There are two issues with battery life / indication. I have the joy of suffering both (nash).
the battery gets to 50%, then within 30mins the unit is dead. Most likely a firmware / calibration issue so should be fixable. If it’s a battery / hardware issue then the units could run into big problems down the line. Li-* can be a funny technology, especially if allowed to go fully flat. Dead has a very literal meaning.
Ogg Vorbis playback has screwed the pooch. This is also a problem on the Nokia N900 super phone (oops, smart phone / *nix pocket PC)
provided the post isn’t sanitized the following is a bit of research done by someone else:
Search ‘n900 nokia libvorbis ffmpeg’ under your favourite brand search engine and it should be the first hit.
This is pretty promising as it states that using the libvorbis decoder you lose about 40% battery life, using ffmpegs vorbis decoder you gain about 2% (lets call it equal with mp3 for the sake of argument).
It being promising is based on Sandisk being hoopy froods who really know where their towels are at and get their fingers out, suck some nourishment, and fix the decoder. And, if that doesn’t make sense, well never mind.
I’ve just done a test against Meat Loaf Bat 1, Bat 2, and the mild insult to Jim Steinman - Bat 3.
Vorbis encoded to 192 VBR (q6)
MP3 encoded to 128 VBR (v5)
MP3 encoded to 192 VBR (v2)
Playing the MP3 128 kb/s tracks (admittedly just the tracks in alphabet order as the playlists & tags were AWOL) I used a whole 2% battery after 9 tracks (~40 mins playback). Taking the units is dead at 50% into account this does actually equate to ~15hr playback (adjust 2% to 4 - 5 % battery use).
Playing the Vorbis back I lose about 2% per track (~6 mins) which comes to around 3 hours (I’m getting about 4.5hrs total playback time in previous straight runs). So this actually tallies. Yep, my whole collection is in vorbis, and I ain’t switching to MP3. Na, ah. They support vorbis on the tin, so they can properly support it in the device.
I already have a complaint / whining about product session open with Sandisk so this will be passed on to them (I will also start an Ogg specific thread to see what other people find).