audiobooks in addition to everything else that's on it; and obviously my iPod is not a phone. So if I really wanted to cut one out, I'd need a new device with a bit more storage, or at least with expandable storage. Apple finally makes iPhones larger than what I've had in the past, but as I said previously, I've never been thrilled with the iOS interface and my experiences with my past iPods reliablity doesn't give me much confidence in Apple products. I am however, extremely satisfied with my Windows phone. I love the interface and it's the most reliable, stable phone I've ever had. I'm very much hoping we see some groundbreaking device in the next year, either from Microsoft or another manufacturer, that would provide me what I need.
  • If you are looking for a non iphone with good media player features, check out the Alcatel Idol s4 either in Andriod or Windows 10 mobile version. This phone seems like the Icon and iPhone fused together to make a decent hybrid. The android version has similar harware specs to your Icon and the Windows version are more current but lacks a lot of Lumia specific features. The speakers though on this device are the best sounding speakers on any phone I've used that I tend to use it without headphones. One issue is that since you call your phone Icon, I'm assuming you are on Verizon wireless which limits your choices in compatible phones.
  • I had a Zune (1st Gen) connected to a pair of MyVu Crystal (MicroOptical consumer video glasses, which seems to have been bought by Google for their Glass and dissapeared). This combination was a great on-the-go movies experience. In planes, trains, even while walking in the street if careful.
    ​I still miss the video out capability today with Smartphones, and haven't seen any video glasses with Miracast that are as light as the MyVu Crystal were.
  • It has been easy to find video out on smartphones for years. Android phones even had mini HDMI ports back in the day!
  • I only had the Zune and the iPaq Pocket PC with a special sleeve that ever supported composite video out in the Windows ecosystem.
    HDMI could work with a newer pair of video glasses like the Avegant Glyph (https://www.avegant.com/​), but I don't remember seeing any Windows 10 Mobile phone with HDMI output either. they either use USB-C with a larger adapter attached to it for Continuum, or Miracast. ​Now if something similar to the Avegant Glyph supported Miracast and had satisfactory battery life, that could be a nice modern solution.
  • There is your problem. Expecting features in a Windows phone. If you wanted to do that kind of things with your phone, you don't buy a Windows phone.
  • Now you got me missing Zune software, that was some of the best software to come out of Redmond. Groove still cant touch how awesome Zune was.
  • I had a small 8gb zune was a tiny screen though I wish I invested in getting the zune hd sadly for me I went onto getting a iPod touch 2gen at the time. Sure wish I had the zune hd :(
  • The iPod classic was the only Apple product I ever owned. It was awesome, but fragile. Luckily, Apple has good service and I was able to get it replaced, many times! The last one they gave me still works today. iTunes was the worst, but the click wheel and 120GB of storage was nice. I never bought another Apple product though. I wouldn't have given Microsoft a chance back then. I was sick of their terrible services and software. I wanted something simple that just worked. Microsoft couldn't be trusted back then. It wasn't like today.
  • Microsoft's service still sucks. I'm stuck with my over heating Lumia 950xl that's under extended warranty but can't be replaced because they stopped making them plus they will still charge me $100 if they could replace it!
  • I had an 80GB Zune and was planning to purchase a Zune HD when Microsoft announce they were discontinuing it. The Zune is the main reason why I was looking forward to the original Windows Phone 7 launch. I briefly carried an iPhone at the time, but other than loading music or backing up my phone's content, I avoided using iTunes because I hated it so much and the Zune software provided a much better user experience, in my opinion.
  • Kevin Rose was constantly complaining why Microsoft didn't make Zune available on Mac or make it compatible for iPhone. 10 years later Microsoft is making apps for iphones and androids with better features compared to their own platform! It's as if they're in the business of making sure their products will fail on pupose!
  • had a zune HD, they came in different size. it worked for several years, and finally died out.   luckily windows 7 phone was able to replace it.   later -1
  • I would say that Windows Phone 7 was the perfect replacement for Zune HD. It had all the features that Zune offered with the added benfit of being a phone. Unfortunately Microsoft decided to overhaul the OS and made Windows Phone 8 destroying everything great about the Zune along with features that Windows Phone 7 had that even Windows 10 mobile can't do. Being a long time devoted Windows Phone user has been a downward spiral but at the same time can't seem to move over to Android and there is no way in hell would I go to iPhone. Now that Nokia is back in the market with their own Android phone, I might be able to move away from disappointment after disappointment with each iteration.
  • I still have mine...and my Zune 8GB too
  • If Microsoft would have stuck with their" Plays For Sure" standard, I would have bought one or two.  I went with Sandisk, Manly because I liked wndows media player.
  • I always liked Sandisk players because they are simple mp3 devices and are dirt cheap like chinese media players but better brand recogniion. Durablity questionable though and I don't recall if they offer good video playback.
  • Sandisk is probably the player I considered most had I not went with my Zune HD. I liked that you could increase the storage with a memory card (important since the built in storage was so small) and I LOVED that it was super affordable compared to most other players. I was not crazy about its physical size. But, ultimately I decided to go with the player that had all the features I wanted even though it cost MUCH more.
