Tuesday, November 23, 2010

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Holiday 2010 Review: SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ MP3 Player & slotRadio Cards

Being a gadget nut, I was super excited when I learned I was going to be able to try and test the SanDisk Sansa Fuze+. The very first thing you notice when you open the package is the Sansa Fuze's sleek and compact design. The unit fits nicely in the palm of your hand and is roughly the size of a small mobile phone. The screen is sharp, bright, and large in comparison to the overall size. The face is perfectly flush; the screen blends into the touchpad seamlessly. The touch interface is VERY sensitive and requires a small learning curve to get the hang of it. Although frustrating at first, once you spend a few minutes practicing you will appreciate the sensitivity.

The Fuze+ comes with ear bud style headphones and a USB cable for recharging and connecting to your PC to transfer media. The headphones are BIG, they just barely fit in my giant ears. As large as they are, they still managed to be comfortable and weren’t an issue after extended use. The sound is clear and sharp. The Fuze+ has various pre set audio settings as well as a customizable equalizer so you can fine tune the sound to fit your taste. I was surprised how much bass the Fuze+ could produce.

Overall I was very impressed with the Sansa Fuze+ and its functionality. I like it at least as much as my iPod Nano and in some ways more. It is definitely a better looking and sleek device and the built in digital radio is a huge feature (my Apple requires a separate adaptor to play radio).

As much as I loved the Fuze+ unit itself, I did have some significant issues with my experience. I have yet to transfer any media to the device. My entire review is based on preloaded music on a separate SanDisk slotRadio card, I was unable to transfer my own music to the device. The Fuze+ was not always recognized when hooked up to my Windows Vista based PC and often turned off when connected. I was able to download some updating software from SanDisk that offered a firmware update hoping this would correct my problem. After 3 separate attempts I was unable to complete the firmware update (never advancing past 50%).

I attempted to transfer files to the device manually only to have various issues including endless clocking and unrecognized files after the transfer. The included SanDisk conversion software was also a disappointment. I attempted to convert a 25 minute animated video file to the Sansa Fuze+ format using the provided utility and was also not able to progress past 49%.

Even with the connection and format issues the SanDisk Sansa Fuze is a great sounding and sexy MP3 player. The controls are sensitive and easy to use once you get going. The preloaded slotRadio cards that are offered separately offered me 1000 songs to keep me listening for hours. BUT, as much as I love my Fuze+, I would warn anybody purchasing one to be prepared for connection issues and maybe a few calls to support. If it weren’t for the preloaded slotRadio card I would not have enjoyed the Sansa Fuze+ as much. Until these issues are corrected, I would not recommend this MP3 player to anybody who has only basic PC ability.

To learn more abou the Sansa Fuze+, visit SanDisk.com . This 4GB MP3 player currently retails for $79.99 and is available in 5 colors. You can also find the Fuze+ in 8GB and 16 GB models for a slightly higher cost. View the full selection of SanDisk slotRadio Cards on Shop.SanDisk.com .

I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of SanDisk and received the SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ and VH1 slotRadio Card to facilitate my review.