SanDisk Sansa View Flash-Based MP3 Player
At a Glance
SanDisk Sansa View
This player’s vibrant screen and superior sound are offset by a somewhat high price and quirky menus.
Though I've previously pledged my allegiance to iPod, I'm always on the lookout for hot products, and I had high hopes for SanDisk's Sansa View.
Available in pricey 8GB ($150), 16GB ($200), and 32GB ($350) capacities, the sleek player delivered vibrant color and overall video sharpness on its 2.4-inch (320-by-240-pixel) screen. I liked the smaller, slim design, too, which reminded me more of my Motorola Slvr than of my 80GB iPod. The Sansa View fits easily into a pocket, and the slightly rubberized backing felt sturdy in my hands, which is good since I drop things frequently. I was a little miffed, however, when I 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 my 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 I had a little trouble getting the Sansa View to snap out of the 'Connected' screen, but once I did I was pleasantly surprised by the clear and even sound quality. In our PC World lab tests, the unit's signal-to-noise ratio (where a higher number means a cleaner signal) tested to be an excellent 84 dB--well ahead of even the 80 dBb achieved by Microsoft's 8GB Zune Red. Unfortunately, the included earbuds didn't cancel background noise, so I had to keep the volume turned up higher than I prefer.
The raised, rotating thumbwheel was extremely fluid in use, but I had to endure many stop-and-go attempts at navigating the menus, which were somewhat unintuitive. It also took me 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 my qualms regarding its internal menus, the Sansa View is a well-rounded portable player with an attractive design, good color quality, and clear sound.