  • I even have the analog and HD docks too. Lol
  • I loved my Zune HD, but I don't really see it as the "wrong one" winning.  The "right" one gave up. Zune could have lived on as a high-caliber product. Perhaps more expensive, and perhaps with an inferior market share, but the iPod won fair and square by the market's vote.  Microsoft gave up.
  • I had the original Brown (honestly bad color choice on Microsoft's part) Zune. I bought the Zune HD when it came out because I was enamored with the interface and super pocketability. My first Zune HD was 32 Gb, then about a year later they released another Zune HD with 64 GB capacity, I went for that one because my first Zune HD was out of space, and my library was growing rapidly (thanks Zune Pass)... Those were the good days of music players. I miss being able to load songs from my Zune Pass (later Xbox pass, later groove pass). I wish I could still load songs from Groove onto my Zune HD. That would be perfect.
  • I sought out the brown one just because it was so different from the othe colors usually offered. The unusual-ness is what made it cool, IMHO. It still runs today. When the Apocolypse comes, I'm convinced only cockroaches and Zune 30's will walk the Earth.
  • The fact that the drm on groove can't transfer over into Zune and vice versa is why this device failed. Microsoft makes decisions that just don't make any sense. I won't be surprised that backward compatibility on Xbox Scorpion, Xbox one and Xbox 360 will suddenly stop one day and half of your huge collection of games will just stop playing one day because they just decided to do that in the latest update.
  • Still have my ZuneHD Custom!  Keep it docked w/ the first gen AV dock to my Home Theatre.  It will always have an input in my setup!
  • Headline made me think of Walk Hard, "The wrong kid died."
  • I loved Zune pass because you could download a song and play it back with Windows Media Player.  WMP was able to look up the license and play the track.  Groove cannot do this even though it's a newer piece of software.  Microsoft is the king of "making something great" and then dumping it or downgrading it.  Is it me????
  • What made Zune Pass so awesome was that it was $14.95 and you got to keep 10 songs every month. So, in essence, renting an entire music library was really less than $5. Zune Pass remains the best deal in music history.
  • I bought the 80gb back when it first came out and loved it. I bought the HD when it for an old girlfriend and I think she still has it and uses it regularly. So it was a good investment.
  • I had the original Zune, the Red 120 GB Zune and a Zune HD. The interface was superior to anything i've used since for music. The devices were well designed. I would have still had them if i didn't need to consolidate devices and saw the support for Zune disappear from MS. Best music players by far. And the interface is the grandfather for all the Windows 10 interfaces we see now.
  •   I have the Zune HD and love it. Also have Visual Studio C# Express 2008 and the XNA Game Studio 3.1 Extensions installed, am mulling over creating a game for Zune HD.  For anyone interested, there's a seller on eBay who had a ton of "manufacturer refurbished" Zune HDs for sale at $60 USD. Seems like a very reasonable price for a great music player. http://www.ebay.com/itm/311306218013?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK3AIT  
  • I loved my zune! Great for skating. Sadly since the support dropped I now use my phone for music... I would still like to pick one up and use it.
  • I have two of these at home...fantastic devices.  Best music player I've ever owned.  These were (and are still) rock solid.  They've never even needed a soft reset as so many apple devices do from time to time. I had mine in my pocket when I attended a local MS developer seminar.  Won the second as a door prize.  I laughed, because I told a coworker that I'd win the Zune HD because I was likely the only one in the room that had one in their pocket. 
  • I'm going to buy a ZuneHD now
  • Erm.....guess not, have you saw the prices now in UK?? More expensive than iPods! Haha
  • Why is there a Sony windows phone as my picture??
  • Sigh, another wonderful product, a product line so full of potential, dropped by Microsoft. Just really want to love everything MS does but its hard to know that they're just going to break up with you at some point after falling in love with them. It's like that bad ex-lower that just keeps making promises they'll stop cheating on you ;_;
  • Zune were not only great devices, but I think that the accessory software and Social parts were its greatest assets. I wish they could at least bring that back through Groove.
  • Why isn't that awesome screensaver feature, from Zune HD made it to Groove yet?
  • That feature went away after they brought it back when they called it xbox music but it was very buggy and didn't work half the time. You can fake it in groove by showing the now playing section of the player but it won't stay on because the app is separate from the OS now and the actual OS screensaver turns on.
  • I still use two HD 32s, one is plugged in to a Kicker box (nice they made a box with the Zune plug since the ones for ipod were a dime a dozen) and one for workouts. I wish it had Bluetooth for my workout HD but I bought a small Bluetooth transmitter plugged into the headphone jack to connect with some Sennheiser Bluetooth headphones (not a fan of cords). Excellent interface with Zune software, which once upon a time worked with my Windows Phone to wirelessly sync every night. Too bad they killed that functionality with Groove ( they want everyone in the cloud now I guess).
