Thankfully, the Fuze doesn't make much of a palaver of integrating the memory card data with content held in the main memory. We filled our 4GB test player then slotted in an equally full 4GB Micro SDHC card in. The player took 20 seconds or so to get its act together and combine the two into a single media library. That figure will probably rise - a lot - when it comes to combining larger amounts of on-board and memory-card data, but as it only does this when a change is made to the media content rather than whenever the player is powered up, we reckon it's something users will learn to live with and i a small price to pay for the end benefit.
The Micro SD slot is recessed to just the right degree: easy to get your cards in and out, highly unlikely to be press by anything accidentally and spit cards out at inopportune moments.
Small but plenty of storage
Feature-wise the Fuze comes with an FM radio that lacks RDS but lets you pre-set your 40 favourite stations, and a voice recorder that's coupled to an excellent built-in microphone. You can set the duration of radio recordings to snag your favourite radio shows, which is a handy little feature. Recordings though are stored as WAV files, which seems a touch unnecessary. If you plan on recording anything of length make sure you have space in the internal memory as a ten-minute recording is going to take up about 55MB.
The user interface is a more-than-decent bit of design with very few flaws. The scrollwheel allows you the move through the straightforward menu structure without lag or delay, while basic navigation is aided by the presence of the 'home' button. Hit this key at any time and you're taken straight to the main menu. Hit it while you're looking at the main menu and it takes you to the Now Playing page. This is not exactly rocket science, but it isn't half useful.
When checking out the music menu, we were relieved to find that clicking on Artist took us to the list of each artist's albums rather than directly to the list of all his or her songs. Chalk one up for common sense!
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.