The ubiquitous iPod has set the standard for mp3 players, however if you look at the competition there really are some great little mp3 players available. Sandisk have always produce great mp3 players, and the Sandisk Sansa Fuze 8GB is not exception.
24 hour battery life; Store up to 2000 songs (including subscription songs); Watch video clips; View Photos; 40 preset FM digital radio stations; Voice recorder; Expandable with micro SD/SDHC slot
This may be a small mp3 player, but it’s not small in features! Not only can you store up to 2000 songs on the Sansa Fuze MP3 player, but you can also insert your SD cards thus giving you limitless access to your entire music collection.
With 24 hour battery life, you have ample power to play your music, whether they are MP3s that you own, or WMA files downloaded from a legal subscription site such as Rhapsody or Napster.
The sound quality is excellent, especially when you link it via a AUX port to your stereo player, or my preference in the car! While the menus and system are perhaps not quite as intuitive as the iPod, the sound quality is just as good, and to me that is all that really matters.
Transferring files to the Sansa is fairly painless and intuitive, even when using iTunes and/or the subscription services. You have many options to sort the music, and can set up ‘favorite’ lists on the mp3 player.
While I don’t tend to store videos on the Sansa (you can store up to 5 hours of video) I tend to save my videos on SD cards, thus giving me the ability to playback the videos on the Sansa using the SD slot. Transferring directly to the Sansa is very easy, and uses the USB 2.0 standard, making the transfer pretty quick.
While the screen isn’t the largest available screen, I was surprised by the sharpness and quality – I’m not a great fan of watching movies on an mp3 player, but I can see this may be handy for long trips in the car.
The Sansa supports MPEG4 video, MP3 music, secure and unsecured WMA files, WAV, Audible and Overdrive files.
The Sansa comes with an in-built FM receiver and allows you to save up to 40 pre-sets. I found this to be the worst feature of the Sansa, and often had trouble finding radio channels – it was simply a nuisance to use and as I have a radio in the car, I never really used it – it’s probably useful when jogging, but I prefer listening to my audio books or mp3s!
This is actually a pretty useful feature and allows you to record fairly large voice recordings – I often use this when in meetings so that I can take minutes afterwards.
If you want something that is as cool and intuitive as the iPod Touch, then the Sansa is not for you. However, if you’re looking for a decent cheap mp3 player that has excellent sound quality, but has some minor issues then the Sansa is really worth looking at.
Some of the minor problems associated with the Sansa:
Connector – the Sansa comes with a non standard connector; this connector doubles as a power supply and if you want to charge without a computer you have to buy a separate power supply.
Firmware issues: occasionally, the mp3 player will ‘forget’ where you were in a song or track – while this isn’t a major issue for music, it can be really annoying when you are listening to a book. Similarly, when you plug the mp3 player into the PC, it forgets where you were.
Playlists – while it is possible to create your own playlists, it is pretty difficult to create them and at times difficult to use them. There are some pre-defined lists such as Artist, Song Names etc but if you have 2000 songs on the player these become very cumbersome.
Some things I like:
The sound quality is exceptional, even with low quality headphones.
It is expandable – this is really useful for me – I tend to reload songs quite often – so to save time I can preload several SD cards with the ‘lists’ I like and then switch them around often – this is like changing albums – the only difference is that the album has several hundred songs on it!
Subscription Music – I am a huge fan of Rhapsody and Napster, and having the ability to play these songs on the Sansa is brilliant – I essentially have access to millions of songs for a small monthly fee!
In summary, if you’re not one of those people that has to have the latest and coolest gadget, then the Sansa Fuze is perfect for you. It has similar sound quality to the iPod, is more versatile, expandable and cheaper! So you lose a bit of the cool factor, and it’s not quite as easy to use – but for me it’s all about the music!