September 15, 2009, 9:03 PM — After tearing down the latest iteration of the iPod Touch and revealing some choice tidbits such as 802.11n wireless and the capability for an absent camera, the folks at iFixit dismantled and explored Microsoft's Zune HD. There were some wonderful surprises, including a sentimental message to a member of the Zune HD team who passed away before the device was released.
Some of the highlights:
- The Zune HD's 3.3 inch OLED display is only 1mm thick and appears, to the iFixit team, to be more rugged than the LCD panel found on an iPod Touch. The OLED display also contributes to the improved battery life of the Zune as it does not require a backlight. Although its battery is smaller than the iPod Touch's (660 mAh on the Zune compared to 789 mAh for the Touch), Microsoft claims a longer run-time for both music and videos.
- It's thinner and sleeker than its bricky look. "If the iPod Touch were square, it would have 20% more volume than the Zune."
- Though the Zune HD does not have 802.11n wireless, it is toting a "super efficient" AR6002GZ 802.11g chip.
- Underneath the hood lurks an Nvidia Tegra 2600 processor, "supporting OpenGL ES 2.0 and programmable pixel shaders." Toshiba provides the NAND flash and Hynix provides SDRAM.
- The SiPORT HD Radio receiver supports AM, FM, HD Radio, Microsoft MSN Direct Data Services, and other frequencies, including the Weather Band.
- The device is supposedly 35 percent lighter than the iPod Touch.
Also found was a sentimental note to a group member who died during the production of the Zune HD. On iFixit's model of the Zune, the words "For Our Princess" can be seen on the back of the case; a touching (no pun intended) gesture of solidarity.
It's sad that wherever the Zune HD goes, it will constantly be compared to the iPod touch. The Zune HD -- which some believe has "no reason to live" -- may have come out a little later than the updated touch, but that is no reason why it cannot be a standalone device worth individual consideration.