Gadgetell Review: SanDisk Sansa Fuze+

Sections: Audio, Features, Originals, Portable Audio, Portable Video, Reviews, Video

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SanDisk Sansa Fuze+

Recently, I have been able to spend a few weeks trying out SanDisk’s latest MP3 player, the Sansa Fuze+, which replaced the two year old SanDisk Sansa Fuze. I have not used the original Sansa Fuze, so I cannot comment on any notable differences, but I am thoroughly impressed with the Sansa Fuze+. A few weeks ago, you may have read my unboxing post, where I mentioned a locking mechanism is not available. However, I stand corrected as there is a simple way to lock the device, albeit not by pressing a button, but by holding down the play/pause touch button.

What is it?

The SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ comes in a variety of models and colors. In terms of models, customers can choose from a 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB unit, and it costs $79, $89 and $119, respectively. The review Fuze+ I received is the purple 8GB model. In terms of colors, black i s available across all three units, white and purple are only available in the 8GB model, red is only available in the 4GB model, and blue is available in the 4GB and 8GB model. The Sansa Fuze+ handles a variety of audio, video, and picture formats such as: MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC/M4A, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Audible, Secure WMA, H.264, MPEG-4, WMV, JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, and PNG. Lastly, it features a 2.4 inch QVGA LCD screen, FM radio, and voice recorder capabilities.

The Good

The Apple iPod is undoubtedly the most popular MP3 player, but many people prefer inexpensive alternatives to the iPod such as SanDisk devices. The SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ is a great device for people who want a cheaper alternative to the iPod that still comes with many important features.

The Sansa Fuze+ features 8GB of storage, which is more than enough to store my music library and several videos, and in case 8GB is not enough, it also comes with a microSD slot for memory expansion up to 32GB. For me, simplicity is a must, and transferring my music library to the Sansa Fuze+ was a simple task that only took a short period of time. It is also important to note the Sansa Fuze+ supports SlotRadio cards, which are microSD cards created by SanDisk that feature preloaded music of select genres. Putting videos on the Fuze+ takes a little more time and patience, as you need to download a free, proprietary video converter from SanDisk online. After that, all you have to do is let the converter do the work and transfer the video to the device.

Battery life on the MP3 player is definitely a strong point, as it boasts a 24 hour audio life and 5 hours when playing video. It easily gets through the work week on a single charge, which is nice because I don’t have to remember to keep charging it.

The FM radio, a feature found commonly on MP3 players, is easy to use and it allows you to save pre-set stations. In addition, you can record music from the radio and replay it at a different time. Similarly, the device features a voice recorder, which is a great way to capture audio and listen to it later in time.

I mentioned earlier in the review I mentioned how the Sansa Fuze+ supports a variety of formats, and then is definitely a strength of the device. No matter what format your music library is in, chances are it is supported by the SanDisk player.

Lastly, SanDisk really tried to improve upon the User Interface in the Fuze+ and I believe they created a winner. The UI is really easy to navigate and users new to SanDisk should have no problem with it. It conveniently lays out all the different menu settings and it even combines various album art to create the background image.

The Bad

One of the few complaints I have about the device is its revamped “invisible touch screen.” Basically, below the screen is a directional pad except you slide your finger up/down and right/left to navigate through the menu. Sometimes it will over scroll because you swiped too hard, and sometimes it takes a while to move down a list. Personally, I’m a fan of click wheels and not this type of capacitive touch.

Final Thoughts

With so many smartphones and feature phones able to play music, MP3 player innovation has practically halted. In case you still prefer having a standalone MP3 player and do not wish to purchase an expensive iPod, you should definitely consider the SanDisk Sansa Fuze+. My only complaint is its touch navigation, but that is only because I prefer a device with buttons.

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  • ericchole

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  • Charity

    I'm wondering if you can access the songs on the external card along with the internal memory. I recently got a Philips crappy mp3 with expandable memory, but you can't shuffle or search for songs on the meory card–only songs in the internal memory. Could you imagine having 32 GB of songs you couldn't shuffle or organize in anyway? Just a long list? Well, I want this Sansa but I don't want to make the same mistake. Can you tell me more about how it uses the external memory? Thanks.