  • I use to sync wirelessly every night with my Windows Phone 7. I had it setup to change my 1 music playlist with anything that was the latest releases and delete any songs I marked that I didnt want on my phone anymore. All my podcasts were refreshed with new episodes once I got a chance to finish playing it. I also wirelessly transfered movies/tv I wanted to watch on my commute. The one thing that really made the Zune desktop the best media mannager ever was the ability to transfer all this content while making sure it will fit on the limited storage on my phone meaning that it actually dynamically convert every file based on the media type I set it at. Music and audio only podcasts was set to the smallest possible size without quality loss which allowed hours of audio files on less than 16gbs of storage. Video podcasts, movies and tv shows was all set based on the specs of the device it was being transferred to. Today, playback through the cloud is crazy expensive when not on wifi and manually converting all that type of content is a slow, time consuming mess. I can write a book on the problems with playing back podcasts let alone how awful the default podcast app is on Windows 10 mobile. So now I listen to less music, don't even watch movies or tv anymore and behind with all of my podacst feeds even though my current phone's storage over 200 gbs! Makes a lot of sense right?
  • Miss my Zune 30 which I upgraded to 60gig. Dropped it and drove away. I wad home when I realized it and went back to find it. No luck... Still use the Zune Software to manage music and podcasts.
  • It never got released in India else I would've given it a try. I am not a big fan of portable media players anyways but I did buy one iPod. However, since the time of Lumia 520, we have been asking for a re-entry of MS in this range. With a product just like 520 but only for music and some added flavour for 2017, I think MS can have an average selling fan based media player. I know I will buy one. :)
  • I always wanted one but in the UK it was impossible to get at reasonable price.
  • We tried to tell them is was better, but the "Minions of Orthodoxy" were brain washed drones by Apple.
  • Zune lives on through Groove music and Movies and TV. Every song, TV show, and every Movie I purchased on the Zune desktop client is still available to me.
  • I use to play Movies, Podcasts and TV shows on Zune but now I only use Groove and never touch the Movies and TV app. The Podcast app is a complete joke compared to Zune. 
  • I have all 3 generations love it! I still prefer Zune software over Groove!
  • Had an iPod back in 2006 or 2007, by 2009 I was using a Nokia phone for music stored on an SD Card, and soon after moved onto Android and stored my music on there. Zune seemed like a good device, an ex had one, but by that point I saw MP3 players as a dead market already.
  • Great, now I have to relive the pain of being made fun of for sporting a Zune when everyone else got an iPod. And trying to tell them the Zune was better only got you belittled and shot down. So thanks for bringing up those memories! :( On the other hand I still have my Zune HD, using it every day and all of my computers use Zune as the default music player. It is probably the single best product and software that Microsoft ever made. I love it and all the ridicule I got for using it I can now throw right back at them.
  • I can't say I experience that and I'm sorry you did. Though I had the opposite experience - I was the first of my friends in high school to have the second version of the iPod. So when I got the Zune, nobody really questioned my technology credentials.
  • Yeah, I have talked to others that owned Zune and it was about 50/50 what the experiences were like. Some had people who were genuinely curious in the device because they had never seen before and thought it was pretty cool. Others were like me where if you did not own an iPod then you were a loser and shunned (of course I did go to a school with a lot of stuck up kids so that probably did not help much lol). And ironically was where I decided to shun all Apple products because I did not want to ever be like them. I bought mine on a sale, it was a hell of a bargain for it and I wanted a media player, but could not afford much so when I saw it go on sale I instantly snatched it up (and the start of my experience was the sales guy trying to convince me not to buy the Zune HD and instead get the $120+ extra iPod. And telling him over and over that I do not have the money and that I wanted the Zune, think it lasted 30 minutes....) Anywho, glad your experience was not like mine! I would not want to wish it on anybody.
  • Zune! Zune! Zune!
  • I <3 my Zunes (HD & Z80). and still use the Zune HD. The Zune software is miles above iTunes as well.
  • This! I use my Zune HD 64 daily, and every time I pick it up I am amazed by how much design went into it. The user experience is unbeatable, and in terms of styling I have not found a device that looks better. You can see the immense influence that Zune, has had on microsoft, from Metro (or MDL2) to the shape of the surface (I am sure that the champhered sides are influenced by the back of the Zune HD). So maybe it was a commercial failure, but it seems to have had the biggest influence on MS in recent memory. (Jason Ward should write an article on that!)
    Does anyone know who was in charge of designing an making it? From the hardware I would guess Panos Panay, would be awesome to find out.
  • I miss my zune hd
  • I miss my zune hd
  • The proble with the Zune HD, nice as it was, is that it was the wrong decide for the time. I think it really shows the lack of understanding of where the market was going. For a couple of years before the iPhone came out, pundits were debating how Apple was going to respond to the inevitable cannibalization of the mp3 player market by phones. And then Apple came out with the iPhone. The iPod Touch was a secondary offshoot to cover people who didn't want or need a data plan (or for kids, etc.) but brought them into the same ecosystem. Yet two years after the iPhone, Microsoft was wasting time trying to break into a declining market with a device that was it's own ecosystem with no real ties to either it's then current (WM6.x) or future (WP7) platforms.
  • My ZuneHD still joins me almost everywhere i go. Such a great little device for music and the sound quality is still brilliant to this day. It certainly sounds better than my 950. It really is a shame they never sold it in the UK (or anywhere outside the US) as it could've done so well.
