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Newbie
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

I [JUST RETURNED] A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

[ Edited ]
(Update below.  I've since returned my View...)

I've been keeping an eye on this, and just by chance, I checked Best Buy's web site as I was leaving work today. Yesterday, they had the View's listed, but nothing available within WI. But today, it listed as not only available, but available at each of the 5 stores closest to me.

I stopped on the way home. Nothing on the shelf. The sales rep wasn't even aware of it. I told him that their site said they were available, and asked him to check. Nothing under the shelf. He briefly checked the warehouse, still nothing. He checked with a supervisor, and 15 minutes later, I was checking-out one of their 5 new Sansa View 16 GB models.

I've noticed that the posted features and specifications on this new product are quite lacking. In the coming hours, I'll try to post some more details and answer questions!

--
Mark A. Ziesemer
www.ziesemer.com / blogger.ziesemer.com

Updates:
  • Box contents:
    • Included papers are at a minimum:
      • 2 seemingly identical "safe instructions" / " important information" pamphlets regarding hearing loss.
      • 2 promos:
        • Best Buy Digital Music Store / Rhapsody
        • audible.com special offer for SanDisk customers.
      • 1 "Quick Start Guide":
      • 10 folding pages. Important Safety Instructions. Disposal Instructions. Package Contents. Minimum System Requirements. Charging the Battery. Connecting to your Computer. Sansa View at a Glance. Transferring Music to your Sansa View. Loading Photos and Videos. Listen to Music. Listening to FM Radio. Watching Videos. Viewing Photos. Getting Help.
        • First page says "Please visit www.sandisk.com/support/sansa to download User's Manual and for more product information". As of 2007-10-22, there's nothing there relating to the View.
    • Included USB cord is about 45", tip-to-tip.
    • Includes one mini-CD containing only the Rhapsody software for the Best Buy Digital Music Store, and apparently nothing else other than the supporting Flash content. No user manual hidden here... (Box listing of contents includes "Installation CD with User Manual". I don't think so.)
    • Basic Sansa-branded in-ear earphones.
2007-10-22 6:30 p.m. (Central) - Looks like SanDisk just launched a new/updated official site on the View: http://www.sandisk.com/sansa/. User Guide is now available. The list even hints that a firmware update is available, but nothing on the linked site says that it applies to the View.

One thing "missing" from the box is any type of carrying case, other than the plastic wrap the View came packaged in. Guess this will promote accessory sales.

I noticed the headphone port is right next to the USB port on the bottom of the View, and kind of close together. My professional recording headphones (with a screw-off 1/4" adapter) and a similar cable that I use to plug into an audio mixer just barely fit, with the two plugs touching each other.

What I Like / Hoped For

The last portable music device I purchased was a CD/MP3 player when one first came to the market back around 2000. Even with the whole "iPod craze", most products on the market just had too many disadvantages for me to even consider. Here is what drove me to consider and purchase the SanDisk Sansa View:

  • No specific requirement for special software. Plug into USB by computer, transfer your music, and it just works. Support for USB mass storage device class (MSC / UMS) is what I was looking for. (The Sansa View comes close, but has a few issues here; read below.)
  • Expandability. The microSD capability on the View was a driving factor.
  • The Radio feature is cool, but wasn't a requirement.
  • User-replacable battery.  The SanDisk Sansa e200 supported this.  The batteries could be obtained for only about $20.  Unfortunately, the Sansa View did not retain this feature.  I'm guessing / hoping it will still be possible, but it won't be officially supported by SanDisk and will surely void the product warranty.

Transfer Issues?

I had some issues uploading my music the first time, with the file transfer eventually timing out with a "device not responding" error. Things seem to be working better now, after plugging into a different port. Suspecting that there wasn't enough power available. Now instead, I received a message about the file being "outside device limits", and that I should use a media program to do the transfer if possible. We'll see. (The entire reason I bought a SanDisk over other popular alternatives was to not be locked into using special software to transfer.)

Battery Charging

OK, I might be having a moment here, but I'm not seeing a way to connect the View to my computer to charge without it going into "Connected" mode. The best way to save a not-so-replaceable built-in battery is to not use it. My intent is to use this while I'm at work, where I'm next to a computer all day. May as well run off of USB power, rather than using the battery. Not seeing how this is possible, though... There is no "Eject Hardware" icon in the tray with the View, nor is there any option visible from the "Sansa View" device in Windows Explorer.

