Saturday, November 3, 2007

SanDisk Sansa View

I just tried my first new portable music player since about the year 2000, with very disappointing results.

In theme with everyone else at Anything But iPod, I didn't want an Apple iPod.

  • I didn't want to be forever forced to use iTunes, even though it is a pretty nice piece of software.
  • I wanted something that would support connecting through USB mass storage device class (MSC / UMS).
  • Expandability. I wanted something that supported removable flash memory or other options.
  • Something with an officially user-replaceable battery would be desired.
  • File formats. I didn't want to be limited to MP3/WMA (or) AAC codecs, or any other limited list of formats. Something that supported free and open source codecs such as (ogg) Vorbis, as well as one or more lossless data compression codecs would be excellent.

My choice was a SanDisk Sansa View (Sansa Micro Site, Flash-enabled). It was first available on 2007-10-21, and looked to be an ideal replacement to my previous consideration, the Sansa e200. The View promised up to twice as much built-in flash memory, and full-motion video support, which seemed to outweigh the negatives of not having a user-replaceable battery and official MSC/UMS support - both features of the e200.

The full discussion of my (and others') disappointing experience is on SanDisk's user forums. Start at "I [JUST RETURNED] A NEW Sansa View 16 GB - Features, specifications, and Q/A to follow...".

For now, my View has been returned. 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, the firmware and SanDisk's 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 v02.x.x), or even with a Rockbox release.

Update (2008-01-21): The SansaView page at rockbox.org has some information on the Rockbox effort. The most useful information is in the forum link.

5 comments:

LeadingZero said...

Thanks for taking your time to detail your experience with the Sansa View so thoroughly, both here and on the Sandisk forum. I've been keeping an eye on its development, hoping that the View would prove to be exactly the digital audio player I'd been dreaming of.

My requirements are support for Rhapsody & Audible services, gapless playback, reasonably wide codec support and general reliability. Clearly, it fails to meet all of these expectations due to the current state of the firmware.

Hopefully, Sandisk will address the product's shortcomings in coming months. The pressure from users like you should help keep them on target.

Klarth Lester said...

I bought the 8 GB version a couple of days ago from Circuit City. I won't say it's working perfectly, but so far it works for me.

I am sorry it didn't work out for you. Maybe once the firmware updates start rolling out, it will work better, and you may decide to give it another try.

Mark A. Ziesemer said...

klarth - I definitely haven't given up hope yet. Just as you said, I'm hopefully awaiting some major firmware updates - or possibly even better, a Rockbox release!

I will concede, I'm probably being a bit more picky than the typical user. However, I expect something that I'm going to be happy with, and for things to generally "work". As outlined in the linked forum post, I and other users have definitely encountered a number of issues that simply aren't resolved - at least not yet.

Kingsokfe said...

I am looking for something very similar. have you tried any other alternative, would you recommend any.

Mark A. Ziesemer said...

Kingsokfe - No, I haven't tried anything else yet. I've just been making do with my laptop and the radio for now.