I was trying to figure out what it was about the Zune HD’s TV interface that I was enjoying so much, and then I realised: Unlike every other device of its size and capacity, this thing is a true portable media centre. It’s not as fast as a fully fledged PC running Windows Media centre, but it is zippy as hell for a pocketable, portable player.
Zune HD goes dark when it’s docked, like you see in the gallery. This isn’t like an iPod—you dock Zune HD, and suddenly it’s invisible, the power behind what you watch or listen to. The remote is the key. I bopped around, browsing music, scanning for radio stations (that HD has a few meanings, including a HD radio receiver, so you can see the “what’s playing” data and everything) and even watching a short full-screen video on this 152cm Samsung. The demo Zune only had the one video—I can’t wait to see what it’s like to fill a 32GB one with great movies and TV episodes.
As we showed you months ago, the player itself takes the PMP user interface to a new level. When you select something, all the screen elements move at different vectors, creating at times a 3D effect, as you can catch up close in the video below. (Pardon the glare, but that’s one hazard—for better or worse, it’s a shiny shiny screen.)
I don’t want to say more—this is not a review, and I won’t be the reviewer when we do pass judgement—but let me say that, as someone who’s never been terribly excited by past Zunes, this one took me pleasantly by surprise.