SanDisk Sansa Fuze

Hey there, Nano killer! The Sansa Fuze has its sights set on Apple's skinny player, but comes up a little short. Still, with its extra features and ease of use, it's one to put on the shortlist.

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Looking at the design of the Sansa Fuze, it's obvious which MP3 player it's setting its competitive sights on. The slim, credit card-sized form factor, the scroll wheel and the dock connector on the base all scream "iPod Nano", but there are enough distinctions to keep Steve Jobs from speed dialling Apple's patent infringement lawyers on his iPhone.

First up, the scroll wheel rotates mechanically rather than being touch-sensitive, and its perimeter is backlit in blue. Unlike the ridged and uncomfortable wheel found on Sansa's e200 series, the Fuze's wheel is smooth and thumb-friendly and rotates with nary a snag.

At the top-right of the wheel is a small circular Home button which instantly reels you back to the graphic-driven main menu regardless of what sub-layer you're in. A microSD slot and teeny mic sit on the player's left side, while the right side hosts a combo power/hold switch. As with the Nano, headphones and a proprietary USB cable get plugged into sockets on the bottom of the player.

As for the all-important size comparisons, the Nano is 6.5 millimetres thick, 69.8 millimetres tall and 52.3 millimetres wide, while the Fuze is an elongated, slightly less emaciated 7.6 by 78.7 by 48.3 millimetres. Though it may seem disadvantageous, the Fuze's heavier weight — 59.5 grams against the Nano's 49.2 grams — gives the player a sturdier, more robust feel. In other words, it's not likely to get busted if sat on by a hefty buttock or two.

Where the Fuze trumps Apple's offerings is in its features list. Sansa's player sports an FM radio, voice recorder and a microSD expansion slot — and all this is available at a lower price than the RRP of the equivalent-capacity Nanos. Apple's players retail at AU$189 for the 4GB model and AU$249 for the 8GB version, while the sassy Sansa undercuts Jobs and Co at AU$180 and AU$233.

Letdowns arrive in the form of a plain-Jane radio interface and non-customisable menus. Fondly recalling the features of the similarly slim Samsung T10, we would have liked to have seen the ability to change font sizes as well as having more than four wallpaper colours to choose from.

With its matte metallic back, glossy front and glowing wheel, the Fuze stacks up well against the Nano in the style stakes. It's only when you turn it on that the shortcomings start to surface. The 224x176-pixel, 1.9-inch display doesn't compare favourably with the Nano's 320x240, 2-inch version. Text has jagged edges and images look like they've been attacked by the pixelation monster. It's not intolerable — the main menu looks quite good — but photos and videos look much better on the Nano.

The graphic-driven main menu is cute, and the moving scroll wheel makes it easy to plough through long lists of songs. It's a shame, though, that the blocky text menus don't measure up to the smooth contours of the Fuze's outer shell.

The earphones that come with the player are also pretty cheapo. The foam padding gives a nails-on-a-chalkboard feel when you put the big buds in your ears, and the cable is quite flimsy. We'd recommend swapping them out for a higher quality set — they'll be comfier and your music will sound better. Even just switching to another pair of earbuds made a difference for us, with less distortion at higher volumes.

With its extra features and reasonable price, the Fuze is a decent alternative to the Nano, but does feel less polished overall. If you're not bothered by displays that are on the blocky side, it's one to add to the shortlist when you go shopping for your next flash-based player.

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jake posted a comment   

how can i download sansa 8gb..a song without sandisk memory use?


hero posted a review   

The Good:video, audio, msd, structure

The Bad:support, munuals, help

i have had my sansa fuze v.2 refurbished for 6 months from woot.comfor $40 US. i am very hard on my electronics and i am going to say that i am impressed with the structural build of the sansa. the sansa lasted 5months before i broke the screen but it still works. i am notorious for braking my headphones from catching the wire on door handles and such but all that the sansa has gotten from me going through 3 headphones while owning it is a chip on the plastic port. i have dropped it many times and the only thing that does not meat my standards is the screen. i am assuming i broke it by applying to much pressure to the frame of the case, and with such a large screen i can give it a 7/10 credit for not breaking sooner. this leads me to say that for all the people who buy this on line for cheaper than retail that it is a good buy and if there is something wrong with it i would say it is probably the sellers fault.


