The radio works fine and the radio-record works fine.
Voice record works pretty well too.
This device carries on the tradition of the Sansa e200 series, which are now considered discontinued, as of fall 08.
the Fuze has better sound quality (new chip) and more features. (although not tremendously more than the older e200 units)
The user interface is very good.
Firmware support continues for Fuze about every 6 months with new releases avaiable for free download. If you get a Fuze, go on-line with Sansa and get the Firmware Updater and then download the new firmware. it’s an automatic process; the application will sense the device you have plugged in and get and load the correct newest firmware. some bugs were recently fixed and a few new features added in the December 08 release.
The battery on the older e200 series were replacable by user. Not so on the Fuze. Not even factory-replacable like and iPod. but, there are not complants about battery life, performance or expected longevity. Also, with a street price of around $75 for well-designed 8 gig device, it’s not like you are making the investment of a lifetime.
The microSD card support is really tremendous. The Fuze will take microSDHC cards, from 2 gig up to 16 gig. Also, when the 32 gig cards are released this year, it should take those too.
8 gig cards are around $20 so you really get a 16 gig device for the added cost of the card .
If you plan on using the device for video, check the boards here for discussion (there are many!). Mucho glitchos senor.
You need to use Sansa’s proprietary software/app for transferring photos and videos to the device. You can hav a perfect avi or mpg4 video but you will then need to get it loaded onto the device via Sansa Media converter (SMC). Interestingly,SMC will take a 25 meg file and make it 75 megs for use on a 2" screen! there are a lot of glitches with codecs etc. it DOES work but not alwasy and not with all videos. There apparently ARE workarounds but require some tech-savvy and perseverence. Again, check the boards here and on the SMC forum. there are very few problems with getting photos onto the device.
All-in-all it is a fantastic device for music.
In the USB mode called MSC (Mass Storage Class) you drag and drop music files as if it were a USB flash drive. Which, in effect, it is. there is also a second USB operating mode called MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) which stems from Microsoft Windows Media Player. It is suggested that you pick one mode and stick with it, as music that is added via one mode will not be “visible” in the other mode. If you are into playlists, you may prefer MTP mode. if not, MSC appears to be simpler and less trouble.
Regarding charging, as mentioned, you can get inexpensive wall-wart chargers that supply 5v power to a USB port. The cord for the Fuze s proprietary to Sansa (same as with the older e200 series). Although the business end looks like an iPod cord, it is NOT. Do not use and iPod cord. The other end is normal USB and plugs into the wall wart of computer in the normal way. Chargers avaiable for car-use too.
Regarding extra batteries: You cannot have spare batteries. Unfortunate. But, there are external power packs that charge your device and provide power on the go. This would be effective if you were going on an extended hiking trip or a long airline flight. You should get somewhere around 20 hours, maybe a bit less, of power from the Fuze when playing music. You might get less than 4 hours if playing video. So you decide.
Here are two external power options. Both get good reviews.
Also solar chargers are available for REALLY extended wilderness trips or third-whirled trips.
Brand is “Solio” I believe.
There are fewer accessories than in the iPod world, but there are some good ones. And some docks, etc.
External (mono) speaker with case. Cool little device. I have a similar one. Not hi-fi but very convenient on the go and holds all your cords and the fuze, etc.
Here’s another one:
One last tip, the screens on these get scratched with normal use. Save yourself the frustration of trying to “fix” this in six months and get screen protection on as soon as you get it.
Here’s my favorite; a very thin and super durable membrane that is applied right to the screen. It’s not a “full body armor” and adds nothing to the size of the unit. Super-resistant to scratches.
From company called ZAGG.
I believe it’s Zagg.com. Product is called Invisible Shield. About $10. Well worth it!
Message Edited by blackdog-sansa on 01-04-2009 06:02 PM