World of Zune

Zune HD vs iPod Touch

Zune HD vs iPod Touch: Which one is better?

Unfortunately there is no right answer to this question. The right answer will depend on what is more important to you.

Both the Zune HD and iPod Touch are very comparable. They are both high end touch screen portable media players. Both have a great web browsing experience over Wi-Fi.

There are essentially 5 major points to consider when looking at the Zune HD vs iPod Touch, where there are significant differences between the two devices — hardware, video, music, applications and price.


The Zune HD is smaller, lighter, has a better screen and more battery life.

The Zune HD is slightly thicker, but otherwise smaller than the iPod Touch. It's 36% lighter as well.

It sports a 3.3 inch OLED screen as compared to the 3.5 inch LCD screen on the iPod Touch. The Zune HD's screen is slightly smaller but otherwise much sharper and of a higher resolution. The sharpness and clarity of screen will remind you of an HDTV.

The Zune HD has more battery life (33 hours music, 8.5 hours video) as compared to the iPod Touch (30 hours music, 6 hours video). The Zune HD's battery also charges faster - fully charged in 3 hours as opposed to the iPod Touch which takes 4 hours to fully charge.

Winner: Zune HD


The Zune HD supports more video formats at a higher resolution.

Both devices support decoding video in MPEG-4 and H.264 formats. While the iPod Touch can decode only video encoded up to 2 Mbps, the Zune HD can decode decode video encoded up to 14 Mbps. This ability to process more data combined with the better screen allows the Zune HD to provide a much better video viewing experience.

Additionally, the Zune HD can handle video at 1280 x 720 resolution while the iPod Touch is limited to 640 x 480 resolution.

Plus, the Zune HD handles one additional video format - Microsoft's own WMV.

Winner: Zune HD


Both devices integrate with good online music stores. While iTunes has more songs, the Zune Marketplace makes up for it big time by providing an all-you-can-eat subscription service with the Zune Pass. No other third party music subscription services are available for either device.

The Zune Pass makes the Zune HD a "no brainer" choice for the voracious music fan.

Additionally, the Zune HD comes with an HD radio tuner which provides access to CD quality radio stations. There is no radio tuner in the iPod Touch.

Winner: Zune HD


There is just no comparison here. The iPod Touch wins hands down since the iTunes store provides access to over 75,000 applications. This is compared to the 7 currently available in the Zune Marketplace.

We'll continue to see more applications added to the Zune Marketplace but it will take a long time for Microsoft to catch up to Apple here.

Winner: iPod Touch


Overall the Zune is cheaper. And while the smallest capacity 8 GB iPod Touch is $199 (there is no 8 GB Zune HD), for just $20 more you can get a 16 GB Zune HD (there is no 16 GB iPod Touch).

The 32 GB versions are very close in price - $290 for the Zune HD versus $299 for the iPod Touch. And the iPod Touch is also available in a 64 GB version for $399 (ouch!).

Winner: Zune HD

Bottom Line

In the Zune HD vs iPod Touch side-by-side comparison, the Zune HD wins in 4 of the 5 major areas of differentiation. If you are looking for a pure entertainment device, the Zune HD is a significantly better option.

But if you are looking for a pocket computer with great application support plus a decent music experience, the iPod Touch would be the one to consider.

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Zune Pass Explained
Learn all about the Zune pass music subscription service — the biggest reason to consider the Zune HD over the iPod Touch.

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