Update: From page 10 in the manual: "You will not be able to play while connected to the computer USB." NOT GOOD. Even many of the not-to-be-named competitive players support this! SanDisk, FIRMWARE UPDATE, please!! I'm not even asking for computer/transfer functionality and View usability at the same time (though that would be nice), just a way to disconnect from "Connected" mode while still charging. Guess I'll have to get an A/C charger - or even a USB adapter to only carry the power and drop the data connections...

Folders and Playlists

While the file system is used to transfer files to the device, it appears that Folders do nothing. Even my car CD/MP3 player supported folders. Since I primarily played all my music on the computer until now, this worked very well. I had things split into categories, and could just pick and drop various directory trees to make a quick playlist. Looks like now I'll have to go through and update all my MP3 tags and metadata for proper use of the player, as well as creating some pre-defined playlists...

USB Mass Storage Device Class (MSC / UMS)

For those of you who use an operating system other than Windows XP / Vista, the View only somewhat supports the USB mass storage device class (MSC / UMS). This puts the minimum system requirements listed on the side of the box listing "Windows XP SP2" into question. I was able to mount this under a Linux box, and even more surprising, Windows 2000 - but with some catches.

When using MSC / UMS mode, the View requires an additional "Refresh database" step, taking about 1 min to complete for the ~1 GB data I currently have loaded. This seems to be an additional symptom of a difference in using MSC / UMS mode - when connected as such, the existing music I transferred appears to be in a hidden "SYSTEM" folder, inside numbered subfolders as numbered "*.dat" files. Additionally, the "Music" folder is shown to contain the few music selections that are provided with the View by default. I did copy a few of my files here under MSC / UMS mode, and they did appear and play in the View, but were not visible from Windows XP.

Interestingly, I backed-up these "default" folders using MSC / UMS mode. I'm glad I did, as I then proceeded to experiment with the "Format" option on the View. It removes all user-uploaded content, as well as all the default content. Looks like I should be able to restore it now...

TV Output

I've been curious to know if the View supports connecting to an external monitor, with as much of a video player that it claims to be. There is no included cable or apparent port for this, and nothing listed in the new online manual. However, there is a "Display" option under "System Settings", with "LCD" (that doesn't appear to do anything or have any options), and "TV" with "NTSC" and "PAL" options, for the 2 different standards (US / European). I'm guessing output video capability will be available as an add-on to the bottom connectivity port, if one doesn't already exist.

Radio

The radio seems to work surprisingly well, considering the lack of any apparent external antenna. (The headphone/line-out cable may be doubling as one...) An auto-scan on my View picked up more stations than my home theater receiver, and the reception even sounds decent.

Just make sure that the "FMRegion" is set appropriately under preferences ("USA" in my case), otherwise it appears that a valid frequency can be selected and is playing, but without any audio output.

The "Auto Scan" is another bug for SanDisk to fix in their firmware. Even starting with an empty auto-scan list, a completion of "Auto Scan" results in duplicates, sometimes triplicates. After the 1st run, I had 10 items, 5 were duplicates/triplicates and had to be manually removed.

Stability Issues

Quote frequently now, I've found that disconnecting the USB cable, under either end (though it shouldn't really matter), even under Windows XP, results in the View remaining in "Connected" mode. I end up having to use the power/hold button to reset the device. I've also had it hang a few times while just surfing through the default loaded music, also requiring a reset.

Return in Question!

I recognize that this is a brand new product, and is hopefully still under improvement. However, between these stability issues, a number of the other above concerns, and the other comments already posted here by other users and brought into question, I'm starting to question whether the View is a "keeper" in its current state.

I'm beginning to get very tempted to just return this within my return period, and wait until I know that at least some of these issues will be fixed with a firmware update or otherwise.

I just sent an email to SanDisk support with a link to this forum thread. Hopefully, SanDisk will take these issues and our comments seriously, and work with us for improvement towards the great potential and success for this product. Ideally, at least one new firmware will be released within the next month before I otherwise plan on returning my View.


Returned to Best Buy, 2007-11-02.

It's a sad day.  The frustrations and lack of any official support on this player have finally caught up with me.  I just returned my 16GB View to Best Buy this evening.  I could only laugh when they asked me "Is there anything wrong with it?"     

I've tried contacting the official support for this several times with no progress.  Whenever I try to call the support line, I never get through, stuck on hold until I have to leave, often for almost an hour or more.  I've had 2 online "support requests" with a few iterations of back-and-forth, mostly regarding the firmware update attempts.  All have only seem to be answered by the same single rep, who apologized for one of the delays because he was gone a few days.  (Is there only one SanDisk employee handling support for this player??)  He also claimed that in the last week, there have been no hold times for greater than 10 minutes.

