Zune is much improved, but still catching up

The media player has yet to surpass iPod, other competitors

While Microsoft has made solid progress with the Zune, the device still isn't compellingly more attractive than its competitors. And at US$149 for the 4GB version and US$199 for the 8GB version, it's priced identically to the iPod Nano against which it is competing. Even though it's a solidly executed media player with a top-notch user interface and some other nice touches, the new flash-based Zune doesn't stand out from a crowd of highly competent and better-established competitors.

Haskin is a contributing editor specializing in mobile and wireless issues.

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