For those in the market for an MP3 player, things have gotten more complicated.
iPod has been the clear front runner in the MP3 player world for several years now but of course Zune was introduced several months ago. Both devices are solid contenders for the attention of music lovers, so buyers now have more of a choice.
Unfortunately, with choice sometimes comes confusion.
The decision as to which of the two MP3 players is the better buy is completely dependent upon the individual consumer's preferences. With both iPod and Zune offering 30GB models at $249, price will not be a deciding factor. To simplify the decision making process buyers can ask themselves 5 questions to determine their top priorities and whether iPod or Zune is the device of choice.
• Is huge storage capacity a critical feature?
If the answer is yes, iPod is the best selection. At least at this time, iPod offers Shuffle, Nano, and others including models with 60 and 80GB capacities while Zune offers only the 30GB model.
• Is the ability to play video a critical feature?
If it is, Zune may have a bit of an advantage as it boasts a larger 3.0" screen while iPod continues to offer the 2.5" display. Both offer the same resolution; 320x240 and the same aspect ratio: 4:3.
• Is it important to have the most unobtrusive MP3 Player?
When it comes to tiny and portable iPod is still the king. It is thinner, shorter, and lighter than the current Zune offering.
• What music selection choices are most desirable?
Both Zune and iPod have an impressive selection of music. However, for the selection of downloads, iPod is the champ offering the largest bank of music from which to select. The Zune store offers 2,000,000 titles while iPod offers in the neighborhood of 3,500,000. On the other hand, Zune boasts a built in FM radio receiver which opens the door to an entirely different listening opportunity, one that iPod does not currently offer.
• Is wireless connectivity a priority?
Although the future may hold changes, current iPod models are not WiFi enabled. Zune on the other hand is, although it is limited. With Zune users can share a song with someone nearby. The person receiving the song can listen to it for 3 days but then must buy it to continue to enjoy the song. Unfortunately, Zune is still unable to sync with a PC. It may not be much, but if sharing is important, Zune is a step ahead.
Anytime top manufacturers enter an arena with a new, competing device consumers are faced with decisions that aren't always clear or easy to make. In the end however, the consumers are the winners as options expand and competition pushes industry giants to develop even better products. The competition between iPod and Zune is sure to heat up the market for MP3 players for years to come.
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