General Question

shniernan's avatar

Ipod VS. Zune, which is better and why?

Asked by shniernan (981points) November 23rd, 2010

Everything I see about this subject of matter is either 2 or 3 years old and I wanted to ask a source I could trust.

So first off, I REALLY like Zune’s personalization (play with it here: ,I like L4D2’s the most) You have like 50 different awesome designs to choose from, whereas with the Ipod Touch, it’s a sea of the same model, the same design, and the same everything.

Second off, this is one of the biggest points for Ipod, APPS. Does Zune even have apps? If not… I don’t think it’s worth it really. If it does, is it a good App Store? Any/all info on apps is good.

Last, what about the sound quality/any other attributes on one VS. the other? (ex. Well Zune has some wireless feature where you dont need to hookup to change songs (this was something else I heard that interested me))

Thank you for any/all help!

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24 Answers

DeanV's avatar

The Zune might actually be better than the iPod Nano or Classic in terms of features, but it will probably be a long time before a device unseats the iPod from its throne, and for good reason. It’s integration with your computer is great, and although I like the Zune software much more than iTunes, it’s not cross platform nor does it have the app marketplace the iPod has.

I would personally go with the iPod, but that’s because I think there’s a chance of the Zune being discontinued within the next few years, but absolutely no chance of the iPod going anywhere without any serious competition.

Also, one of the only companies I trust less than Apple with my data or information is Microsoft.

BhacSsylan's avatar

So, I’ve had a zune (of some flavor) for several years now (3 or 4, i think), and I really, really like it. But, like most things, it’s a personal preference thing.

For personalization, and just looks in general, the Zune is just plain snazzy. It looks great, both physically and the screens (especially the HD, which I assume you’re looking into), and is just very, very stylish. And it helps that it looks, well, different. It’s not just not an IPod.

As far as audio quality, I’d be surprised if there was a huge difference, but I know that I’ve never had an issue, and my semi-audiophile friend is very happy with his Zune, when he wasn’t with an IPod, so I guess there’s that. Zune shines in other ways, though. Contrast is just plain fantastic, and so essentially everything will look better on it’s screen, be it videos or just album covers. It also has a nice feature where it shows a picture of the band in the background while playing music… just in general it has lots of nice touches like that.

And, peripherals are also great. The HD audio/visual dock is pricey (~$75), but will allow you to use the zune as an HD player on any HD-capable TV, and even comes with a remote! And the standard earbuds that come with the Zune are actually pretty great, far and away better then the crappy (IMO) ipod buds. They fit great, have nice sound (especially for included buds), come with several more pads of various colors, and even have a little magnet in them to keep them stuck together nicely when not using them (or just listening in one ear).

If you’re looking for apps, though, you really should go elsewhere, unfortunately. The Zune has, maybe 2 dozen? Let’s see… about 2 dozen games (all of which are pretty cool, but shrug) and a dozen other ones of various functionality, like a facebook app and a calculator. Nothing huge. So, yeah, that’s the Zune’s main fault if you want that. I, personally, don’t care. But you obviously do, so I’m sorry i can’t offer a more agreeable answer.

The wireless functionality is also quite neat, will let you sync as long as you’re connected to the same network as your computer, which is handy. The better functionality comes with a zune pass, though, if you want to buy it. You can download almost any music you care to search for (some you have to buy, but very few, and I’ve been able to find all but the smallest indie bands on the marketplace) for free, keep it until you cancel the subscription, use the music on up to two devices, and use the marketplace on up to three, all for $15 per month, as well as getting to buy 10 songs every month, which are DRM free. Pretty snazzy. The snazziest bit, though, is connecting with your zune and finding/downloading music straight to it.

So, yeah. The Zune is an excellent media player, really great in my opinion. But that’s all it does. If apps are a dealbreaker, then an IPod it is, unfortunately. But hopefully my ranting may have edged you to it. We’ll see. Good luck on the decision!

shniernan's avatar

@BhacSsylan – DARN YOU. You make me want it so bad… But apps also sound so tempting.

Right now the priorities have changed. I forgot to mention prices… Ipod Touch is only 300$ and I can keep my 150+ songs I’ve purchased already for my nano. However Zune is 350, but 15$ a month for unlimited…

however payment options are slim, I must assume you would pay the 15$ by credit card, however I am a minor so….. That’s not happenin… My budget wont go over 400 (for now, this is like excluding new music).

So with the information given, I think my ideal choice would be some special edition Ipod Touch, like with a different design.

Another thing I wanted to ask was yours comes with ALL of that, and is 3–4 years old?!?! If that’s the OLD one, what’s the new one? Is there a new version? (PS on the zune studio in the top left corner you can select 16HD, 32HD, and 64HD, those are gigs right? It wasn’t really clear…)

Also, I have my own headphones but it’s nice to know they have a good set with them. I really appreciate all the info you provided and effort you put in your response, thank you.

