Zune HD: Exclusive first look at the REAL THING

A 32GB Microsoft Zune HD media player arrived at our doorstep today, and we had just enough time to take it out of its packaging and snap some first shots. Unfortunately, Microsoft didn't provide the Zune 4.0 software necessary to sync it up and actually use the unit, but we still were in awe of its spectacular 3.3-inch 16:9 OLED touchscreen. It's responsive, bright, sharp, and contrasty. Beautiful.

The unit itself is exceptionally small, thin, and has a brushed aluminum finish that exudes elegance. There's a single button at the bottom of the screen, one on the side and one on the top, which ought to be simple enough to operate for anyone.

Looking at the demo video on board, its playback is butter-smooth on its 480x272-pixel screen. We also got the dock for the Zune HD, and we'll be testing out all its 720p HD playback capabilities and syncing it up as soon as we get the software. Zune HD goes on sale September 15, in either the 32GB model we have here for $290, or the 16GB for $220.

Silver, black, red, blue and green models will be available in both 16GB and 32GB capacities at the Zune Originals site. The silver and black Zune HDs are currently available for pre-order. Meanwhile, admire the beauty of Zune HD in the gallery below.