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Old 11-28-2012, 01:03 AM
Roboturner913 Roboturner913 is offline
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Default Fuze+ Rockbox review - by request

Long story, but I ended up buying a Sansa Fuze+ despite many bad reviews regarding its control scheme. There are precious few media players with a relatively large high-resolution display, expandable memory and ability to install Rockbox. In fact, as far as I can tell the Fuze+ is the only currently produced player to meet these criteria without costing more than $100.

Reviews for the Fuze+ have been almost universally negative, and for good reason: the original firmware is just a hot mess. Unresponsive, convoluted, and just plain stupid. But then again, I never had any intention of using the original firmware.

HOWEVER, with Rockbox it is a much different player and a great value. I was happy to get the 8 GB version for $50 on an early Black Friday sale, but I see the 4 GB versions going for around $30 on ebay and such.

Pros:
-Big, bright, high-resolution screen. A major improvement over the original Fuze which was a great player but had an awful display.
-MicroSD slot, self-explanatory
-With Rockbox navigation and control is very easy. Just tap the proper sector of the touchpad and it will work exactly as you would think. It's not 100% perfect all the time, but neither was the original Fuze's scrollwheel.
-The ability to Rockbox is a "feature" in itself as far as I'm concerned, both for sound options, gapless playback, customization and the ability to play just about any file type that exists.
-Sound quality. Much hubbub was made about the sound quality of the original Fuze and the various Clips. That has not changed. It's a great sounding player without any need for processing gimmicks like the Philips, Sony, etc. players out there. Rockbox makes it that much better.
-Build quality. This thing is solid.

Cons:
- The control is still a touchpad. As such, it is difficult to operate in the dark. A little backlighting would have been nice.
- MicroUSB connector, do not like. It's too flimsy. Why is this becoming the standard? MiniUSB is so much sturdier and easy to insert and disconnect. Or a 30-pin. Something, anything besides a micro USB. Seriously.
- Rockbox is almost a little too responsive sometimes. Would be nice if there was an adjustable sensitivity control. Nothing major.
- Battery life is not great. I charged to 100% earlier today, listened to two albums at work. Battery is now 68%. Huh?

Summing up, if you liked the original Fuze and Rockbox, the Fuze+ will serve you well. With Rockbox and a 64 GB card, it is an iPod killer for 1/3 the price.
However, if you don't want to use Rockbox, stay away from the Fuze+. It is practically worthless with the manufacturer firmware.
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  #2  
Old 11-28-2012, 01:30 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboturner913 View Post
- Rockbox is almost a little too responsive sometimes. Would be nice if there was an adjustable sensitivity control. Nothing major.
That is actually a big improvement from the original firmware. It's still a little too sensitive, but it is at least somewhat usable now. Once you have all your assorted settings in place (which is an aggravating experience but much less so than it would be in the OF) actually getting it to operate isn't too terrible. I just use it in shuffle mode though.

With the original firmware, and even the earlier Rockbox builds, I came very close to either throwing the thing against a wall or taking a hammer to it...and it ended up sitting on my desk collecting dust for long periods of time.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboturner913 View Post
- Battery life is not great. I charged to 100% earlier today, listened to two albums at work. Battery is now 68%. Huh?
I really haven't tested this. I only use it for a few hours at a time, at work, and there's always a micro-USB charger around so I just plug it in.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboturner913 View Post
Summing up, if you liked the original Fuze and Rockbox, the Fuze+ will serve you well.
I've had several original Fuzes with Rockbox, and it's a tough comparison to make. I generally prefer a player to have a dedicated volume control, like the Fuze+ has, rather than a wheel that controls most everything, like the old Fuze....but that said, the only thing the Fuze+ has over the Fuzes I had in the past, asides from a nicer screen, is more internal memory. The original Fuze is much more user-friendly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboturner913 View Post
With Rockbox and a 64 GB card, it is an iPod killer for 1/3 the price.
As an iPod owner, I wouldn't go that far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Roboturner913 View Post
However, if you don't want to use Rockbox, stay away from the Fuze+. It is practically worthless with the manufacturer firmware.
Agreed 100%
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  #3  
Old 11-28-2012, 01:49 AM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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I wonder just how much the fuze+ has been written off based on its first release date with its awful stock fw and lack of rb (at that time). And even when rb did become available (but wasn't polished) then even more 'writtenoffness' followed.

