Sandisk Sansa Fuze review
Sandisk's latest update to the Fuze player sounds good but an awkward touch interface makes it a pale shadow of the previous model.
Review Date: 25 Nov 2010
Price when reviewed: £69
Reviewed By: Kat Orphanides
We've always liked Sandisk's Sansa MP3 players, with their no-frills combination of a simple interface, low prices and great audio quality. With the Fuze+, Sandisk has revamped its popular Fuze MP3 player by adding touchpad controls. Unfortunately, the new control system is so poorly designed that it seriously detracts from what would otherwise be a good device.
The positioning of the touch-sensitive spots is indicated by silver icons printed on a panel below the 2.4in screen. Unfortunately, with neither texturing nor haptic feedback to distinguish the touch-sensitive areas, it's impossible to tell where you're pressing unless you're looking at the player. Even when we were, our fingers tended to slip across the glossy surface, making it far too easy to accidentally hit the wrong touch-key.
This is a great shame, because the player's audio quality is excellent, once you've replaced the uncomfortable and muddy-sounding earbuds, at least. The default audio settings provide a good balance of bass, treble and mid-range sound, although the player is rather quiet. That's fine if you have headphones with good sound isolation, but could be a problem when using earbuds in a loud environment. Video quality on the tiny screen was fine, but format support is highly-limited and some of our larger test files, only 170MB, made the player reset every time we tried to open the video menu. Because the player can't do video playlists and couldn't play our large extra-long test video, we were unable to accurately measure its video battery life.
It's possible to get used to the touchpad interface, but it's never going to be as simple or straightforward to use as either a full touchscreen or traditional buttons. With so many excellent MP3 players on the market, there's no reason to buy the Fuze+ over its better-designed competitors. If you’re looking for a low-cost MP3 player, then consider Sandisk’s own Sansa Clip+ (below // http://www.expertreviews.co.uk/mp3-players/274384/sandisk-sansa-clip-4gb)
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