  • You are right. No one knew about the Zune in the UK. It was US only. Actually US only has been the hallmark of Microsoft's mobile strategy. They were probably pretty confused about Nokia selling well outside the US. 
  • Same problem as Windows Phone: Microsoft couldn't get developer support. They were extremely late to the market. They didn't market it very well (minus a flimsy partnership with GameStop early one). I had an original 30 GB, it was stolen, then I got another. I eventually had that thing fail, and went with a 32 GB HD. My friend's 16 GB model broke, so I gave him mine, as I was on to using my Lumia 920 to handle music. The software was mostly great (though library editing could be a pain if their mediocre online store didn't have your content). The player was solid and sturdy (that original one was a tank, and mine survived some nasty falls, including being drop-kicked on pseudo-accident). The UI of the player was really good, too. It was the originals on WP7. Now, we've got that tap-based PoS known as Groove, which has relieved a great, fluid UI of its duty to copy the clunky, one-hand-hating design conventions of Android. I miss the Zune player, but I miss the UI even more.
  • Still use mine when working in the yard or going on longer trips, eg flying. Great battery life and the 32Gb holds just enough to get surprised every now and then. Enough already said about MSs missed opportunity.
  • Owned an iPod and two Zunes. The Zune were so much better. You get these other guys in here laughing at "Zune fanboys," and it's only because they've never owned one, but think it's okay to speak about something they know nothing about.
  • After the geniuses at Apple replaced my second iPod and it died again just days after warranty, I ordered what I had wanted all along. A refurbished black 30gb Zune on eBay. Then I picked up the red 80 GB, and ordered the HD on release day. When they stopped making them, I picked up a used one on eBay and I still have them all. Superior sound. Wireless sync. AV connection to TV. Beautiful screen. Simple, but elegant UI. And the desktop app. I just put that on my Surface pro 3. Mix view brought back memories. Face it. You could see related artists, bios, and could change artwork and other meta data. Fabulous. Hands down, it was the PMP to end all PMP. But as usual, MS got in just as that market was vanishing and they gave it their typical lack of enthusiasm. They launched the ill-conceived Kin, jumped to Windows Phone 7 and the rest is history. Now where did I put that Zune sync cable?
  • If Nokia 3310 made a comeback why not Microsoft update zune with Groove and I am sure there are pretty cool apps on store that can support it right now #BringBackZune what I love about it was a battery 🔋 life it was awesome had iPod touch but zune was the device i took with when traveling #BringBackZune
  • I still use a Zune HD 32 to this day, and we also still have a working Zune 80. These devices are solid.
  • I had a Zune 40gb and then upgraded to a Zune HD launched. I was an early supporter of the Zune and always caught a lot of flack for it. The truth is the Zune was destined to fail due to the perception of Microsoft in the 2000s. However, the Zune HD and its software were far superior compared to the iPod and iTunes. You're absolutely right the the wrong player won.
  • Dedicated music players were already dead for me since the Walkman series from Sony and astoundingly sounding nokia N91, I had both and never felt a need of dedicated music player as I was smitten when I experienced the N91.
    Edit: My good old Lumia 920 also sounds great and will get a LG V20 within few days with hifi quad dac as mwc is now over and G6 will be missing that in Indian variant.
  • I still use mine every time I commute. It's better than replying on my phone since i can have a seperate player just for music and radio without having to worry about draining the battery off my phone. I also don't mind carrying two things with me everywhere i go because I always will have enough pockets to carry them. The audio quality is excellent. Sure it has a much smaller screen compared to my phone, but it's meant to be built around a music/radio first device. This device has lasted me more than 4 years now.
  • I still use my Zune HD almost every day!  Still the best media player ever made IMO.
  • I loved my Zune HD. Like anything else, there were spots where I thought it could improve as generations pass. Unfortunately, the Zune only got a couple of generations before being axed... just like my beloved Band 2. 😢
  • I bought my Zune HD after it had been discontinued. The thing is that even after a VERY long time researching MP3 players and the features I wanted the Zune HD was the ONLY one that had what I wanted. The only other player that had the amount of storage I wanted was whatever the top iPod model was at the time...I just looked it up, it was the iPod Touch. However, the iPod did not have the radio feature which is nice if you don;t feel like listening to your own collection of music and maybe want to hear weather, news or other things you get from listeniong to the radio. Also, I liked that the Zune HD had HD radio which is nice since the oldies station in my area stopped playing the REAL oldies on their main channel but started having the stuff I like on one of their secondary channels (I will admit I don;t listen to the radio very often on my Zune but, its there if I want it). I do believe that the Zune could have been the iPod killer it was envisioned to be had it been marketed better. I also think that they should have kept Zune as the music player for Windows phone instead of Groove. I bought my Nokia Lumia 640 just over a year ago and was saddened to find that it did not include the Zune player. I don't need the player on my phone anyway since I prefer a stand-alone MP3 player over having one integrated into my phone but, my phone has a much bigger screen which would make navegating the play list much easier with the Zune player. Instead it has the Groove player which is less intuitive and less responsive than using my Zune (there have been a few instances where I have used my phone to play music but only for very specific circumstances). Like I said in the beginning; I bought my Zune HD knowing it had been discontinued but I know it was the right choice for me. I detest the way crApple...I mean "Apple" products are so ubiquitous and I don;t like how they keep almost everything proprietary. Zune was more open when it came to products from other companies working with it.   I wish they would bring the Zune back....maybe in a physically larger size. There is not much I would change about it other than the physical size.
