Any suggestions to make touchpad use easier?

Long time Fuze (non-Plus) user, expected Plus to be an improvement, blah, blah; didn’t read the reviews in advance, same disappointment with touchpad as most others, yada, yada; good sound quality, great FM reception, except I can’t navigate the device, etc., etc. etc.

So, any practical suggestions for using the touchpad?  I -hate- touchpads, and my dislike isn’t limited to the Fuze+.  I have never met a touchpad I liked or could use effectively.  I seem to be too fumble-fingered to operate them.

I don’t have a problem with the menu system itself, just with getting around in it without constantly overshooting, mistakenly clicking multiple times, etc. Has anyone found a way to effficiently move up or down the radio frequency list?  Obviously I could repeatedly tap Up or Down, but scrolling seems beyond me.  Sometimes doing so will move up a single freq; the next time it will just ten or twelve stations.

Please, no additional complaints or Fuze (non-Plus) reminising; we’ve all read or posted them by now.  I’m looking specifically for ways to get value out of this purchase.


Oh, and I’ve already updated the firmware.  If it makes any difference, I use this device almost exclusively for FM reception and to playback podcasts, which I delete after hearing.  No music, no pictures, no video, no audio books, no SD cards, no docking or connecting to the car.

The only thing I can recommend is to try to Rockbox it.  There are some who tout it as a “wonder drug” for the Fuze+, however, I find it only marginally more useable and, as of late, buggy even compared to the OF.  If it were not for the horrendous implementation of the touchpad in the OF, I do not find the OF to be all that bad.  RB has its weaknesses when it comes to handling playback (i.e. when you complete playing a playlist or album in the OF,  you can repeat the playlist or album by simply pressing play which is handy when you’re on the highway and using your Fuze+ through your car stereo, RB automatically deletes the “Now Playing” dynamic playlist once its completed, you have to go back to the songlist to re-start playing it or, if the RB had turned itself off in the meantime, you have to go back through the Files or Database to get to the playlist or album you were just listening to, so if you’re using it in the car as mentioned with the OF, you either have to stop or risk an accident, the only workaround is that you set the playback to “Repeat All” before the Now Playing playlist finishes you can get by and RB thankfully has shortcuts to do that without much impact, the problem is you have to be aware you are getting to the end of the playlist and navigating the touchpad while driving can be an issue).

What does Rockbox do to make the touchpad easier to use?  Does it reduce the sensitivity, or improve the response time between tapping and screen refresh?  Will FM use be affected?

I won’t be using this device in the car, so that isn’t an issue.  I don’t use playlists or albums, strictly FM and podcasts only.


RB will allow you to adjust the senstivity of the touchpad.  RB also divides the touchpad into a 3x3 grid and adds other functionalities.  It also boots quicker than the original firmware, the OF slows down the more music you put on the player and adding a uSD card and filling that slows it even more.  RB eliminates the maximum number of files restriction that the OF has.  RB is actually still supporting the Fuze+, something Sandisk is not doing, I think the last Sandisk firmware upgrade was 2010 or 2011.

I have Rockbox’d my Fuze+. It is a lot faster than the OF. Boots in a few seconds and generally responds faster. The touch panel sensitivity can be adjusted. 

Well, I gave it a shot.  While it did improve the button sensitivity, I didn’t find the interface to my liking.  Each feature behaved differently.  I found the font to be too small for me to read easily, especially when exercising.  I really missed the original OS’s ability to adjust the volume while the other buttons were locked.  I can appreciate that Rockbox provides more functionality, but it was overkill for my minimal needs (FM radio and podcasts).

I had a bit of trouble uninstalling Rockbox using the management utility, but Google is our friend.  Apparently taking it off a Fuze+ is a common problem, so I was able to find plenty of references for getting it off.

Thanks for the suggestion.  I’ve decided I’ll get used to the original interface.  Despite the button sensitivity, I find it easier to use.

