SanDisk Sansa Express User Review (Gaius)
Ok I finally got this little device and had a whole 2 days to play with it so here we go.
EDIT: SORRY FOR THE LONG DELAY BUT I MADE UP FOR IT WITH AN 2 MINUTE VIDEO WALKTHROUGH OF THE PLAYER ITSELF.
Looks and quality of design:
The whole player looks more like a pricy $99 player when you first see it in action. The control pad lights up a very bright blue, which can be a little rough on people who want to keep a low profile but I think most people will appreciate the blue lighting since it makes the player look more expensive and has the added value of being bright enough to help guide a person through a dark room. While there is not much heft, the entire body feels solidly made, even if made completely out of plastic. As people have said before, the face of the player is a smudge magnet but easily wiped clean. Overall, its an attractive player with a lightweight, clean design. The lanyard is tough and has a metallic accent to it that feels strong, so thats a plus, but I know people will be annoyed that its attached to the cap and not the player. I don't really care though, since the cap attaches to the body VERY firmly and if I were to lose the cap, it would be a lot easier to find it with a long, metal accented lanyard on it. I REALLY hate losing caps on USB devices.
Well done. Simple to navigate but not without a few quirks. During playback, some tracks will take longer to start than others, something that can be fixed with a later firmware update I suppose. The OLED display is crisp, clean looking and displays all the information you really need in a player this small. The last quirk, I'd say, is that moving down playlists is rather slow unless you press the directional buttons quickly and repeatedly like mashing a video game control pad. If you have a lot of miscellaneous songs that you want to add that arent part of an album, they had better be given a common album title, because it will be slow going to find them all otherwise. This player's interface is small and not blazingly fast so you MUST keep your music well tagged to move around efficiently. Of course, I'd suggest the same for any mp3 player but this will prove especially annoying to people that don't properly tag music. Other than that, the GUI is designed well and is only limited in terms of speed by the hardware used.
The earbuds are your average set: small, cheaply made, easily disposed of. I have a pair of V-Moda Vibes so I just used those right off the bat. The quality is surprisingly good for a player this small. I was expecting worse but the bass is good, the highs are fair and the mids are clean. Overall, its not the best sound quality I've heard on an mp3 player. Expensive players like the Cowon A2 and the Creative Vision M blow it out of the water, but hey, you get what you pay for with a player this cheap. However, as I said, the sound quality is well above average and more than enough for the average listener. It's certainly not for audiophiles, but the volume is loud and every track I listened to came out exceedingly clear. Specifically, the bass lacks some of the punch and the highs lack some of the detail that high end players have. Don't let this discourage you, though. I'd say that high end players sound like a 9 and this is more like a 7.5-8 so its not going too noticable for most users.
The speed is quick enough for a player this size. I transferred a 135 MB album folder in 45 seconds. Of course, it's certainly not the speed you would get in a high end player like the Cowon A2, which does 700 mb in about the same time, but again, anybody who isn't too knowledgeable about hardware has to realize the limitations involved. It would have been nice to say, make this player have a dual channel OCZ type speed, which would make it on par with something like the Cowon, but again, you get what you pay for. However, considering this player will likely be in your front USB port for most of the day, filing up the player in about 5 minutes really is not bad at all. Also, it uses the MTP interface, but you DO have the option of opening it with Explorer whenever you want. Dragging and dropping is the best way to go, IMO, and this player makes it simple to do so.
-FM Radio, works well. No problems.
-I'm glad they included a voice recorder that makes VERY clear sounding WAVs. I'm impressed with the quality of recordings, and with a filesize of 222k per 15 seconds, its not so bad as people might hope, although I do kind of wish the Recorder would instead record in WMA at a selectable bitrate so we can save space. Another thing I hope comes with a firmware update is the ability to see how much space/time is left while recording so we can gauge if we had enough space on the player to say, record a lecture or something. It would make the recorder a lot handier, IMO.
Hmmm, thats about it. The Express has its flaws, but it has more than enough features and design qualities to make up for it. For a player of this class, I'd give it a 9/10, since there really is nothing on the market that comes close at this price. You can even get it for 50 dollars or less even if you use Google Checkout for the first time at some online store.
I'll answer any questions about anything I haven't covered if you guys like.
The Express at its finest angle.
As you can see, it may attract smudges!
The all important mic, headphone jack and SD port.
The slick interface while playing a song!
The menu system in action.
And finally, I uploaded video of the entire interface to Youtube!
EDIT: Youtube compression is really making the video too fuzzy for my liking. Here's the original avi that I had already compressed. It's much clearer. (Needs Xvid, ffdshow, or Divx to view)
Last edited by EnzoTen; 05-14-2007 at 01:27 PM. Reason: Needed pics and video!
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