  •   In a lot of ways I stll wish Windows Mobile was more like Zune HD.  I wish they hadn't kicked the Zune software to the curb.  I still use it to rip my albums and put them on my Lumia because, guess what, Groove Music(and Xbox Music) before it, is STILL not capable of ripping an album! Cannot. Rip. A. CD. How is this possible?  To this day they should still just reskin the Zune software and call it Groove music.  I so miss plugging in my Windows Phone 7 and utilizing the Zune software to manage my content. I appreciate the ability to navigate files with the file explorer but I find dragging and dropping folders of music and photos incredibly unsatisfying. Zune's software is still so far beyond the capabilities of Groove it's embarrassing.  Honestly though, I would settle for the Groove Music app on Windows Mobile to function EXACTLY as it did on the Zune HD.  Groove on phone is buggy and nowhere near as satisfying or intuitive as the Zune HD was. The all touch based system was vastly superior and navigating to and from music by tapping the top of the screen is something I miss every day.
  • I 100% agree with you about Groove! The actual player controls LOOK much like the Zune player  yet they do not work as well and maybe do not work quite the same way. I came rather late to the smart phone world so, I missed out on Zune being part of Windows mobile. I went with a Windows based phone for several reasons; I have an aversion to crApple products, I felt that since I have used Windows computers for so long it would be easier to learn my way around on a Windows phone as opposed to Android or crApple, I don't care too much about apps. I never planned to use my phone for music since I have my Zune. Besides, playing battery life would be far shorter on my phone if I used it as a music player. It's weird that, while crApple has shifted more to the phone market they have not abandoned their stand-alone iPods. There are any number of reasons why people may want a stand alone music player rather than having it as part of their phone. Steve Jobs was great at the job of hyping the "next big thing" even if it wasn't all that different from the previous product. Apple has their customers conditioned at this poiint to want the newest phone simply because it is slightly bigger...or it now comes in blue or has sparkles or whatever other small change they can make without actually having anything NEW. The last time there was a lot of hype behind a Windows product, in my opinion, was Windows 98. I recall Bill Gates doing the press roll out and talking about the "plug & play" feature. Yeah, there has been a lot of hoopla over WIndows 10 but not in the way of "this is why it is a great product and an improvement over the previous version." Windows has made small, often ANNOYING changes with each new version. Windows 10 actually is a return to familiar form in many ways. And THAT is exactly what they SHOULD do with Groove. As you said, make it work like Zune! The weird thing is that Windows Media player has a feature to transfer music to MP3 players....but it doesn;t recognize the Zune! I have transferred files to my friend's iPhone and his cheap MP3 player through it but it will not recognize my Zune even though both are Microsoft products! I agree with you that simply dragging and dropping (or copying and pasting) is not as satisfying as transferring files through the Zune software. Using Media Player to transfer files is probably the next best thing to the Zune software but, since it doesn't recognize the Zune player it is just one more place Microsoft has dropped the ball. I don't even know if Media Player can transfer MP3 files to the WIndows phone! I have never actually tried since I only have a small amount of music on my phone. It was just habit to transfer it the way I transferred photos to and from my phone. I am a believer that companies should show customers how to get the most of of an existing item and make a reputation on having a good reliable product rather than simply putting out something new just for the sake of having something new. I wish more people in the world understood that concept.
  • Meh, I was hoping to see more about the sound quality, not ramblings about features and other pointless parts. I still have my RockBox-ed Sandisj Sansa, next to a Fiio X3 II. For both of them, I simply don't care about the interface, ease of navigation, and software support when connected to a PC. All that really matters to me is sound quality and that's how it should be with serious audio players.
  • The DAC on the Zune HD is better than anything on the iDevices and Sansa products maybe due to the built in HD radio. The Fiio X3 II is a very niche player that caters to audiophiles but I'm sure the Zune HD can hold it's own in audio reproduction against it.  
  • But can it play lossless files? The good part is that I think there might be a RockBox port for Zune as well, which would make it quite awesome. On the other hand, my Sansa e250 drives my KPPs wonderfully, so I couldn't ask more. The Fiio X3 II has a few things the Zune will never have: 1. The ability to drive 300 ohm headphones without additional amplification 2. Line out 3. USB DAC functionality (awesome!)  
  • But can it play lossless files? It supports Microsoft's own WMA Lossless.
  • Riight. A format that virtually nobody uses. ;)
  • I had a Nano for about two months.  I unplugged the 'phones and the innards came out with 'em.  I bought a Zune and was surprised at how much better it was than the Apple thing all around, especially the sound.  And it had FM.  Some jerk stole it.
