It also has an FM tuner, another surprising inclusion in a player at this price, considering the extra tax the EU imposes on players with built-in FM tuners. You also get an external microphone and, to top it all, on-the-fly playlist creation. This is a feature we’d like to see more of but it’s still missing on the majority of players. It’s not perfectly implemented here – you have to be playing a track in order to add it to the player’s ‘Go List’, so you can’t queue up tracks as you can with the Trekstor Vibez, for example – but it’s still a feature that’s nice to have.
But it’s not just the specifications that set the Express apart from the crowd. As with all SanDisk players, it is nicely made and well put-together. The mirror-effect front panel and OLED display look particularly swish together and the rubberised four-way selection pad is much more pleasant to use than the controls on either the Sony NW-E015 or the fiddly Zen Stone Plus. Don’t expect navigating long lists of albums or tracks to be easy, however. As with most small players with tiny screens, this can be laborious on the Express.
Obviously the Express is larger than either the Shuffle and Zen Stone Plus too, but this does have its advantages. There’s that screen first of all, but also an integrated USB connector that allows you to charge the player and add files directly without the need for an extra cable. On that note, it’s also worth mentioning that you can simply drag tracks straight onto the Express, or simply use Windows Media Player to sync your music – you’re not forced to use proprietary software as you are with Sony NW-E015.