Mikewlf337's avatar

From what you said about the Zune it sounds like a cool device but I always had iPods and I have been happy with them.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@squirbel That’s fair. Gelaskins are crazy awesome. If you end up with an IPod, @shniernan, gelaskins are the way to go.

However, on the Zune front, yeah, the lack of apps makes me sad, but there’s not much to be done, unfortunately. The Zune wasn’t meant to be the same type of platform, so even if they decided to ramp up app support it’ll still never be equal to an IPod’s.

The $15 is by credit card, i believe. I’m checking if they take anything else… . So, there are apparently prepaid subscription cards you can get. I think you can probably find them at a BestBuy if you have them around (they also should have Zunes there, if you want to check them out in person). Or maybe walmart/target, I think they sell them too. Of course, you should find a good place before you buy if you decide to go with that. Apparently microsoft points and zune points are the same thing.

So yeah, the ipod bought files wont be able to to synced to the zune, i believe ( i had to do some…. unsavory things with my files when a friend gave me an itunes girt card >.<), but if you listen to anything vaguely popular you should be able to find it on zune pass for free. If you get more interested and want me to look them up for you to be sure I can do that, too.

And what I told you about was the HD, the new version, I got it last year after I washed my old one >.<. That’s the ‘Zune Classic’ now, I think. It’s the type with the buttons and little square pad at the bottom. That didn’t have as nice a screen (HD uses new tech. very cool tech, too. OLEDs), but was still a good device.

Yes, those numbers are for the gigs. And the headphones would be a good backup, at least :-p.

@Mikewlf337 Yeah, that’s why i said it’s preference. I have had an ipod, the relationship ended badly, and I don’t care for Apple’s company policies, so I much prefer this. And, again, I wanted a excellent media player, not a mini computer that is also a good media player. If you like apple, and/or if you want the extra functionality, IPods are better. If you don’t, Zune may be better.

Edit: also @shniernan, where are you finding the prices? At apple’s store I see a 64Gig iTouch as $400. And if you want a 34Gig, the zune HD, engraved, is only $239 (compared to apple’s 300). But you may be looking somewhere that it’s on sale, i guess.

Winters's avatar

@shniernan $350 for a Zune? The most I’ve ever seen is $285 (one was the 120 GB and the other was HD 64 GB, both were $285), where ever you’re from officially sucks in my book.

Blondesjon's avatar

There is a reason that folks refer to nearly any type of mp3 player as an iPod and not a Zune.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blondesjon Because it was first and has the larger market share?

Blondesjon's avatar

No. It holds the distinction of being a brand name that most people use to refer to the product it represents in general.

Not all tissues are Kleenex brand but most folks refer to any tissues as Kleenex. The same goes for Q-Tips. These particular brands may not be the best but they are very good at what they do. The same goes for the iPod.

The Zune is just Microsoft playing their old game. Pick a popular, established idea and then try and market your own version and hope your juggernaut of a name carries it along.

you hear that bing?

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blondesjon Okay, I don’t disagree with anything in particular there. Not sure why that’s going to affect his choice, though. As you said, just because people refer to them doesn’t mean they are necessarily the best, just means they’re ubiquitous.

And, just for the record, I don’t think IPods are bad. I personally just think the zune is a better media player, and I don’t like apple as a company, but that’s a totally other discussion that needn’t affect his choice, either.

Edit, and just to say, you could have picked a better comparison. If i find a better tissue, I have absolutely no reason not to buy it instead of kleenex, buying a brand name has no extra incentive in that case. In this, you could argue that it’s easier to buy peripherals for an IPod, but I would counter that almost all peripherals are universal, just say IPod because they can. And those that aren’t I’ve never had trouble finding a suitable replacement with the exception of the IPod dock stereo systems. And if you want that, you can still find one that accepts a universal 3.5mm input.

Double edit, since you’re a ninja: That’s a little below the belt, to be fair. MP3s have been coming out for a long time now since the first IPod from various manufacturers. Are they all just doing the same thing? I’d argue that many are not, those are trying to do it in a different and better way. Same with microsoft. the Zune is not an IPod, and I’ve tried to explain that. They share a central purpose, but it all diverges from there. Have you used a zune? I’ve used two zunes, owned three different ipods and used others, and in my impression the zune is a superior media player, but as I’ve said if you want different functionality you have to go elsewhere. They’re different devices.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blondesjon And you know what? Bing isn’t all that bad. I prefer Google, but many people prefer Bing’s interface. It’s different. Just because they’re doing a similar thing doesn’t mean it’s a pure reskinning. They came out with an antivirus too, Microsoft Security Essentials. Are they just copying Norton? Sorta, sure. It’s still an antivirus. Works a hell of a lot better, though.

Blondesjon's avatar

Who would want to copy Norton? Blech!

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blondesjon Well, fair. But they are the ubiquitous one.

Blondesjon's avatar

But folks don’t refer to most other security programs as Norton.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@Blondesjon Actually, they do. I’ve heard it a number of times. No one who’s halfway good with computers, no, but that’s not nearly the majority.