  • strangly the mistakes i think microsft has done in the past with zune still exist now and if anything those mistakes are amplified.  Its bad marketing for a large part.  Also when you do something to pee off your present user base and then try to sell them a product a week later, you shouldnt expect them to wana continue buying your products.  Apople iphone didnt win because of the ios, they won because of great marketing and fantastic customer service.  iphone broke, here have a replacement.   hey icloud storage just doubled for free.  Customner service maters.  Windows 8.1 imobile was awsome and apps were catching up slowly, but they were catching up.  Gestures beta gave us speakerphone option that enhansed my 930 usability. forward to 10 and no gestures speakerphone, no paypal, no myfitness pal, no santander bank app, and no wireless pay, something microsft could have been the first to do with 8.1 and wallet if theyd have forced the sercure sim option to happen. Microsft does alot of things great unfortunatly they remove too much, take to long to gve us features and settings we used to have and well market poroducts terribly.  Hell surface book was a awsome maketing experience but fast forward a few weeks later and their other marketing issues destroy that positive build up.  One drive free storage removal anyone?  IK hope microsft can bounce back but truthfully things like not opening new tabs in edge to my default home page of choice or gestures beta missing 2 years later or skype still not haveing all their options of past are some of the reasons id jump ship if android or ios brough pc gaming to the four front.  Microsft doesnt have long before apple and android intrude even more heavily on the only pc segmant of domination left, pc gaming, unfortunatly they are once again leaving it to the wire.  Its not gona be about how good your hardware is at this time, its gona be about how much can you trust and rely on microsft from a consumer point of view.  At this stage, not alot.
  • I still use my zune hd in my truck to this day. Still use zune software too.
  • dont hate me, i love windows 10 desktop and even though 8.1 was for me the best mobile os i do prefer 10 mobile to ios and android but when apps microsft make arent even suported or major apps like netflix not able to stream to my samsung tv when apple and android can, and google and other major apps missing and some even now leaving like paypal, i have no option but to use the inferiour android platform on my s7 edge.  Hell microsft isnt even releasing a new lumia thats can be called a premium handset, and no i dont consider the 950 premium, the 930 was the last premium phone i felt windows mobile released.  Hey id move back to windows mobile in seconds if they sorted all these things out.
  • i like groove, i just with it had more pivoting like 8.1 did and i wish it could read my s7 edge sd card where i keep my music.  Hell i cant even use groove on my ipad air 2 casue there isnt one, just the ios version and thats dreadful on a tablet.  Hell i cant even use cortana on android on my headphone on android to operate groove loll, thats probably too much to ask fo, that last one.  But sd card reading should be default.  I actually dont mind hamburger menu in groove even though i dont like it as a whole in windows mobile 10.  I miss the unique and much better feeling pivoting from 8.1.  Still ive been using android for about 8 months now and im starting to be pulled in, i dont know if ill last another year before i choose or buy into perminantly either android or apple, i have 1 final year to decide, i hope microsft can do somehting in that time, cause if i personally move, itll include desktop.
  • Fingers are crossed with what Microsoft is doing with Windows 10 on arm and how it will translate on smartphones. 
  • It was mentioned but glossed over the fact that radio in the Zune HD is possibly the only digital HD Radio/media player of it's kind (hence the "HD" in the name). Unfortunately it took Microsoft so long to come out with this device to compete with the iPod touch, personal media players was already losing consumer interest since smartphones were replacing them. I had to settle for the Creative Vision:m to store my music/video collection on the go because their is no way I would install iTunes on either my Windows or Mac pc. For those who argue that itunes was better on the mac really doesn't know what a good program really means. iTunes sucked so bad, Apple forced their users to install it in order to get quicktime!
  • It's the only one with an HD radio and one of only a couple that have a radio at all.
  • What a memories!  When i saw the Zune advertisement for the first time i think to give one chance  so i buy at launch date at GameStop i get a black 32 gigas Zune that still playing music. NOW let me tell you that for the years to come Microsoft release the Zune HD so i went to Microsoft store to buy it "and guess what? this is what i receive: "You are  from foreing country " we can't ship outside USA."-- "But i'm domestic shipping we are USA territory"!.  _"Sorry sir Zune is  available​ for the contiguous 48 states only. So i wait to see Zune HD  on Walmart,Sears,Gamestop etc.. and never see it  so i wait to see on ebay and buy one that still working like new.  
  • I feel the same way. I was onboard with Zune early, I have a Gen 1 Brown Zune still. I also thought that the HD was the best player on the market at the time. The desktop player was solid too and easier to use than iTunes. I still use the HD and Zune desktop app . But the lack of support for streaming makes is harder and harder to use for daily music. The DNA of ZuneHD is in windows phones now. I just really wish companies would invest in MP3 players again.
  • so why have MS in their infinite wisdom taken Zune player off phones and saddled us with the godawful buggy clunky Groove (and its even worse predecessor)?   the history of MS on mobile devices is one of almosts and truly bizarre decisons (like removing all the good Nokia stuff from Nokia phones...), which crippled the usefulneess, frustrated the customers and essemntially guaranteed that their competitors overtake them .
