QJ Review: SanDisk Sansa e200

Sansa e200

SanDisk, who we all know because of their memory cards and such, is back with another MP3 player. This media player, the Sansa e200, launched at CES this year along with another smaller player that has the same kind of design; the c100.

The difference between the line of products and the older ones like the e100 and such is very big. You can clearly see SanDisk is going for it now, and that’s why they recently got second in the MP3 player market (behind Apple obviously). The new type of design and build quality, but also the colours fit perfectly with the players.

As said above a few times, the player is packed with features. It has a microSD expansion slot, a song rating system, video support, image support, FM radio, user-removable or replaceable battery, preset equalizer, recording speech, hold (of course), and compatibility with a lot of music subscription services like PlayForSure. The player comes in three versions; 2GB ($140), 4GB ($180) and 6GB ($210). They’re all the same, except for the memory size of course. There’s a unique thing about the 6GB version – it’s, at the moment, the flash-based player with the most memory capacity in the world.

As you may know the Sansa e200 has been quoted as the ‘nano killer’ many times. This is because of its size (both memory wise and dimension wise) and features, such as the typical play list feature that too much other MP3 players lack. But the thing is, the e200 has so much more than the iPod nano, and overall may be a better choice too.

You recharge the unit with a USB cable, which may be a problem when on vacation, but there is an optional AC adapter that you can buy. Of course the iPod nano has the same problem when it comes right out of the box. Recharging goes very fast, it every time you put some files on it, it’s recharging automatically as well. When fully charged the lithium ion battery can play around 20 hours of music.
Sansa e200
Fortunately the USB cable is 2.0 so you won’t have to wait a week for your whole music collection to upload. Uploading for music and videos goes on an average speed, but it’s not too fast. One song takes about 2 seconds or so. Codecs supported for audio are: MP3, WMA and Secure WMA, for photo: JPEG, TIFF, PNG, BMP, GIF and video supports AVI, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, VOB, MPEG-4 AVI, DAT, ASF, QuickTime MOV and WMV, although sometimes you’ll have to convert it (software included).

Now, about the design. Simply put; the design is awesome. It has about the same height as the iPod nano (3.5 in), and is about two times as thick (0.5 in). The Sansa e200 has a metal back casing so you won’t see any scratches there, and since the front has very hard plastic it’s difficult to scratch that too (note like we tried or anything). The TFT screen is 1.8 inches, which is a bit bigger than the nano. The screen is very bright, crisp and clear but video can only display 220×176 and 65,000 colours. SanDisk does mention that they might release a new version some day that can display up to 250k colours.

The menu is some sort of circle, and can be navigated by rotating the tactile scroll wheel, which also lights up when activated. About the buttons. They’re a little jiggly at times. You have the scroll wheel which isn’t a button, but the four buttons around it can be hard to press if you aren’t a 6-year old kid with little thumbs. The button in the middle of the scroll wheel is obviously very easy and is used for most of the controls, so you won’t use those other too much.

Besides those buttons there’s a menu button, a hold button and a recording button on the left side of the unit. Just press it at any time and it records. Done. It may be a pity that it’s a WAV file, because that’s not the best quality you can get.

Video is a cool feature but isn’t a must for this device. As said above you can convert pretty much anything to MPEG to play on the e200, but it’s only at 15 frames per second and it’s not that big of a screen, so it’s not really enjoyable. Photos are nice though. You can even view those during some music.

The expansion slot for microSD cards can hold up to about 2GB of memory, but unfortunately it only supports music, so it’s not really necessary to buy it since it’s a hassle to bring it with you all the time. Plus, it’s not the cheapest memory card format out there at the moment.

As said, the firmware supports a preset equalizer for your songs. There are seven presets, but we found it wasn’t very necessary all the time. Normal mode was still better. Presets are: Normal, Rock, Pop, Jazz, Classic, Funk, Hip Hop and Dance. It’s also time-consuming to change it all the time, because you can’t set them for specific songs. Though if you only have jazz music in your library, it may be handy.

The package includes anything you need to play the thing right out of the box. Earphones, travel pouch, USB adaptor, extended string for on the neck, extra earphone fuzzy thingies (shells I guess?), and some other stuff like the manual and CD. That’s right, the Sansa e200 is one hell of a device. Want me to list all the features once again? Voice recording – FM tuner – Audio, Video, Photo – Preset equalizer – User-removable battery – Song rating – Custom playlist – USB rechargeable – microSD expansion slot – 20 hours of battery life – Upgradable firmware – Much more…

All in all, it’s quite cheap compared to other devices, and if I had to choose between a 4GB iPod nano ($250) and the Sansa e260, which is also 4GB and retails for about $180, I’d definitely go for the Sansa.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *