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Sansa Fuze Player
Measuring 50 x 7 x 78mm, the Sansa Fuze, with its ability to play MP3 and WMA audio tracks plus video clips, is the company’s obvious challenger to the market leading iPod nano device. Positioned between the excellent Sansa Clip and Sansa View units, the Sansa Fuze is available with 2, 4 and 8GB storage capacities in a choice of blue, red, pink, black or silver. This review is based on the 4GB version of the product.
Taking over the top half of the unit’s front is a 1.9-inch colour screen giving a bright clear display. Situated beneath the screen is a rubber control wheel that actually rotates rather than offering a touch sensitive approach. In the centre of the wheel is a rubber selection button with options to play/stop, move forwards, move backwards and down/sub menu positioned at the four cardinal points. Slightly to the right of this wheel is a Home button while a slider switch for power on/off is on the right side. Located on the opposite side is a memory card slot for inserting a Micro SD card, either of the standard or HC (High Capacity) variety, for increasing storage capacity.
Switching on the Sansa Fuze brings up a carousel type menu that allows you to rotate through the categories of Music, Video, FM Radio, Photos, Voice and Settings. Music can be added to the Sansa Fuze direct from a computer using the supplied proprietary USB cable. There is support for MP3, WMA, secure WMA, Ogg Vorbis and Audible formats with transfer being implemented by standard Windows protocols (copy & paste / drag & drop) without the need for any additional software. Playlists can be created by the unit or imported using Windows Media Player.
Adding video clips and photos to the Sansa Fuze does, however, require a specific Sansa Media Converter utility. Unfortunately SanDisk has made the decision not to include this software as part of the package. Instead you are free to download this software (100MB+) from www.sansa.com/downloads. This software allows you to select clips and then convert them at the press off a button into a format acceptable to the Sansa Fuze. Despite the software’s Help file indicating otherwise, I was only able to convert content when the Sansa Fuze was connected to a computer. When not linked to the Sansa Fuze, the convert option was greyed out and therefore unusable.
The Sansa Fuze has a built-in FM Radio feature. This has the capability to store up to 40 preset stations. You can either manually create these presets or run an automatic scanning option which does the job for you. A record facility is available for use with the FM Radio.
Included in the packaging is a soft cloth pouch to help keep the unit clear of dust and scratches when in a pocket or bag. You also get an ear-bud style headset with a standard 3.5mm jack plug which connects to the base of the unit rather than the more convenient side or top of the unit. Located next to the headset socket is a proprietary wide connection for attached the supplied USB lead.
With the basic 4GB of storage you should be able to fit 1000 MP3 tracks or 12 hours of video. The built-in rechargeable battery should give you 24 hours of audio playback or 5 hours of video. A full recharge of the battery takes around 3 hours.
I was impressed with the performance of the Sansa Fuze. Audio quality was particularly good while watching video was fine for short clips. With the small screen size, you are hardly likely to want to settle back and take in a movie. My only complaints would be the positioning of the headset socket and having to download the Sansa Media Converter software. The 4GB Sansa Fuze has been priced at £55.99.
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