Viewing the screen outdoors

 I’m glad that I came across this forum - the Express is driving me nuts! 

I’ve had this player for about a year and I am unable to view the screen when I am outdoors even in the shade.

If I select what I want to play while I am still indoors, when I turn it on it does nothing until I press one of the arrows taking me who knows where.  And then, because I don’t see what I’m selecting, often nothing happens at all. 

Is there something that I’m missing in the settings?  Outdoors it’s just a mirror.


That’s a problem with virtually all multicolor display screens. Even laptop screens are hard to see in sunlight (especially older laptops). For outdoors in bright light it’s really better to have an old fashioned liquid crystal display… like many wrist watches have. Not very colorful, but they are designed to work with bright lighting.

As for setting things up indoors… If you have it start play and then turn it off, then when you turn it on (after a few seconds) it should end up right back at the now playing screen. It will most likely come up paused so all you have to do is hit the top of the square ring to un-pause it.

Also, it may drop the volume down so that it doesn’t start up playing too loud. So, you may have to also adjust the volume.

You could try altering the brightness setting while indoors, but I doubt it will make much difference in bright sun light. Really not much else you can do about it.

Thanks for responding.  I’ve got another older Sansa that I use just for audio books and it’s so easy to use and read and, from the complaints that I’ve seen on this forum, none of the issues of the Express.  I wanted an expandible MP3 player so I bought this one but it’s really almost unusable.

Which older Sansa do you have?

The M200.  The only thing that’s weird on that one is - and I don’t know if it’s because of the way I transfer my audio books (sometimes they are MP3s and sometimes they were copied from a CD) or something else - when I begin to play a part sometimes the sections don’t play in order so I need to look to be sure that the number is right.  The first time that it happened I thought that it was being told in flashback!

I’m not familiar with the m200 so don’t know how it compares to any of the others. I started out with a brand new Fuze (which is a fantastic device btw) and then kind of worked back downward with some refurbished Sansa players… e280, c250, Express, and then recently the View. Of the bunch, the View and the Express (particularly the Express) are the most problematic.

As for getting audiobooks to play in the correct order… Unlike some of the other older players that simply worked with file names, most of the Sansa players use the ID3 tags that are embedded in the files instead. There have been many discussions about ways to get audiobooks to play in the proper order.

The easiest way (unless you have a need to keep things sorted and organized otherwise) is to simply put all the files in one folder and then…

Make sure all the Album Name ID3 tags are the same for each file.

Make sure all the Artitst name tags are the same.

Make sure all the Genre tags are the same.

Set the Track tag numbers for the order to play, 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

And, lastly make sure the Disc# tags are all left blank.

This can all be easily done with a program called MP3Tag (which also also quite usefull for music files).

Now, if you rip audiobooks that come from a set of CD’s and want to keep them sorted out and organized that way, then things get a bit more complicated and you need to then also make use of the Disc# tags. Some ripping programs automatically can do it, but often you end up having to use something like MP3Tag to straighten things out.

For a multi CD set then the Track and Disc# tags would need to be done like this

For the first disc:

Track 1   Disc# 1

Track 2   Disc# 1

Track 3   Disc# 1


For the 2nd disc:

Track 1   Disc# 2

Track 2   Disc# 2

Track 3   Disc# 2


I don’t know if these methods will work on an m200, but they do on the Sansa Fuze.

BTW the column to display the Disc# is not turned on by default in MP3Tag, so you have to change the settings for what columns you want to see. Also, by default MP3Tag comes set up for ID3v2.3 UTF and most of the Sansa players do not like UTF. So, that setting should be changed to ID3v2.3 ISO instead. That seems to work best for just about all the Sansa players.

You can find a lot of info about how things work for each of the Sansa devices in the various forum posts. And, of course, there’s always the Search box in the upper left corner of any forum page to help find things (usually you’ll find way more than you are looking for that way LOL).

Good luck with your Sansa players (although I highly recommend either the Clip or the Fuze, those are currently the best Sansa products).

Thanks for the tips!  It’s an M240 - I has just looked at the booklet and it said M200 series (it was late and I was in a hurry.)

It never occured to me when I had the difficulty of the tracks playing in order that there was a Sansa forum.  I did ask on a tech support site but they pretty much said to do what I had done already - being sure that the numbers were correct.

I get most of my audiobooks from the NY Public Library site using Overdrive and those usually play in order but I will rename them and the ones that I copied from CDs as you said to be sure.  It does seem complicated!   

Depends on how well your CD ripping program does all the ID3 tags. Once you learn how to work with MP3Tag though it’s not all that hard to do.

It’s nowhere near as complicated as trying to get playlists to work right (especially if you have music on both the internal memory and an external card).

I went through a lot of the posts on the M240 and there was a lot of great information.  I followed their instructions and re-formatted my device (although it says that there is nothing on it, it is still missing about 25 MB).

Then I spent the last 2 hours re-tagging some audiobooks - I synched 1 so we’ll see how it works. 

I use WMP (10 or 11 - I’m not sure) to rip.  I don’t think that it does a great job of tagging since I need to clearly specify which track and disc.

I looked at the Clip - it’s probably the one that I’d buy next - the format is a lot like the M240 (not the look).  At B&H Photo it’s about $80. for 4 GB.

@cycler wrote:

I looked at the Clip - it’s probably the one that I’d buy next - the format is a lot like the M240 (not the look).  At B&H Photo it’s about $80. for 4 GB.


$80 is a bit high. You can get a 4GB Clip at BestBuy for $60, even less on

Be aware that the Clip has the same OLED display screen as the Express. So, it will be just as hard to see outdoors.

For $80 I got a 4GB Fuze at BestBuy. Sure it’s a bit larger than the Clip, but it has several extra features that the Clip does not have. The Fuze has a larger LCD display (not OLED), can display photos, play videos, and also has an expansion slot for a microSD(HD) memory card.

Currently the largest microSDHC card is 16GB, but 32GB should be coming out shortly. As such, with a 4GB Clip you’re stuck with only 4GB, but with a 4GB Fuze you could always expand later all the way up to 36GB… even higher if you could afford an 8GB or 16GB Fuze.

It all depends on what physical size and what features you are looking for. So, you’ll have to decide what’s best for yourself.