The market for standalone music players seems to be in three segments at the moment. There are multi-GB players on which you can store your entire music collection, small memory players designed for a few favourite tracks of the moment, and, sitting in between there are players of 512MB and 1GB which allow you to carry enough music for a weekend or even a week away.
This middle category is awash with products, and to be a success players need to meet a lot of criteria. They need to be small in size so that they are no trouble to tote, offer good quality sound, be easy to use both within themselves and for data transfer and to come in at an attractive price. Good looks help too of course. It’s a tall order. So how does the Sansa, the new player from data storage specialist SanDisk meet these criteria?
The Sansa comes in two versions. I tried the 1GB version, coloured iPod-ish white and silver. The 512MB version has a slightly different name – it is the Sansa e130 – but shares all the characteristics of this one except for its colour and less generous storage memory.
SanDisk has been pretty shrewd to include an SD card slot in the Sansa. Currently this means you can double the e140’s capacity for about £50. If SD cards continue to be popular and capacities to rise, the ratio of money to memory should go in the user’s favour allowing this player to grow with your needs. Rather a clever wheeze, that.
Getting music onto the e140 was no trouble at all. Connecting the player to my PC with the supplied USB 2.0 cable caused it to show up as a drive, to which music was easily copied. For similarly quick-fire song transfer it was easy to pop an SD card into my laptop and copy files. The player supports MP3 and WMA file types as well as Audible files for the spoken word. There’s also an FM radio with 20 presets and a stopwatch.