Although i am a cowon convert i am still a fan of mp3 players across the board (especially the rb variety), xmas coming up... I mit just grab a 4gb fuze+ for the sake of it just to see for myself.

Nice review, cheers.
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  #4  
Old 11-28-2012, 02:22 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
I wonder just how much the fuze+ has been written off based on its first release date with its awful stock fw and lack of rb (at that time). And even when rb did become available (but wasn't polished) then even more 'writtenoffness' followed.
I was one of the ones that pretty much gave up on it, as you recall...but I gave it another shot recently after hearing Roboturner's impressions. Updating the Rockbox helped a lot...now I actually use the thing a couple times a week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
Although i am a cowon convert i am still a fan of mp3 players across the board (especially the rb variety), xmas coming up... I mit just grab a 4gb fuze+ for the sake of it just to see for myself.
It's worth a shot....only then will you know if you can live with it, because everyone uses their players differently.

I always use it in shuffle mode. I put a bunch of favorites on it first, about 6GB worth, and then I removed it from the computer, and initialized the database for all that stuff. I wanted to be able to shuffle all through this stuff without accessing the "Work Mix" folder I'll describe next.

After that, I added my "Work Mix" folder....99 songs that go well for me and the guys at work....mostly metal/hard rock/grunge stuff. All the songs dragged into the folder individually, then album titles removed and track numbers redone. So at work, I just go into the file menu, select this folder, and start it on any track and let it roll from there.

Going this route has allowed me to make the player useful for me....I keep the players I like better away from work where something could potentially happen to them, and it means this one isn't just a paperweight.

So for your job, Bruce, it may well be that you could make it work for you too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceBanner View Post
Nice review, cheers.
Indeed, it was.
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  #5  
Old 11-28-2012, 04:43 AM
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I shuffle the c2 alot also. Mainly i have two folders, the sd card is the 'best of' choons, music that has been assigned 4-5 stars aka my favourtites. Then i leave the internal storage of the device as a 'trialing new choons' and just add stuff there that i havent made my mind up about yet (like new albums etc).
Sometimes i shuffle everything, other times i'll narrow it down by building a dpl of some 'best of' andsome 'new choons'.
I could see the fuze+ working using my above methods.
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  #6  
Old 11-28-2012, 08:07 AM
Roboturner913 Roboturner913 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marvin the Martian View Post
I've had several original Fuzes with Rockbox, and it's a tough comparison to make. I generally prefer a player to have a dedicated volume control, like the Fuze+ has, rather than a wheel that controls most everything, like the old Fuze....but that said, the only thing the Fuze+ has over the Fuzes I had in the past, asides from a nicer screen, is more internal memory. The original Fuze is much more user-friendly.
Don't get me wrong. If they came out tomorrow with a player that had all of the Fuze+ capabilities and the controls from the original Fuze, I would stand in line for as long as it took and pay whatever it cost. Unfortunately nobody is making anything like it. It's too bad Sony can't get their act together with the Walkmans. Add gapless playback and a card slot and I'd be all over that.
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Old 11-28-2012, 07:47 PM
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BruceBanner BruceBanner is offline
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robo, have u considered the cowon c2? Like u i had a rb sansa fuze, clip+ and zip but eventually tried an i9 first and then a c2 later. I am now a complete convert to cowons sound signature (via using the bbe tweaks etc).
I picked up a 4gb c2 for $100 (inc shipping), if yer not familiar with the c2 u should have a peak of my review (i think its sitting in the main review section).
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  #8  
Old 11-30-2012, 12:34 AM
Roboturner913 Roboturner913 is offline
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I did consider it, but I was on a fairly strict $80 budget and I really preferred a Rockbox capable player. They seem very nice though. Maybe down the road I'll start looking at something like that.
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