Experts and consumers pit iPod against Zune

Can any MP3 player beat the iPod?

With new accessories being introduced all the time, other manufacturers have failed to contend with the hugely popular brand. But a new contender, Microsoft’s Zune, is going for the title.

Zune mimics the iPod in many ways while implementing new technology.

When comparing both companies’ 30 gigabyte digital media players, there are basic similarities.

Both players can hold up to 7,500 songs – 4 minutes being the average song length for both – thousands of photos and up to 100 hours of video.

The iPod and Zune use the same video formats, and each has its own music store. The differences come in the look and features.

The Zune’s screen is a half-inch bigger than the iPod.

Kelley Campbell, a student who owns a Zune, said the screen size makes a vast difference between the brands.

“The screen is larger and clearer,” said the junior public relations student from Milwaukee.

Another feature that piqued Campbell’s interest was the Zune’s free upgrades.

“You get free upgrades from the (Web) site instead of buying software,” Campbell said.

Stacy Keech, a wireless expert at Best Buy on Apalachee Parkway and a student at Lively Technical Center, said the Zune is a better product than the iPod.

“Because of the Wi-Fi capability on the Zune, you and a friend can send songs to each other,” said the sophomore electrician student. “It also has a FM radio.”

Keech also noted that the Zune is compatible with more music formats than the iPod.

While the Zune has features the iPod does not, there are drawbacks to this MP3 player.

According to James Kim, senior editor at, the music sharing is not what it seems.

“You cannot send a song to another Zune more than one time,” Kim said in a video review of the product.

And when one Zune sends another a song, the receiving player stops playing music until the transfer is complete, Kim said, hinting that this aspect was a slight annoyance.

“Another thing to remember is to turn off the wireless when you want to conserve the battery,” Kim said. The down side to turning off the wireless is a person cannot be located by others who have a Zune, and he or she cannot share music while the wireless is off.

One distinct feature the iPod has is that it allows its users to download protected video content; a task, according to Kim, the Zune does not allow. So Zune owners cannot bootleg videos.

Unlike the Zune, an iPod allows individuals to customize an equalizer to their liking.

Quashana Luckett, a sophomore psychology student, said the iPod suits her fine.

“The Zune is bulky,” Luckett said. “If they came out with a different look, more people would probably buy it. I can stick my iPod in my purse or in my pocket.”

The Miami native, whose sister received a Zune for Christmas, said the only Zune feature she really admired was the radio, but that feature is not important to her.

“I can always wait to hear the radio when I get into my car,” Luckett said.

According to Keech, when it comes down to it, deciding which MP3 player is better lies in what the consumer desires.

“They are both the same, it just depends on what features you want,” he said.