Excitement for the Zune HD seems to be building in the blogosphere. While nobody expects it to "kill" the mighty iPod Touch, it seems from early looks like Microsoft may have finally released a product that could at least challenge it. Recently, Microsoft released the official specs for the Zune HD, but left out a few details. After all, this is the first product of many to come to market using Nvidia's delayed Tegra chip. With a little digging, we were able to find a little more information than what's on the Microsoft spec sheet.
You can view the full technical specs at the bottom of the Zune HD page on Microsoft's store, though the company quickly released a PDF of tech specs that offers a few of corrections. First, the battery life on the store web page is incorrect. It should be up to 33 hours of music and 8.5 hours of video. Second, the charge time is 3 hours when plugged into a PC, 2 hours when plugged in with the AC adapter. Some of the audio bitrates have been corrected, too.
Highlights from the specs include:
Product dimensions: 52.7 mm x 102.1 mm x 8.9 mm (w x h x d), 2.6 ounces
Flash storage capacity: 16 or 32 gigabytes
Battery life: Music, up to 33 hours (wireless off); video, up to 8.5 hours
Charge Time: 3 hours hooked up to a PC; 2 hours plugged into AC adapter
Screen: 3.3-inch OLED color display, 16:9 aspect ratio, scratch-resistant glass with multi-touch capability, 480x272 pixels
Wireless connectivity: 802.11b/g compatible, wireless sync, WEP/WPA/WPA2 support
Picture Support: JPEG – (.jpg)
- WMA up to 384 Kbps; constant bit rate (CBR) and variable bit rate (VBR) up to 48-kHz sample rate.
- WMA Pro 2-channel up to 768 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.
- WMA Lossless 2-channel up to 768 Kbps and 48-kHz
- AAC (.mp4, .m4a, .m4b) - .m4a and .m4b files without FairPlay DRM up to 320 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.
- MP3 (.mp3) – Up to 320 Kbps; CBR and VBR up to 48-kHz.
- WMV - Main and Simple Profile, CBR or VBR, up to 10.0 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). Advanced Profile up to L2, 1280x720 up to 30 frames per second, CBR or VBR, up to 14.0 Mbps peak video bitrate. Zune software will transcode HD WMV files above stated capabilities at device sync.
- MPEG-4 (MP4/M4V) (.mp4) Part 2 video – Simple Profile up to 4.0 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). Zune software will transcode HD MPEG-4 files at device sync
- H.264 video – Baseline Profile + bframes, up to 10 Mbps peak video bit rate; 720 pixels x 480 pixels up to 30 frames per second (or 720 pixels x 576 pixels up to 25 frames per second). 1280x720 up to 30 frames per second, up to Level 3.1 and 14.0 Mbps peak video bitrate. Zune software will transcode HD WMV files above stated capabilities at device sync.
- DVR-MS – Zune software will transcode at time of sync.
Audio Output: Optical Digital Audio Out (requires additional dock, sold separately)
Video Output: HDMI or Composite (requires additional dock, sold separately)
Radio: Built-in FM/HD Radio
The official spec sheets leaves out some interesting bits, though. For starters, it's clear the Zune HD has an accelerometer in it. We've seen the device detect when it is tilted sideways to display photos or web pages in widescreen mode. That's not on the spec sheet, but it clearly could be of use if we start seeing Zune HD apps in the future.
More interesting is the Tegra chip that powers the device, as this is the first Tegra-powered device to come to market. Tegra is available in several different flavors, and we have learned that the Zune HD uses the Tegra APX 2600 variant.
When Nvidia talks about Tegra APX 2600, they mention it having "eight processors" integrated into a system-on-chip (SoC). These are the HD Video Decoder, HD Video Encoder, 2D Engine, Imaging, GPU (3D graphics), Audio, and two ARM cores. The APX 2600 uses the ARM11 MPCore chip, which can contain anywhere from one to four cores; Nvidia's configuration is two. These CPU cores are essentially similar to the single ARM11 core in the iPod Touch and first two generations of iPhone, though the iPhone 3GS has a more powerful ARM Cortex A8 core.
The iPhone's single ARM11 core runs at 412MHz, the iPhone 3GS runs the more powerful ARM Coretex A8 at 600MHz. The two ARM11 cores in the Tegra APX 2600 run up to 600MHz, but we don't know if that's the maximum allowed in the configuration used in the Zune HD. Of course, the Tegra chip has multiple clock domains and aggressive power management to manage clock speeds.
Knowing this, we know almost all important hardware data about the Zune HD. We still don't know how much RAM it is configured with, for example. Real 2D and 3D performance have yet to be independently measured, and battery life specs are rarely a match for reality. We'll have more on the Zune HD's hardware, and of course a review of the device, in the coming weeks.
This story, "Zune HD Specs Including Tegra Details" was originally published by PCWorld.