Sandisk Sansa Fuze 4GB MP3 Player

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Product(s): Sandisk Sansa Fuze
Provided By: Sandisk

Price:


Introduction: 

My initial impression of the Sansa Fuze in one word: "San-sational".  Sleek and sturdy - shiny and sharp - this unit is a step forward in Sandisk's line of mp3 players.

 

First Impressions:

Upon carefully cutting open the nearly indestructible packaging and removing the contents, I was initially struck by the Fuze's deceptively light weight.  Feather light, yet hefty enough to impress durability; the unit felt like it could stand up its fair share of wear and tear.  Featuring a lean plasto-metallic frame, a slick rubber navigation wheel and, a smart color T.F.T. screen, the player's solid construction walks the line between well-built and attractive.

Sansa Package Front
Sansa Fuze - Packaging Front
Back Of Package
Sansa Fuze - Packaging Rear

Sansa Scale
Sansa Fuze - Front View
4GB China
Sansa Fuze - Back View
 

 
Powered On
Sansa Fuze - Powered On
Top And Bottom
Sansa Fuze - Top and Bottom View

Right And Left
Sansa Fuze - Side View
Bundle
Sansa Fuze - Accessories


All right, enough with the scratch-and-sniff, touch-and-taste test.  How does the player actually play?  Let's find out.

 

 


Sandisk Fuze Specifications:

Powered On

 

Sandisk Fuze Specifications:

Features

  • Sleek, thin design with large 1.9" TFT color screen for easy viewing
  • Strong alloy metal casing provides excellent durability and scratch resistance
  • Simple to use, backlit controls for fast device interface navigation
  • User replaceable and rechargeable Lithium Ion battery for up to 24 hours of battery life (Battery Life Based on Continuous, Standard Playback, 128 Kb MP3 file)
  • Features microSD™ expansion slot for additional memory capacity
  • Digital FM tuner, on-the-fly FM recording, and voice recording
  • Plays videos, photos, and audio books in addition to music.
  • One year warranty

 

 

Minimum System Requirements

  • Windows XP SP2
  • Windows Media Player 10+
  • Intel Pentium class PC+
  • USB 2.0 Port (required for hi-speed transfer)
  • CD-ROM Drive
  • Internet Access

 

Sandisk Sansa Fuze Testing and Comparison:

 

Testing:

Music Playback:   Operating the Fuze is straightforward and easy thanks to the rubber navigation wheel which doubles as a scroll wheel and a four-zone pressable button.  Navigating the cursor and controlling the volume is done by spinning the wheel while skipping and back-skipping tracks, pausing and playing tracks, and selecting menu choices is done by depressing the wheel and interior button.  Although I initially thought that this dual function would cause a lot of accidental mis-navigation I have found the opposite to be true.  The sensitivity of the wheel is just right and I have yet to play a song by mistake or blast my ears off by accidentally cranking the volume.

Sansa Scale
Sansa Fuze - Comparison
Powered On
Sansa Fuze - Powered On


In addition to the wheel and interior button, the included "home" button allows for quick navigation back to the main menu.

 

Right And Left
Sansa Fuze - Side View
Top And Bottom
Sansa Fuze - Top and Bottom View

Audio quality is good; standard and customizable EQ settings are available to those who have a particular sound in mind.

Menu 2
Sansa Fuze - Settings
Custom EQ
Sansa Fuze - EQ


In addition to playing music, this unit can play videos, display photos, play and record FM radio, and record voice notes.

Photo and Video Playback:

As with prior Sansa models; video must be converted to QuickTime via the included "Sansa Media Converter" software.  Some pictures must also be converted however most of the .JPG album art that I have loaded has shown up just fine.  I personally do not use the video and photo features very much but it is good to know that the features are there as both can come in handy in.

