5 Questions to Resolve the Ipod Versus Zune Dilemma

By: Christine Peppler

iPod has been the master of the MP3 player world for several years now but of course Zune was introduced in recent months. Both are solid contenders in the MP3 corner of the home electronics world so buyers now have a choice.

With choice sometimes comes confusion for buyers.

The decision as to which MP3 player is the better buy is completely dependent upon the individual consumer's preferences. Price is not a deciding factor between the two as both iPod and Zune have 30GB models which come in at $249. As a result there are basically 5 questions that need to be answered to determine a buyer's top priorities and whether iPod or Zune is the device of choice.

&bull Is a huge capacity/storing the most songs possible critical?

For now iPod has more options than Zune, with Shuffle, Nano, and others including models with 60 and 80GB capacities while Zune currently offers only the 30GB model.

&bull Is playing video on an MP3 player one of the most prized features?

If the answer is yes, Zune may have a bit of an advantage as it boasts a larger screen. The 2.5" iPod screen is noticeably smaller than Zune's 3.0" screen. Both offer the same resolution; 320x240 and the same aspect ratio: 4:3.

&bull Is having the smallest, lightest possible MP3 Player a goal?

If tiny is a top priority then iPod will be more attractive as it is thinner, shorter, and lighter than the current Zune offering.

&bull What music selection choices are most desirable?

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.

&bull Is wireless connectivity a priority in an MP3 player?

Unlike current iPod models, Zune is WiFi enabled 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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