Sandisk Sansa View

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Sandisk Sansa View

Pros

  • Easy-to-use raised click wheel, surprisingly clear sound and vibrant screen

Cons

  • Unintuitive menu navigation, no charger or cables aside from USB connection

Bottom Line

Despite our qualms regarding its internal menus, the Sansa View is a well-rounded portable player with an attractive design, good colour quality, and clear sound.

Would you buy this?

Available in pricey 8GB ($150), 16GB ($200), and 32GB ($350) capacities, the sleek player delivered vibrant colour and overall video sharpness on its 2.4-inch (320x240-pixel) screen. We liked the smaller, slim design, too, which reminded us more of the Motorola Slvr than of the 80GB iPod. The Sansa View fits easily into a pocket, and the slightly rubberised backing felt sturdy, which is good if you drop things frequently. We were a little miffed, however, when we read in the start guide that "The computer must be on for most USB ports to charge your battery". Indeed, the Sansa View did not charge while the computer was shut off – and the only other way to charge the battery is to use an AC adapter or a car adapter, neither of which is included.

Initially we had a little trouble getting the Sansa View to snap out of the 'Connected' screen, but once we did we were pleasantly surprised by the clear and even sound quality. In our lab tests, the unit's signal-to-noise ratio (where a higher number means a cleaner signal) tested to be an excellent 84dB – well ahead of even the 80dB achieved by Microsoft's 8GB Zune Red. Unfortunately, the included ear buds didn't cancel background noise, so we had to keep the volume turned up higher than preferred.

The raised, rotating thumbwheel was extremely fluid in use, but we had to endure many stop-and-go attempts at navigating the menus, which were somewhat unintuitive. It also took us a few minutes to figure out how to set the View to 'Shuffle' mode, as the default setting was to repeat a single song. The Sansa View's built-in FM radio tuner (with up to 20 station presets) was more straightforward to use.

Transferring songs via the drag-and-drop method was painless; and though using Windows Media Player 11 was a little more involved, it has the benefit of syncing entire playlists. Finally, the Sansa View supports a number of digital video download/rental services, including Amazon Unbox, Atom Films, Guba and MovieLink.

Despite our qualms regarding its internal menus, the Sansa View is a well-rounded portable player with an attractive design, good colour quality, and clear sound.

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