After that little post about selecting an mp3 player, I decided to talk about the mp3 player I just bought, a Sansa e260. It has 4 GB capacity, and a number of nice features which I like and which set it apart from the competition. And its a not a fucking iPod, which everybody seems to be rockin' out to these days.
The first, most obvious feature is the mechanical jogwheel. The layout of the wheel and the surrounding buttons is reminicent of the first iPod, which, funnily enough, was similar in capacity - 5GB. But it was a LOT more expensive and a lot bigger. I got the e260 for $99 after a $30 rebate, whereas a Nano 4GB (which this player competes with) is always $199 from Apple.
The wheel works just like you think it should - it has no stop, and you can scroll it faster to go faster. Not adaptive, but it works well enough. The buttons surrounding the wheel are a different story. They are too small, almost countersunk, and are too close to the edge of the wheel, making them difficult to press and frustrating to use. The center button is big and easy to press.
Switching on the player, you are greeted with a nice Sandisk logo and it boots up relatively quickly. The iPod does boot up faster, but it is in a "sleep" mode, while the Sansa switches completely off when you press the power button. This means that the Sansa's battery will last longer if you put the player aside for long periods of time between uses.
The interface is very well laid out, pretty to look at, and easy to use. I have no complaints about it. What I do have a complaint with is the actual wheel and buttons - they are surprisingly cheap, compared to the rest of the player. They don't feel solid and there's a lot of play. When I was researching this model, I thought it was because all the units I had seen were display units, so they must get punished. But mine had cheap-feeling buttons right out of the box.
When you boot up the player for the first time, there's a pleasant surprise waiting for you - Sandisk has included about 20 songs on the player and my battery was half-full, so you can literally buy it, open it (if you can cut the hard-as-a-diamond packaging without sustaining multiple lacerations) and start rocking. The songs aren't half-bad either.
There is a much more comprehensive review here, so I'll just list my impressions.
I love the looks of the player, it looks very classy. Its thicker than the Nano, but its like comparing a pencil to a pen - both are thin enough to be pocketable. If you are interested, it is pretty much as thin as a Motorola SLVR as opposed to a Samsung Trace.
The front and back attract fingerprints, but not as much as a 1st Gen Nano. The video is a cool feature, but I've never used it and I don't plan to. On to the photos:
As you can see, it is a wee bit thicker than a Nano with a case.
Some of my peeves with it:
- The wheel and the buttons are surprisingly, damningly cheap. They feel cheap as hell.
- Playlists are only supported with WMP, in MTP mode. Fuck you, Sandisk.
- The FM radio uses the USB cord as an antenna. This is the first music player I've seen that doesn't use the earphone cord as the antenna.
- MTP mode with WMP10 isn't really that nice, I haven't tried it with WMP11.
- MicroSD slot is not available in MTP mode.
- MSC mode is OK, but the player takes ages to boot up after disconnecting it from USB. Luckily, it doesn't delay the database updating until you switch it on, it does it right after disconnecting the USB cable.
- Back and front are prone to fingerprints, but less so than the iPods.
Overall its a great player for the money, you would pay twice as much for the Nano if you catch this player on sale. Every mp3 player has issues. Oh, and it comes with a slipcover, which is great if you don't feel like paying $15.99 or whatever for one.