@caspencer wrote:

Well, I gave it a shot.  While it did improve the button sensitivity, I didn’t find the interface to my liking.  Each feature behaved differently.  I found the font to be too small for me to read easily, especially when exercising. 


This can be overcome by installing and using a different theme. There’s a lot of options that can be found here.

Thanks, but I don’t enjoy test driving themes, skins, color schemes, or similar customizations.

In this case I don’t know what criteria to use when selecting one from the list.  A lot of these look the same.  Obviously they’re not, but I don’t know how to determine the differences.  The explanations don’t tell me much; I don’t understand most of the references.  I don’t know what ALIEn or Acuity are, and I would assume an ‘FM Radio screen included’ on an FM-capable device; why is that worthy of mention?  Most of them seem to emphasize features of the device I wasn’t planning on using anyway - album art, play lists, etc.  Again, I’m just using the FM and podcasts that I’ll delete after a single playback.

Because I don’t know where to start, I download one at random, install it, reject it, and repeat the cycle.  I want to spend my time using the device, not skinning it.  Again, thanks anyway.  Maybe others will benefit from this discussion.

So I had to kill a couple of hours waiting on a service technician to arrive and thought I’d take another look at the themes that Tapeworm linked to.  I admit the sheer volume of choices intimidated me on my initial look.  This time I found a couple of things that made it easier to for me to thin the herd.

One thing I missed the first time was the each theme will preview a couple of the screens if you ‘mouse over’ its display.  I also missed the link for each theme that would show the same screens all at once.

Most of them include previews of the main menu screen.  Disappointingly, many of them have the same size font as the default Rockbox menu, which I found to be too small.

Query:  why the heck would anyone design a menu that apparently leaves out the FM radio?  I don’t know, but around half the themes don’t have it.  Since that’s most of my use, those themes were out.

Once I eliminated those that were either used a small font or didn’t have an FM option, I was left with one theme: ‘Fresh’.  I didn’t have any trouble reloading RB or selecting the theme.  Once loaded I notice a Font setting that let me enlarge the font size.  However, change it did not affect the status bar or its clock, volume, or battery displays.  I can get by without being able to see the volume, but I need the clock and battery status when I’m exercising.  The ‘Fresh’ page shows the status bar data as enlarged, but I couldn’t find a setting to do it.  I searched the Rockbox forums but couldn’t find any references to changing the size of the status bar or its icons.  (My inability to find anything doesn’t mean that information isn’t there somewhere.)

It may be that the font setting exists in the other themes, and that some of them have customizable status bars, but I only know what I can see in the samples.  That takes me back to test driving them at random, and there are other things I’d rather do with my time.

@caspencer wrote:

I had a bit of trouble uninstalling Rockbox using the management utility, but Google is our friend.  Apparently taking it off a Fuze+ is a common problem, so I was able to find plenty of references for getting it off.

Would you mind telling us the most helpful result(s)? Is uninstalling really as easy as described in I’m asking just in case I give Rockbox a try. Thank you.:heart:

Even easier.  Instead of reconnecting the USB cable, just hold down the ‘Vol -’ button while you power the device up.  Give it plenty of time; reinstalling the original firmware will take several minutes.  Then just boot it back up.

I didn’t see any side effects.  It’s about as harmless as a trial can be.  I’ve used commercial software that didn’t uninstall this cleanly.

Sorry that RB didn’t work out for you.  Like you, I find the interface of the original firmware to be very good, my only gripe is how it handles the touchpad.  If Sansa were to release the OF with no changes other than allowing users to select the sensitivity of the touchpad, I would give it a shot.  I am not a RB fanboy, as I said in my original reply it has some serious shortcomings as to how I use my Fuze+ and comparing it to the OF, but it is noticeably, yet marginally, easier to use the touchpad.  I had to increase the font sizes, too, to be able to see the menus when I am trying to drive and change menus.  The problem is that not all themes accomodate the larger fonts well.