The Sansa Fuze is the latest MP3 player from the memory giants – SanDisk. The first thing that you notice about this device is the glossy finish to the front of the MP3 player and the back of the Sansa Fuze has a grippy, rubberised back which makes it feel secure in your hand and provides a nice design contrast to the front.
The Fuze features an iPod-like wheel interface, however the wheel is rubber and actually spins – I’ve found this to be a great method of controlling the Sansa Fuze, it allows for precise control and the sense of real feedback in operation. It feels remarkably good in use – in fact, I prefer this to the touch control on my iPod Classic as I’m always finding myself moving one option too far in the menus on the iPod.
It has a 2GB capacity which isn’t bad for a device that is priced around the £50 price mark – however the real defining good point of this device is that you can then expand this capacity by using a cheap Micro SD memory card in the slot on the side of the device. A nifty little feature from a company who are one of the most well known memory card manufacturers!
What then further impressed me was that it is hot-swappable – this was a pleasant surprise as I was expecting to have to shut the device down, insert the card and turn back on – but oh no, instead all I had to do was insert the Micro SD card, it spent a few seconds updating the list of media after which it was ready for use!
Now I’m not somebody who really ever listens to radio stations if I can possibly help it as I have a general dislike of DJs (one reason why I have mp3 players in the first place), but I know a lot of people do like to be able to listen to their favourite radio station while on the move – with the Sansa Fuze you can do this with the built-in FM Radio. It scans through the frequencies and picks up any stations that are in the area, a useful feature if it’s something you’re looking for.
Video Playback is surprisingly good for a device with such a small screen. I doubt you’ll ever really want to watch movies on this size of screen, but to watch a music video or a short TV show, it would be perfectly acceptable. You do need to go to SanDisk website and download a free video converter and use this software to convert your videos to the required format used on the Sansa Fuze, but this seems to work well in operation.
The Voice Recorder function uses the built-in microphone – this will make for a perfect little Dictaphone device for a bloggers like me when interviewing people, a great alternative to using another device, particularly if your mobile phone doesn’t have this option.
I’m a big fan of Podcasts, on this device they can be found under the music menu rather than having their own menu option like there are for Music, Videos, Radio – it took me a while to figure this one out, but once you know it’s not like it’s a problem. I found the confusion came from when copying files onto the device, there is a separate podcast folder, like there is a separate folder for music and another for videos. That would suggest a similar set up in the menus, but there isn’t. Like I said not a big issue, it just took a bit of finding to begin with, but then you’re good!
Overall, I think this is a great little media player which comes in at a very reasonable price and compares favourably with the iPod Nano and is available in 5 different colours – blue, red, pink, black or silver. Given the low prices of memory these days, it means you can buy the SanDisk Sansa Fuze 2GB version for around £55, plus another £18 for an 8GB memory card – so for less than £75 you can have a feature-rich and stylish 10GB MP3 player – now that’s pretty impressive!
• Plays videos, music, photos and audio books*
• Digital FM radio
• Voice recording with built-in microphone
• Bright 1.9” screen
• Up to 24 hours for audio playback and 5 hours of video playback with internal rechargeable battery**
• microSD™/microSDHC™ slot for additional content expansion
• Music subscription ready
• 1 Year Limited Warranty
• Dimensions: 3.1 x 1.9 x 0.3 in. (HxWxD)
Minimum System Requirements:
• Windows® XP or Vista
• Linux and Mac OS (under MSC mode)
• Windows Media Player® 10 or 11
• CD-ROM drive (For all regions except US)
• USB 2.0 high power port required for Hi-Speed transfer and charging