SanDisk Sansa View

There’s no doubt that SanDisk surprised competitors, journalists and consumers alike when it launched the Sansa e260 back in June last year. The e260 turned out to be better than anyone had expected and actually proved to be the most serious competitor to the iPod nano! Now SanDisk is building on the success of the e260 with a couple of great looking additions to the Sansa range, the first of which is the Sansa View.

As its name suggests, the Sansa View focuses on video, but unlike many of the existing portable media players, the Sansa View doesn’t have a hard disk lurking inside it. Like the Sansa e260 before it, the Sansa View looks superb, with the large 4in widescreen TFT display dominating the device. There are three buttons stacked vertically down each side of the screen, but their near flush mounting means that they don’t interrupt the smooth and sleek lines.

The Sansa View is the first portable media player that actually looks as good as a Sony PSP, while having the advantage of being considerable smaller – 123 x 78.5 x 17mm (WxHxD).

Although the Sansa View doesn’t have an internal hard disk, it does have 8GB of integrated flash storage, and this can be augmented by utilising the SD card slot. The aforementioned slot can accept SDHC cards too, so you can easily slap another 4GB in, while 8GB SDHC cards shouldn’t be too far off now.

The Sansa View supports WMV, MPEG-4 XviD (DivX support is being certified) and AVC H.264. It will also playback music in both WMA and MP3 formats, while happily displaying JPEG images on that lovely screen.

The View ships with a docking station in the box – this will charge the device, connect it to your PC via USB and also allow you to output your video direct to a TV. According to the press release the View can pump video to a TV up to a resolution of 1080i, but no one from SanDisk could confirm what type of interface the player would use to achieve this – I’ll let you know as soon as I find out though.

You’ll get about four hours of video playback or 10 hours of music from the View on a single battery charge, which is pretty good. Even better is the fact that the Li-Polymer battery is removable and can be changed by the user on the fly. So, if you happen to be stuck on a long haul flight, you can always carry a spare battery to keep you going. There will also be an extended battery available, but SanDisk couldn’t tell me how much of an improvement this would bring.

The Sansa View will launch in the US during the first quarter of 2007 with a recommended retail price of $299. The device should hit UK shores at the end of Q1, and I imagine we can expect a direct Dollar to Pound Conversion resulting in a £299 price point.

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