And still, my point stands. In no way does being ubiquitous show that you’re better. No where. It probably means that at one point you were better, but that can always change.

BhacSsylan's avatar



edit: and you do realize coke currently has a larger market share, right?

shniernan's avatar

@Winters / everyone else whos asking: THIS IS ALL IN MY LINK, And i didn’t know it was on 64, I only want a 32g, and i only NEED 16g. The 16g Ipod Touch is 320$ according to amazon. Sorry for the confusion everyone!

@squirbel – Those… Look… AMAZING.

@BhacSsylan / @Blondesjon – I laughed so hard at you guys “talking” to each other… lol.

Finally, @BhacSsylan (your response to my response to your post) – I’m actually not too worried about my actual songs as you say that I can have almost unlimited for 15$ a month, I could get them all back, y’know? But first, I have a few questions (again…). I have a couple youtube videos that I actually love, and I converted them into Ipod files and have them handy with me wherever I go, can you do this with zune? Also, does the “subscription” thing cover videos/movies? How does that really work…?

Also, tell me more about its connection to XBL, because I have an account. I was actually considering selling my Xbox before you said that. I have microsoft points handy, can I buy subscription like that? Also, please remember that the only thing I have worked with my entire life is Itunes so please try to see it through my eyes.

Thank you for everything. (P.S. I re-read your first post. Do you know how many times you said a form of the word snazzy? How’d you know I liked that word? You should be a salesman…)

squirbel's avatar

Gelskins are extremely high quality as well… they are a thin skin that sticks to the back and front of your device…but the skin is like hard rubber once it’s on. It also removes very cleanly and without muss.

I will recommend Gelaskins ten times over, and I very rarely laud products. I’ve been using them for four years and purchased 4 skins.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@squirbel gelaskins are awesome (my girlfriend had one that outlasted her ipod. And that thing lasted for ~4 years), but if you’re going for the engraved look, which i also quite like, it’s not going to compare. That said, if you don’t, @shniernan, i would seriously consider a gelaskin. Or, again, if you end up with an IPod. They are very high-quality.

On the flip side, Zagg Invisible Shield is a very similar product that’s clear. I current have it on mine, very tough, and comes with a lifetime guarantee that it never gets scratched.

For the videos, if they’re in a format Zune recognizes, you can do that no problem. It’s m4v, mp4, and wmv. And theres a good program i use to convert if you need it, Any Video Converter.

as to you main question, I’m not actually sure >.<. I’m really sorry, I pay via credit card, and so I’m not really sure how that works. I never used Microsoft points. From what I can tell, you apparently can’t, which sucks. But, you can buy zune pass cards, like this one at best buy, so you should be able to do it that way. Sorry I don’t know any better :-/

And yeah, snazzy is a good word. Didn’t mean to use it that often, though >.<

EDIT: considering my confusion, I would highly suggest checking around before deciding, and making sure you can find a place to buy cards around you before you decide on zune pass. Heck, you could even buy one and try it out for a month, just in case. You end up with 10 songs out of it, at least. If you don’t mind potentially blowing $15 in the experiment.

shniernan's avatar

@BhacSsylan – Actually I just read a review that sorta changed my mind… I wasn’t quite understanding before… So if I cancel the subscription the songs all dissappear? Darn… Well I’m more of a buying person… I guess I’ll have to restart my library… No matter… A buck a song right? Same as Itunes?

I also didn’t know that the HD was a touch screen… AWESOME. lol, that was another biggey for me, so I still don’t know… It seems every time I get closer to a decision I learn something new about the other option.

I’m going to lose quite a bit of sleep over this, and I will inevitably go to a store and check it out. Thank you for all your help, I’ll keep you posted.

BhacSsylan's avatar

@shniernan sorry, i was probably not as obvious with that distinction as i should have been. i only said “keep them as long as you keep the subscription”, so I apologize. You do get to keep 10 songs per month you keep the subscription, though, and those are DRM free and you keep forever, so it’s about 1.50 a song, plus free rentals, if you think about it that way.

Prices on the marketplace, from my very quick survey, are ~99 points each, ~$1.20, so a little higher. But buying an album is usually $10, and so much cheaper for 10 songs or more.

And yeah, the HD is a touch screen. Has three buttons, though, a power button, one that brings up quick controls (play/pause, volume, skip), and one that brings you straight to the home screen. Otherwise everything’s touch screen.

And sorry if I seem at all pushy, not sure how I’m coming across. I really like the zune, but if you end up with an IPod i’m sure it’ll be great (And gelaskins are really fantastic. Or should i say snazzy?). So good luck! And it’s good you’re not making the decision lightly, either. If you treat it well (and don’t, you know, send it through the wash like someone), either device should last you quite a few years, so be sure you’re happy.

shniernan's avatar

@BhacSsylan – You’re coming off as a great help. You’re not pushy at all, don’t worry bout it! However, those prices are disappointing… I might go with the renting after all! Lol I guess we’ll just have to wait and see!

once again, thanks for all the help!

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