The NVIDIA Tegra platform combines a low power ARM processor with high performance NVIDIA graphics to enable HD video playback on low power devices with excellent battery life. We’re still waiting for the first NVIDIA Tegra powered netbooks or smartbooks to hit the market. But there is one device that’s already available that uses the Tegra chipset: The Zune HD media player.
The folks at NVIDIA sent me a 16GB Zune HD to play with. I’m just starting to explore the Zune hardware and software, but while I’m setting it up to synchronize with my PC, I thought I’d share my unboxing and first impressions videos. You can check them out after the break.
This particular model has the NVIDIA logo etched onto the back. I forgot to highlight that in the video, which is why I took the photo you can see above.
I’m pretty impressed with the slim size, light weight, attractive UI, and super-crips display. The real test will be how well it handles HD video playback and what kind of battery life it gets. But I’m already finding myself wishing that the Zune HD had calendar and contact applications and the ability to sync with Microsoft Outlook. If it could do those things, I might be willing to toss aside my 6 year old Dell Axim X50v PDA and upgrade to a smaller, thinner device. I don’t really want to pay $50 or more per month to get a smartphone, and nobody really makes standalone PDAs anymore. (Update: Thanks to obo for pointing out that HP does still have a few iPAQ models that aren’t smartphones).
I suppose I could always get an iPod Touch if Microsoft doesn’t expand the app marketplace for the Zune HD, but the HD video playback capabilities on this little media player make it pretty compelling.
On the down side, I just ran into my first snag: The Zune HD can’t handle DiVX files. I have dozens of videos on my computer that I’ve recorded using a TV tuner and compressed to DiVX to save space. The Zune software won’t recognize them, and if I want to get them onto the media player I’m going to have to convert them to WMV, H.264, or another recognized format.