  • I don't know why they went with Groove but, I know they are trying to make a single system to cross all platforms. The problem is that not everyone wants all of their devices connected through every feature. On the computer Groove is the default audio player when you install/upgrade to Windows 10 but Windows Media Player is still there and you can select it as the default player for audio files. Unfortunately, my Lumia 640 only has Groove. Sure there are other apps you can get to play audio but, I am not sure if you can change the default player on Windows Mobile...or if you can how easy that would be.
  • I have six Zune HDs and one old generation block sized Zune, which I don't really use anymore. Since I love music and music countdowns, I tend to use all six Zune HDs as six "radio stations" and I let them play on shuffle everyday. Of course, I can only listen to one, so the one that I take with me for the day, I listen to on shuffle also, but I also choose the songs I want to hear. On Sundays on my Facebook page, I share my most played songs. I do this all year long and at the end of each year, I share my most played songs for the year in all of the music genre categories I have in my Zune software. Just a little something for me to do on my Facebook, as I don't really post much on my Facebook and I'm not one to share too much personal stuff on it like a lot of people do. But, yeah, I love my Zune HDs. It is a shame that they never took off. I still would love to see the software on my 950 XL. I'd prefer that to Groove Music.
  • I have a Zune 120, I've had it for more than 10 years actually and I bought it refurbished too.  I've had no problems, no issues, and it charges within an hour.  TBH I would've preferred a Zune HD but the largest memory it has is just 30GB and I have over 100GB music.  Prior to my Zune, I had an Ipod Classic 120GB as well (Class 4), I had it for 9 months before it broke down and I needed it replaced.  But lo and behold, someone stole it, great.  Aside from the atrocious itunes which I loathed, itunes also demanded that it either: 1. Rearranges all my music file and folder names into unrecognizable ones with random  letters and numbers OR 2. It copies my entire 100GB into another set that it can then rename in unrecognizable codes so I will be beholden and dependent without the help of itunes.  I chose the latter, which unfortunately took up too much needed space on my laptop, 200GB on my ever growing music collection, sigh.  I LOATHE ITUNES.  So not only did this ipod not last a year (crappy design), it wanted to either take up more free space or make the music inaccessible to me w/o itunes.  After it was stolen, I needed a new mp3 player, I love music and I always had a walkman as a kid and always had it with me everywhere I went, and so I need my mp3 player.  So I researched on an mp3 player that was reliable, didn't require extra space than needed, didn't rearrange my file/folder names, and was 120GB at LEAST.  The answer was Zune and I'm very happy with that choice.  Now if only I have a Zune HD120 as well. :)  I have music on my phone but my entire collection doesn't fit and I hate relying on music apps that doesn't remember my playlists (I have numerous ones), thereby, everytime I change my phone, I have to keep making a new playlist which is a pain.    
  • My Zune HD is 64 GB.
  • So why did the Zune fail?
  • Quite simply they didn't market the Zune well enough. Apple had a large foot-hold in the audio player market already and Microsoft never had a decent strategy to fight back. At the very least they could have achieved a co-existance like iPhone and Android have in the phone market. Unfortuneately Microsoft gave up without a proper fight. But, I do not regret buying my Zune HD and, if I had it to do all over again I would still buy the Zune HD over the other options I had. It was and is the ONLY player that had the features I wanted. I am not including smart phones but, I personally prefer my music player to be separate from my phone.
  • Mine do not:
  • Great article. It brought back lots of memories. I think I'll lookup a Zune HD on Amazon or eBay. My kids were given the iPod Shuffle as a present from their uncles. That meant I had to try and support them. Of course I found iTunes is like a virus. It compares well with the old AOL software. Music Monkey was a third party alternative that worked for a while, but after some software updates on the iPods it would no longer work. I can't believe Apple somehow won that whole battle. Sigh. I did like the Zune desktop software and since it's still available will also try that again. Someone above mentioned the brown Zune. LOL. I remember that. At the time I couldn't believe someone approved putting out a brown Zune. Sheesh.
  • I purchased a new Zune just end of 2015, from Newegg's Canadian website. I love it. The video quality is awesome.  Love that it has radio, disappointed in it's crappy wifi, definitely not able to load web pages. I so wish it was possible to load a website, or facebook, just basics. To be able to stream online tv. But, as just a music and video player, its still pretty awesome.
  • I recently got a refurb 16GB Zune HD, $60 on ebay. I got it just because I always wanted one, and to add to my collection. I already own (or have owned) pretty much every other music playing device. I have an Android phone (Samsung S6 32GB). I have an Iphone (16GB 5S). I have Windows phones (32 GB Icon and 32 GB 1520 with 64GB SD card, both originally on WP 8 and now on 10). I have Dell DJs. I have had cheap $30 ipod nano knockoffs. I have had SanDisk Sansas. I have had various click wheel ipods (20, 40, 60, 120gb hard drive versions). I have a few SSD click wheel ipods (32, 64, 128 and 256GB models). I have an ipod touch 8GB. I mention all of this just to show that I have some perspective on MP3 players. While the Zune HD is a nice little device - sounds great, great battery life, etc. - the software is horrible. The Zune software that you have to install on the PC is possibly the worst computer software ever written. It is clumsy, confusing and completely non-intuitive. It makes Itunes look user-friendly. The actual UI on the Zune player perfectly matches the Zune PC software - clumsy, confusing and completely non-intuitive. However, once you figure it all out, it works fine. My biggest complaint with the Zune is that I have numerous MP3 files that appear to be incompatible with it. They won't even load up in the Zune software on the PC. No error messages, no nothing. They just will not load up. It is incredibly frustrating to load up a folder of 100s of files, only to find that some random number of files are just ignored. Mind you, ALL of these files play on ALL of the above mentioned players/phones. They play in Windows Media player just fine. They play in VLC. Why Zune does not like them is a complete mystery to me.
