Here’s a picture of my latest toy:
After many years of faithful service, my iPod Color Photo started to die. The battery wouldn’t hold a charge for very long and the click-wheel started to misbehave by not responding when pressed. Being unable to afford a new iPod, I looked around for alternatives and found a review of the Sansa Fuze on anythingbutipod.com.
The review suggests that it is a very good player (as did a couple of others that I googled). As I also found a very good price for it on Amazon, I opted for the 8Gb model which was duly purchased and delivered – even though it doesn’t currently support gapless playback (essential for my type of music – ye olde proge rocke). This seemed like a minor inconvenience if the Fuze sounded as good as the review said and for the expandability offered by the inclusion of a MicroSD/SDHC slot (this means I’ll later be able to turn an 8Gb player into a 24Gb or even 40Gb one with ease). It also has a built in FM radio, voice recording and can play video!
SanDisk have said that a firmware update will eventually bring gapless support for the supported file types (mp3, ogg, flac, wma, etc – but no AAC) so I can make do with the gaps for a while. A Rockbox port for the Sansa Fuze is also in the works so that could be called upon to solve the gapless issue (and add support for my iTunes files) should SanDisk delay for too long.
Anyhow, it is a very compact and robust player. It is very easy to use (just drag and drop files to it via USB) and it automatically generates a library of your music. The menu system is very easy to navigate with a wheel that actually spins (none of this touch-sensitive stuff) and the sound absolutely blew me away.
Overall it’s better than the iPod by a long way. Maybe not as hip and trendy or as iconic but it is a better player. I’m already casting my gaze over the Fuze’s bigger sibling, the Sansa View, which looks to have much better support for video. But that’s a gadget that’s a long way in the future for now the Fuze is enough to keep my socks well and truly knocked-off.