Microsoft releases a new Zune every year, mostly to collective shrugs, but this year’s model “might be the Zune that you’ve been waiting for,” writes Mark McClusky of Wired. “You were waiting, right?” The slim, white-and-black Zune HD is “a lovely industrial design,” with a beautiful screen that can display a true 16:9 aspect ratio. It’s also the first touch-controlled Zune, so the “infamous ‘squircle’” of past Zunes is gone.
The Zune can display down-sized HD video, has an HD radio receiver, and can export either to your TV. The software is in many ways better than iTunes. But there are some downsides. There’s still no support or Divx video, and the application and video stores are a tad thin. But all in all, “that scrappy underdog from Redmond might just have what it takes to compete with the iPod.” And at $289 for the 32GB version, it's $10 cheaper.