The lack of any responses on this forum from moderators / official SanDisk representatives is also very discouraging.  They've provided a great resource to their user community here, which not a lot of other companies offer.  Unfortunately, it doesn't appear that they've been using it to their benefit.  With 2,300+ views and 52 replies to this thread alone as of this edit, one would hope that SanDisk would pay more attention and participate.

I never did get the firmware updated to the 01.00.03A version, though after reading all the other messages on this forum, I don't think it really helps anything, and may only make things worse.  ekaj somehow finally managed to obtain firmware update from support as a version that can be loaded without the "Automatic Updater", which appears to be the valid method for the moment as the current "Automatic Updater" is currently 0% functional with the View.  Details are at his "Sansa View Firmware Update 01.00.03A Download" thread.

The hardware on this player is very promising, and could eventually prove to provide some real competition to Apple's iPod and other players.  Unfortunately, in my opinion, the firmware and SanDisk support are currently just short of non-functional.  I'll consider giving (and hope to give) this player another chance once the majority of these issues are solved, either with a significant firmware update from SanDisk (hopefully 02.x.x), or even with a RockBox release.

Here are some links to other recent forum threads that are strongly related to this discussion:Additional threads highlighting issues and problems (updated 2007-11-24):
(It sounds like all these people are going down the same path I did.)

I've also made an entry on my personal blog:  http://blogger.ziesemer.com/2007/11/sandisk-sansa-view.html

Message Edited by ziesemer on 11-24-2007 09:29 AM
SanDisk Professor
Posts: 593
Registered: ‎08-14-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

For specs, you may want to check out:   www.sandisk.com/sansa
They've got specs on the view in a little bit of detail there.
Having trouble with video transfer for your View? Try using the Any Video Converter (yes that's the name). It can be downloaded at www.any-video-converter.com (pick the free one) It's easy to use, just make it a .mp4
Newbie
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

same deal went to BestBuy and they had no clue they even had these.  At first they could only find the 8Gig but after a little searching I have the 16Gig.  Have not had time to do much but it feels pretty good.
Newbie
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

Same expierence I had with BestBuy.  I'm listening to mine at the moment.  I've only hit one major hang up so far...the View has been promoted as gapless.  With both LAME and AAC encoded from the FLAC original (via foobar2k), it isn't gapless at all.  I tested using tracks 6 (parabol) and 7 (parabola) from Tool's Lateralus - both with tags and without.  For reference, the same lame-encoded mp3's play gapless everywhere else (the old rio karma, foobar2k, and winamp).

I haven't tested WMA, because I'm not going to use WMA - I would hope that's not the only format that is gapless
Newbie
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

As for gapless and any number of the other "issues" that are sure to follow, I sure hope that SanDisk will be receptive to the user community, monitor these forums, and start working on firmware updates...
Newbie
Posts: 20
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

Yeah, as do I.  I'd move to Rockbox, but I imagine it's going to be awhile before it gets ported to the View.  I hope gapless can be fixed with a firmware update.  If I hadn't bought it already, I probably wouldn't, based on that alone.

Anyway, I haven't had any other issues - aside from when I think I was moving too fast for the UI, deleting some of the preloaded content and playing with settings, it locked and rebooted on me.  But that was the programmer in me trying to break it (the software, not the player - don't read that the wrong way).  (It probably still shouldn't have broken, but, in day to day use, I doubt that'll pop up).

But yeah, a good bit of undocumented features.  FM recording, AAC audio playback (box says nothing of it), etc... 
Newbie
Posts: 1
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

Can you bookmark mp3 files?
Newbie
Posts: 12
Registered: ‎10-17-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

javamon beat me to it but I went flying to a Best Buy that had it, inputted 2 tracks from Phantom of the Opera and less of a gap then the e280 I had purchased but nevertheless a gap! I also wasn't too happy with the size, I knew it was going to be bigger but I thought maybe a little bit bigger than the e200! This is closer to the fruity mp3 player in size
SanDisk Professor
Posts: 507
Registered: ‎07-21-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

the sansa media converter included in the sansa view also supports the Take TV and Sansa Connect... yes! the connect will now soon support video...
Newbie
Posts: 19
Registered: ‎10-22-2007

Re: I HAVE A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...

LM2003 - I'm unable to find anyway to bookmark an MP3 file.