Since a few people are having trouble using the Fuze to listen to podcasts, I thought it might be useful to post a collection of the various issues.
First, the good:
I find that automatic bookmarking of podcasts and audiobooks to be a fantastic feature, and others seem to like it as well. I was unsure of whether I'd like this feature, and I love it. (I'd still like to be able to set manual bookmarks, but I can live without them.) But it seems to me that after this breakthrough in design, Sansa didn't really think the rest through and debug it.
- The Fuze doesn't rebustly read ID3 tags for podcasts. For example, podcasts that my Creative Zen V loads, displays, plays, etc, with no problem don't even show up on the Fuze. In fact, I've never had my Zen V not load a podcast, but this happens with about 10% of the same podcasts on my Fuze.
- Deleting podcasts messes up the podcast menu, making it a hassle to delete multiple podcasts.
- Deleting a podcast causes the current one to stop playing. Not a huge deal, but it would be nice if one could delete while listening (as one can with the Zen V, for example).
- Lack of logical podcast ordering (maybe there's some logic here, but no one seems to have figured it out).
- No ability to easily skip tracks – track skipping must be done exactly as track selection which means you have to stop and look at the player – dangerous while driving and difficult and unpleasant when exercising. All other players I've used have a convenient track skip, as the Fuze does for music. Why not with podcasts? Especially with automatic bookmarks, where loosing ones place isn't much of a hassle. (This is further compounded by weird behaviors that seem designed purely to defeat any attempt to skip tracks: FF to the end of a track doesn't help skip the track because the player loops to the beginning when it reaches the end – whereas RW will stop at the beginning and not loop. Without the looping, holding the FF until the end of the track could effect a skip. Also, when the player's paused, one can skip tracks using FF, but then it cycles through the tracks at such a lightning speed that one can't skip a single track, or select a particular track as they fly by. I see no purpose for this function; and still Pause then a momentary FF press doesn't do anything so why not make it skip a single track?)
- Others list “no folder browsing”, but I'm not sure what they're looking for with this (and I like browsing by ID3 tags, so long as they work – I don't care if folder browsing is added, but I'd be unhappy if it's at the expense of ID3 tag browsing).
- Some people, including myself, are unable to get playlists to work with podcasts. I don't know if anyone's done this successfully.
In response to several of these problems, others have said that these things aren't such an issue, or that they like it this way, or there's some fix one can do using third party software. All I can say to this is, how acceptable this is depends entirely on an individual's needs for the player: their OS, the number and length of podcasts they listen to, how often they like to skip tracks or skip the last 30 seconds of a track (which are often credits, etc), whether they need to listen to tracks in a particular order (as, for example, with serialized stories), whether they primarily use the player while driving or exercise (where it's difficult to stop and study the player) etc, etc. So personally I think to comment and say these things aren't problems and we should just get over it is misunderstanding the issues. Although it is interesting to hear others' usages and solutions, just because this isn't a problem for you, doesn't mean that it isn't a problem for someone else.
Either way, it seems worth collecting these issues so others who listen to podcasts can judge for themselves whether they can make the particular compromises demanded by this player, and I have some vague hope that Sansa will read this and fix these deficiencies and make my player useful to me.