SanDisk Sansa Fuze
Small but perfectly formed
Review Even though SanDisk tells us the future of MP3 players is devoid of built-in storage...the future isn't here yet. The new Fuze player slots into the Sansa range and comes with either 2, 4 or 8GB of internal memory.
Measuring 78 x 48 x 8mm and weighing really not much at all - the spec sheet doesn't actually give a weight, and we don't having a set of apothecary's scales to hand – while also having with a 1.9in screen, the Fuze clearly has the perennial iPod Nano in its sights.
SanDisk's Sansa Fuze: impressive, most impressive
When you first get your paws on the Fuze it's hard not to be just a little impressed. The front of the player is made of a fine-looking glossy plastic with a fully flush screen, while the sides and back are in the same colour but with a matt finish making for a better grip.
The round control wheel – which actually spins – and select button are fabricated from a similar matt plastic giving the the Fuze the feel of a very high-quality product. Our review unit came in black, a colour that lends itself particularly well to the Fuze's design aesthetic.
External controls consist of said navigation wheel and 'home' button on the front, and an on/off/lock switch on the right side. At the bottom is a 3.5mm 'phones socket and the bespoke SanDisk USB port. The only other external feature is the most important" the Micro SDHC card slot on the left side.
That card slot is really what the Fuze is all about, its party trick being that it fully integrates any media held on the card with that held on the player. In effect, you aren't buying a 2, 4 or 8GB player but rather a machine that can be expanded by up to 8, 16 or - soon - 32GB.
Why should I have to cover the cost of semi-average headphones that I am never going to use???? At least if they are junk it is only adding a few pence to the cost of the player. If anything, I wish they didn't include any headphones!
sounds good to me
My old sansa takes forever to power up and refresh database and i had to replace the battery (once)....but that they made VERY easy.
Speaking of very easy...now if I could just try the controls....
IMHO, sounds very good
I had the pleasure of getting the Fuze for myself and it sounds a tad better than a nano a friend of mine has. Using the same headphones (we used a sennheiser px200), the fuze was, literally, music to my ears. However, what really impressed me was the memory expansion. I'm looking forward to Sandisk releasing the 16GB microsdhc card soon. A firmware update supporting OGG would be nice.
...and I'm a big fan of the Cowon range. If they do get good OGG/FLAC support, I might be looking at that to replace my loverly D2 (which has 8GB onboard + 16GB SDHC).
The drawbacks with the D2 at present are a slightly flaky database when it comes to indexing the OGG files and really, the device is overpriced - they tend to cost more than similar Apple offerings, and are less styley. Although they sound fabulous - I had great sound out of the box with the D2, and gave up on getting anything good out of the iPod, even with Rockbox and every kind of sound tweak tweaked. The D2 also takes forever to boot when the database needs updating, and it irks me that there isn't a setting for it to automatically resume the music after starting up (it does resume from the track you're playing, but you need to select the Music option and then hit Play).
Assuming the Sandisk offering sounds as good a Cowon beastie, the price is definitely right, it doesn't look fugly, so it'd definitely be an option worth looking into.
..an updated version of my E265. Great player, I would second all the positives you noted. From the review it seems they have cured the only fly in the ointment of the earlier player, the start up time. On my older model, every time it is turned on it refreshes the audio database which means it can take 10 secs or more before the device is usable. If this has been sorted then I will certainly consider a purchase.