CC posted a comment   

Why would you use the Sansa Fuze for videos? It's not designed for videos. You should do your research before you buy a product. Shame on YOU!


bugman posted a comment   

The Good:1. cheap 2. awesome sound quality 3. integraetd expandable micro sd (potentially 32gb when its out) 4. functionality (voice recording and FM radio)

The Bad:1. video

For people looking for a genuine music player, in my opinon, this is one of the best around. It has great soudn quality, the potential to store 48gb of musc (16gb + 32gb micro sd when its out) and contains decent figures such as FM radio and voice recording.

however, if you are after something which can play video as well, this is definately not for you. Its small screen and poor video contrast makes video playback nothing more than a gimick.

Overall, for me, this mp3 player has everything i need and is perfect


monomach posted a review   

The Good:Great sound quality, big set of features

The Bad:Sure, the video is weak, but I got it for the sound

The Nano is dead, folks. Long live the Fuze.


jomdipera posted a review   

The Good:I got the stupid thing on sale so I paid less for this piece of trash.

The Bad:The videos I try to download from Youtube freeze half way through through the porcess.
The volume is inconsistent from genre to genre--I had to crank the volume to hear a podcast, and about went deaf when a song I didn't upload but mysteriously appeared played next.
It takes forever to find an answer to your problems online. Whatever happened to manuals?!

I'm an old biddy (49) and I think my Sansa Fuze sucks.


CAG23HOOVER posted a reply   



SLH posted a review   

The Good:audiophile sound quality, expandability, auto resume for all audiobooks, plays lossless, microsd integrates with main memory (shame on you creative).

The Bad:crappy video

This thing is amazing, excellent sound stage, plenty of power for big cans, expandable memory.. I don't use it for video's so I don't care about the screen, I just wanted it for the SQ. Which it delivers. In spades. Forget Cowon and ipods at twice the price, in fact, I would still buy the fuze if it were the same price as a nano. Simply better sound quality.


Agnostic posted a review   

The Good:1. Great sound quality.
2. Flac/Ogg support.
3. Small
4. Micro SD slot
5. Regular firmware updates adding significant new functionality.
6. Did I mention amazing sound quality?

The Bad:1. Video functionality apparently sucks but I don't use it for that.
2. Latest firmware still has a few bugs.

This is the best sounding DAP I have ever heard. It blows the Ipod 5G Video out of the water even if it's amped from line out by a high quality portable amp. Soundstage is amazing, it's incredibly well balanced, dynamics are great, separation is good, detail is very good and not artificially enhanced by lack of bass/treble aggression. I'd call this audiophile quality sound.

Genetic JPz

Genetic JPz posted a review   

The Good:EVERYTHING! The scroll wheel is great it never freezes up, and the nano says its battery life is 24 hours, when I had it 7 hours. The sansa fuze says 24 hours, but it lasted 35 hours. The sound quality is extremely amazing.

The Bad:NOTHING! People may complain about the screen, but if your just going to listen to music only it's perfect.

OH YEAH! It is THE best mp3 player ever made.

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User Reviews / Comments  SanDisk Sansa Fuze

  • jake


    "how can i download sansa 8gb..a song without sandisk memory use?"

  • hero



    "i have had my sansa fuze v.2 refurbished for 6 months from woot.comfor $40 US. i am very hard on my electronics and i am going to say that i am impressed with the structural build of the sansa. the..."

  • CC


    "Why would you use the Sansa Fuze for videos? It's not designed for videos. You should do your research before you buy a product. Shame on YOU!"

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