some people expect working hardware for their money. If you have some money to waste, good for you. Others are not so lucky.
the hardware does work, It works perfectly fine. I got mine for Christmas. I don’t have money to waste.
The hardware does work…kinda.
If you don’t have an SD card OR if you can store all of your music on the SD card, the hardware works fine. However if you need to mix an SD card in with internal memory, the Fuze + really falls flat on it’s ass.
Here are some legitimate beefs about the new “better” fuze.
- Slow boot time. Even if there is no change in files the Fuze + takes nearly 3 to 4 times as long to boot as the original fuze.
- Sluggish UI: When mixing internal data and external SD card data the pause between submenus (such as going between “albums” and “tracks” is tremendous (nearly 15 seconds in my usage) and since there is no “tactile” feedback, you don’t know whether the swipe “took” and you are waiting, or if the swipe was missed.
Touch pad is overly sensitive and can’t be adjusted. Using the touchpad with a thumb is terribly inprecise, this makes one handed operation almost impossible. It’s better to use two hands, one to hold the fuze+ and one to swipe with your index finger. This is better because the index finger is more precise, but is a pain to use two hands.
Long standing features of the original Fuze are absent, (such as folder browsing and wrap around menus). These are features that were eventually added to the original Fuze through subsequent firmware upgrades but had no business missing during the initial build of the “enhanced” fuze
- Jumpy scrolling down lists, especially the “albums” list and “rhapsody channels” list. The “album” list gets smoother after all the “album” art is converted and copied into the small.jpg folder created by the Fuze+ but Rhapsody Channels never scroll smoothly and taps up and down are required to avoid overshooting of a channel.
- Very hard to use in the dark. I like to power up my player and put it into sleep mode prior to going to bed. This is very easy on the original fuze as the controls had plenty of tactile feedback and you could navigate your device with no other light in the room. On the Fuze+ there is no illumination of the touch pad, and the touch pad requires precise finger placement. This makes the unit very hard to use in low light conditons. I often have to turn on my table lamp to use my Fuze+… The unit is completely inadequate in low light conditons.
- Player lock function not up to par. At first it was enabled by the touchpad and often would unlock while in the pocket. Now, with the latest firmware it’s enabled and disabled using the power on button, which is great, but the “locked” message now totally takes up the screen and prevents you from reading track information…Not so great. In the original fuze, it would display that the lock is enabled, but would clear so that track information could be read while the player was locked. Not so with the Fuze +
- Fit and Finsih, build quality. The Fuze + is much lighter and feels less solid than the Fuze+ The unit is lighter and just does not feel as substantial. Also it tends to flex more. The Fuze feels and just seems to be built out of higher quality materials.
- Under powered CPU. I was shocked to hear that the “enhanced” fuze uses slower hardware than the original fuze. This causes some of the lagginess and sluggish response when navigating the appliance. Getting underpowered hardware in a “plus” unit doesn’t seem much like a “plus” to me.
Now to be fair, here are some brilliant things about the Fuze+
- USB transfer rate. The unit is smoking fast when transferring to internal memory. Transfers to the SD card are limited by the SD Card’s class, so we cant fault the player for that. However, transfer speeds to the main memory are smoking, and for that we thank you.
- Rhapsody transfer speed: Along with the increase transfer rate, appears a much faster channel update and track download speed to the unit via Rhapsody. This is welcome, especially for us Rhapsody users. We can now download more channels and more tracks in less time. Always a bonus.
- Cool UI. While the touchscreen is laggy, the actual UI is pretty fresh looking and looks abit like the zune. Nice update from the drab utilitarian look of the original Fuze.
Larger DB capactity. Boasting over 10000 entries, this limit is 20% greater than my FuzeV2, and unlike the original firmware on the FuzeV2, this unit can enumerate all of the content on my SD card.
Better Video support as in more file types supported natively and larger screen.
In short, many users upgraded from their current Fuze to the new Fuze+ expecting an enhanced experience and got instead several steps backwards. There is no doubt that the unit has a flashier more modern look, plus a new “flashy” touch pad for navigation. It’s great on paper but fails somewhat on execution.
How much of this can be corrected via firmware remains to be seen, but it’s not too much to expect the unit to have all the old functionality of the latest Fuze firmware out of the box. that was not delivered. Consider the difference between the Clip and Clip+. In this case nearly everything about the Clip+ is better than the original Clip. The clip+ also brought some serious upgradability to the family by supporting MicroSD cards. The UI is untouched and despite some minor button layout changes the unit operates identically to it’s predicessor with the addition of MicroSD expandibility.
Fuze owners expected more from their “plus” device. Better Video Support is welcome, but the number of ommisions from the original Fuze are just head scratchers.
For me the original Fuze is the “Pinacle” of Sansa players. It has a great performance/price ratio. It has a high quality build, and it has common sense, tactile controls that are easy to use in all light conditions. I am so in love with this device I bought a 4 GB “backup” just so I have a ready spare player in case my existing Fuze dies an untmely death.
Since Rockbox is available for the Fuze (V1 and V2 models) I have reverted back to the original Fuze Hardware:
Rockbox allows me to customize my skins, which beats the drab Fuze UI.
Rockbox does amazingly fast Database updates.
Rockbox has better “shuffle” UI and also has a “Random” feature which I can choose a Random Artist, Genre, Album etc, and it will queue up a random artist/genre/album and allow me to play it. A great way for my player to “pick for me” when I don’t quite know what I am in the mood for.
Rockbox has a very nice scroll wheel acceleration feature which allows me to breeze through a list of thousands of tracks and also allows wrap around menus.
Rockbox allows true folder navigation independent of the Database.
- Rockbox Database is not limited to a certain number of entries therefore it reads all my files.
In fact, the only things Rockbox doesn’t do as well as original firmware is that it currently requires dual booting into original firmware for USB transfers and it breaks Rhapsody/Subscription track playback, even when reverted to the original firmware. The “modified” firmware file that allows for dual booting the device blocks access to the Fuze’s secure clock and makes Rhapsody file transfer impossible without completely uninstalling rockbox and the boot loader.
My point is, the Fuze+ is hailed as a “better” version of the original Fuze, and for many of us this is simply not the case. This doesn’t mean the Fuze+ is a POS. It just means that many of us like the original hardware of the Fuze much better.
My idea of the “perfect” fuze would be the original Fuze hardware with tactile feedback and easy to use buttons and scroll wheel. merged, with the better Rhapsody support and flashy UI on the Fuze+
Currently my Fuze+ is sitting in my office drawer gathering dust, waiting on me to use it for my Rhapsody tracks and channels, which is decidedly rare. It will be used only when I want to try new music or when I forget my original fuze in the car or at home.
My original Fuze is rarely a part from me. I take it anywhere and even have a spare sitting in the drawer should it give up the ghost.
Perhaps firmware improvements on the Fuze+ will promote it from it’s current “third string” position. It’s a distant third behind my primary 8GB fuze and backup 4GB fuze (both Rockboxed). It is only used for the occasional Rhapsody Channel listen, or to fill in if by some freak of nature both my V2’s die and I can’t find refurbs anywhere to purchase.
Thats just the plain truth.