Menu 4
Sansa Fuze - Music
Album Art
Sansa Fuze - Cover Art


Menu 3
Sansa Fuze - Photos
Menu 6
Sansa Fuze - Videos


Other Features:

Along with the usual features (clock - audio EQ - rate songs - repeat songs - shuffle songs) is the newly added, and infinitely useful, "delete song" function which allows you to delete songs on the fly, useful for getting rid of songs that you are sick of hearing or b-side tracks that you never liked in the first place.  (Sorry Mr.Diamond but I've already heard "Sweet Caroline" ten million times)

Delete On Player
Sansa Fuze - Delete Song?
Custom EQ
Sansa Fuze - EQ


Connectivity:

Plugged In Sync
Sansa Fuze - Connected
USB Modes
Sansa Fuze - USB Modes


Using the simple drag-and-drop method, loading content is quick and easy however there are users who may need to change their Fuze's USB transfer mode from "AutoDetect" to "MSC".  Fortunately, this is easily done:

  1. Power on player
  2. Enter "Settings"
  3. Enter "System Settings"
  4. Enter "USB Mode"
  5. Change from default setting ("AutoDetect") to "MSC"
  6. Power off player and connect to PC.

 

If this change is not carried out some users may find that Windows is unable to recognize the unit.  I experienced this problem on my XP Home SP3 Acer Aspire One;  Upon doing a quick Google search I found that I was not the only one.  Although some users may have to go through some minor troubleshooting before they can actually use their new player, it is fortunate that this problem has a simple solution.

 

 

Battery Replacement:

Featuring the power/hold slider and the microSD slot and microphone respectively, the right and left sides of the player are almost as featureless as the top and back of the player, both of which feature no screw heads or access markings whatsoever.

According to Sandisk's tech help, the internal lithium polymer battery/s in the Sansa Fuze is non-replaceable. Apparently you just kinda' toss it when the battery quits holding a charge! This bothers me that an expensive high-tech device like this with 8 GB of memory has to be thrown away as a result of a dead battery. I suppose Sandisk figures that in a couple of years or so, most users are tired of it, or that its technology will be so antiquated that nobody will care. It's sad that we look at a device like this as "disposable"!

 

 

 

Because the Fuze is similar to the Sansa e200 series, it seems useful to compare this unit to its predecessor (Read our Review of the Sansa e270 Here).  As a fan of the e200 series, I thought those of you who also enjoyed the e200 series may be wondering how this unit stacks up

e200 Series Comparison:

Although the units share many similarities there are also a few differences which sets the Fuze apart, some of which are improvements, some of which are not.


Improvements:

  • Screen is slightly larger and is viewed landscape as opposed to portrait.
  • Better value
  • Ability to delete songs on the fly
  • Improved button-scroll combination navigation wheel.

 

Things that are missing:

  • No independent record button.
  • Battery access?

 

Sandisk Sansa Fuze Final Thoughts:

Because of the quality of the Sansa Fuze, this review has almost written itself. Like the e200 series before it, this unit is very well designed and has excellent features: Great sound, attractive screen, easy-to-use interface, durable case, robust battery, quality microphone, and other great functions. I have been consistently demoing this unit since I received it and I have found it to be fantastic overall.

Although I tried my best to find faults in the name of objectivity I was able to come up with only a handful of rather minor complaints, some of which are due to personal preference. With exception to the non-replaceable battery, my objections are really quite particular. Those who (amazingly) do not share my views will not agree with many of my complaints. There will be users who don't care about how the Fuze sits in the pouch. There will be users who prefer a sliding power switch over a traditional push button. There will be users who do not use the record function and therefore do not want an independent record button. To these users the Fuze will appear to be almost perfect.

In the end I have decided to award the Sansa Fuze our "Editor's Choice" award by virtue of it's high-quality design and features. The great things about the Fuze are great; the not-so-great things about the Fuze are trivial.

 

Pros:

  • Ability to delete songs on the fly.
  • Great battery life
  • Competitively Priced
  • Easy to Use

 

Cons:

  • Travel pouch holds player upside down, clutter gets in
  • Power slider - cannot just turn on while in pouch, have to remove

 

BCCRating

 

 Editors Choice

I'd like to thank Sandisk for sending us the Sandisk Sansa Fuze. If you have any questions, comments, or general feedback, please leave it at the "Comments" link below.