Brief Browser evaluation on ZUNE HD, by me

Discussion in 'Apple, Inc and Tech Industry' started by clevin, Oct 4, 2009.

  1. clevin macrumors G3

    clevin

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2006
    #1
    I received my ZUNE HD original couple of days ago, and have been using it for a bit. I'm offering my evaluation on its browser, I won't be touching other aspect of it, they are fun and definitely great for showing off tho.

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    1. Page loading speed.

    I know people are crazy about this, and throwing js speed benchmark around all the time, but this simply is useless, js speed on a mobile device means less than little. ZUNE HD browser's (lets call it mIE) page loading speed is decent, for normal users, I don't think there will be any significant difference compare to mSafari on iPhone.

    Opera mini is a different beast and it works in a totally different way, so its not useful to compare any other browser's speed to OM's.

    2. Bookmarks and Histories.

    There is no histories on mIE, period. The bookmarks on it is listed alphabetically, and there is no way of rearrange them.

    an interesting function is when touch and hold on an item on bookmark list, you can pin the url to the quick play menu. This is same quickplay menu that you can pin videos, radio stations, pic, musics, etc. like a shorcuts system on a computer desktop.

    3. Search and input url

    mIE is using Bing as search engine, one touch will bring up a keyboard. you can type in search word and then search.

    however, to type in an url, you will have to touch the UI twice, one touch brings up the urlbar, another to bring up keyboard.

    There is also a problem that when the uralbar and keyboard show up, its pre-filled with the current address, so you have to delete the old one before you can type in new one. although if you hold delete button for 2 second the address, no matter how long, will completely gone, but I still think when users bring up urlbar, it should be empty.

    Virtual keyboard is pretty good tho.

    This compares to the palm Pre, on which you don't need to touch any UI elements and typing anything will directly brings users to url bar, and url also give options for google and wiki search, kinda like firefox's mini awesome bar.

    mIE is not doing very good in this aspect, but it might not be that important a problem neither

    4. Font and screen space

    mIE is not doing good in this regard, when vertical, the screen width is indeed a problem as people suspected, but the problem is two fold, the pixel is surely one major part, but mIE's font is also a problem.

    The font used in mIE is something between arial and verdana. its not an optimized font for small screen, in comparison, my Pre's font looks much better and clearer on the screen. even when they are both in horizontal mode, which should give them same pixels.

    Its perfectly fine with most three column websites, such as here at MR. but when looking at two column and wide websites, its readability is lower than my Pre. On a scale of 0-100, I would give my Pre 85, and mIE 75.

    mIE also has a permanent function bar at the bottom of the screen, Im not sure its the best design, it offers 4 functions, search, back, bookmark, and a tab to bring up urlbar (which has url, refresh on it). I suspect most people will go online on ZUNE HD in horizontal settings, in which case, the space occupied by the function bar is kinda a waste of space. I think MS can learn from the Pre browser in this aspect, which only has two floating icons at the bottom corner of the screen.

    5. the image display

    Its unavoidable on a mobile browser, the images will be distorted away from its original resolution. mIE's image zooming is not as good as you can find in gecko or webkit, so the images will never be smooth as those.

    6. Tabs

    no such function

    7. multitouch, UI, and accelerometer

    mIE is very snappy, the horizontal to vertical transition is very pretty, the UI is very responsive, multi touch is also very smooth.

    8. acid test

    mIE does not pass ACID 2 test.

    Conclusions

    mIE is a very capable mobile browser, its good enough for most day to day usage, as much as mSafari or Pre Browser. I can see its a very basic browser with minimum functions, I have no objections to this if thats what MS intended.

    Two suggestions I would give MS are redesign of the function bar and a font change (or a auto wrapping of long text).

    I made same post at ZUNEscene
     
  2. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #2
    Sounds the same as mSafari surely? You have to scroll all the way to the top - then click the address bar - which is still full of text. There's an X to empty it though.
     

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