I had always wanted an Ipod or a Zune until I started living with my fiance. She had a Sansa E250 that she loved and had bought a second one a year or two before for $30 on ebay that was an inoperable unit. I took a look and soon suspected that it was updated with a wrong model update for the bios in which I quickly found a fix for online and had the unit working within 30 minutes. The kid soon lost the battery cover for one of her old sansa players so I bought her a refurbished Fuze from buy.com for $40. By this time I looked at the Ipod as equal or lesser product and the money you pay for them pays for their marketing campaigns. I soon found a group of 3 Fuze players with stuck wheels for $35 on ebay. 2 were four gb and one was an 8gb. They all had the interface wheel stuck which was disclosed. I put a drop of lubricant and each of them worked just fine. My fiance wound up slamming her e250 in the car door and would not power on. I took it apart to discover the battery swollen on it so I ordered a new one for $5. I lost my E250 and was the reason for me finding the Fuze. The kid also slammed hers in a car door (I don’t know what it is with them dropping them in the door sill.). So with the battery on order I decided we better have some backup. I found an online one day sale on refurbished fuze for $22 each on four gig Fuze. I bought two of them which was stupid of me. I should have bought 3 or more at that price. Needless to say the fiance confiscated one and the kid took the other with me waiting for them to go on sale again. What was the kicker we found 16gb micro sd cards for $15 each. Some of the girls at work play their Ipod Nano and Touch thinking they were so wonderful how their interface works with the radio by just dropping it in the cradle. While mine will interface with the radio with a cable I can play my rhapsody radio channels without commercial interruption with longer playlists while they cannot. When they saw that I can expand my memory for the price I paid their jaws dropped. Not to mention I’m able to go into a room with mine where it comes in contact with solvents that will dissolve human tissue on a regular basis. I just decontaminate it when I leave and put a drop of lube on the interface to replace what the enzymatic solution destroys. They would not dare to take their overpriced units in there. I will be putting one in that room perminantly soon. I think of how hard we have been on our players and how much it would cost me if these were Zune’s or Ipods. I just want to thank Sansa on making such a wonderful product.
I did look at the Fuze+ but I’m not crazy about the new interface or the light plastic chasis. One of the shortcomings with the Fuze is the difficulty of replacing the battery without damaging the faceplate. Batteries do fail and their reliability comes into question after about a year in any electronic device. maybe a thin battery that pops out like on a cell phone is one option or you can find a larger battery for those who would like the extra continuous play time. I like the solid feel that the e250’s were made of and would love to see a tough yet sleek new product (maybe a ruggedized option much like Casio has done with the G’zone phone offered through Verizon Wireless). The wheel on the e-250’s simply work, no rubber coating to peel off and it never needed lube or got jammed. Push buttons under rubber simply fail in the hands of people who push a button with the force that the hulk uses to swat a tank. Maybe refine the wheel on the E250 to something that is more eye appealing for a new look but keep the functionality. And make parts more redily available.