  • I had (still have, but rarely use) the brown Zune30. Whenever I break it out, I immediately notice that the same music sounds much better on it than on my 640. Do the more expensive W10M devices like 950 have audio circuitry that rivals the Zune?
  • Had 4 Zunes. Best music device I ever had was my zune 80. Then went to an HTC win 8 phone the xbox music which was suppossed to be the successor and the groove music are only pale imitations.
  • Dear Windows Central,   You really are complete @#%$%Q@$ morons if you're just now learning how awesome the Zune HD is/was.  MS has just about screwed up every single mobile platform it came out with, especially with the total lack of marketing for any of them.  So now, lately, it's not just enough for you to be preaching that the MS mobile phone platform is not dead (You're really trying to sell that to the 950XL owner wishing for Verizon connectivy?), you're now digging into the junk heap of has-been and never-was devices to declare MS the winner?   I want to go into a presentation with my 950XL & Continuum and blow away the competition with what I'm able to do with my phone.  Digging up what the Zune could have been instead of the Big Bang jokes is a bit behind the times imo.
  • What a metric load of butthurt bullshit.
  • Still regularly using my Zune HD. It sits on it's Zune "couch" that Altec Lansing developed for it. The Zune also featured an HD radio receiver. Exceptional even now.
  • I also use my Zune regularly. It's fat better than when I carried my Walkman and had a fanny-pack full of cassettes.
  • Honestly, I would have rather this article talked about backstory on the zune/xbox music drm stuff.  From what I remember, that's the reason the xbox music/groove stuff never really worked so well. Otherwise, nice stroll through memory lane, still have my zune hd (16).  Boxed it back up when I got my 8x. Always wanted the 64gb but was always too expensive.
  • My brother is what we called in my family a techno sheep. He sees technology he likes, we give him info, steer him in the right direction, and bingo he'll buy it. The same with the Zune. He loaded all this great music on it, used it at the gym, school, and just worn the little thing out. Then a couple of his friends got ipods, pretty pretty colors and sheep do what sheep do, he followed them and brought one. I ain't mad, I got me a slightly used Zune with a whole lot of good music 🎶. Until he packed up and moved away☹ . It lead to continue my Windows phone obsession, no good deed go unpunished.
  • I don't own an iPod but I am familar with it. My friend would show me what it could do whenever possible. I could see its appeal the dial control where you slide a finger over as control. Pretty cool but that not my priority. My priority is to buy an MP3 player that give me the maximum spec with the minimum price so i went with a creative mp3 player. Any fanboy priority would definitely be similar which is to champion their chosen brand. iPod classy feature don't overrule my geek nature to do the opposite of max spec minimum price.
  • Back in 2004, I bought my first portable media player. It was tiny and held maybe one album of music. Then I bought a Creative Zen player, which was pretty good, but the interface was not Podcast-friendly. I tried an iPod but found the wheel to be annoying and iTunes to be awful. I picked up a Zune and I was hooked. I had three of them, eventually settling on the Zune 120 (the Zune HD didn't have enough storage space for me). To this day, the Zune 120 is my favorite media player. When Windows Phone 7 came out, it felt like a natural evolution of the Zune, although the Zune's interface was arguably better. The conveience of having all of my media on my phone eventually led me to abandoning the Zune in favor of Windows Phone, but I will argue to the day I die that the Zune deserved to be the top media player of its time.
  • I still have my 32GB Zune and I love it and Zune software is awesome and both are all I use. I also bought my boyfriend a Zune and he still uses his although he likes his iPod because he has a Sony docking station with huge speakers and only the ipod will work with it for playing mp3 music. It's a shame Microsoft does not give their players and phones a chance. I think the Zune was ahead od it's time and twice the player tthat iPod is. 
  • Couple years back I bought an iHome that was designed for the Zune...perfectly designed little beast. Loved everything about it. Served as my music alarm every morning with my Zune HD up until a week ago when it stopped being able to charge/read the Zune HD :( Zune HD still works and the other functions of the iHome seem okay, it's just the "dock" part that seems to have finally died. Oh such potential that Microsoft could have had with Zune and Zune Music Pass...way ahead of the game in many respects (music subscription service, AMOLED screen tech, Wi-Fi sync, flat UI, etc.)
  • Zune Pass was awesome.   For $15 could download songs to multiple devices, each with their own independent sync.  AND, you could download 10 MP3s per month and keep for life.
  • How do people keep finding these relatively inexpensive, refurbished Zune? I've looked Zune on Amazon.ca, Craigslist and they're all either absubly expensive or broken and sold for parts.
  • I wonder how long it will be before pieces like this are being written about WP/W10M.