Hands-on review: SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ MP3 player

Last week, SanDisk debuted the Sansa Fuze+ MP3 player. Here's the hands-on review.
Written by Rachel King, Contributor

Last week, SanDisk debuted the Sansa Fuze+ MP3 player. Here's the hands-on review.


First thing: hook up the Sansa Fuze+ to your computer with the included USB 2.0 plug to charge the battery. Compatible with computers running Windows, Mac or Linux, the Sansa Fuze+ supports syncing with several music programs, including Napster and Rhapsody. Unfortunately, there isn't another charging option, and your computer has to be on. So if you plan to travel far with this MP3 player, make sure a computer isn't far behind.

If you don't want to or can't use one of these programs for syncing your media files, you should be able to open the Sansa Fuze+ drive directly and drop files into the conveniently-named, preloaded folders (i.e. "Music").

Along with slots for microSDHC (up to 16GB) and slotRadio cards, the Sansa Fuze+ sports a 2.4-inch color QVGA LCD touchscreen. It's a bit small for video playback, but it's something. The built-in mic (which is incredibly easy to miss) is right next to the headphones jack at the bottom of the device.

Here's the list of codecs supported by the Sansa Fuze+ so you know them upfront:

  • Audio: MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC/M4A, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Audible, Secure WMA, Podcasts
  • Video: H.264, MPEG-4, WMV, Flip Video
  • Photos: JPEG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, PNG

When finished syncing, don't forget to properly eject both the Sansa Fuze+ and the SlotRadio drives from your computer to prevent future damage.

To turn the device on and off, there is a large silver button on the top of the Sansa Fuze+. The screen isn't actually touch-operated, but rather the bottom panel. Navigating with this set-up isn't the easiest process. The play/pause button, as well as the back arrow button, are simple and quick enough, but the large cross in the middle takes some practice.

If you tap your index finger from left to right, it scrolls smoothly. In the opening home menu, the up/down motion doesn't do anything. To select something, you have to tap the center of the cross navigation tool.

The video and picture quality is smooth and clear, although the movie clips were a bit faded on the color spectrum. Audio recording is also refreshingly clear for an MP3 player, as this tends to be a secondary or tertiary feature without much attention devoted to it. Make sure you wear headphones at the same time to get an idea of how the recording sounds while in the process.


One of the niftier features was the FM radio. Users can preset up to 10 stations, and the Sansa Fuze+ scrolls automatically to valid channels for you with a very clear transmission. But if you scroll too fast, it tends to miss a lot. But you can also record radio content like old school mixed tapes directly to the Fuze+. Another facet I also appreciate about the radio and MP3 player is that both continue to stream songs while scrolling throughout the menus.

Volume control can be adjusted by the silver buttons on the left side of the device, thankfully. There are eight volume levels, each with incremental sub-levels, which is pretty helpful for getting just the right sound.

The included headphones aren't the greatest in either comfort or sound quality, but a step up from something you'd get for free on an airplane. If you plan to use the Sansa Fuze+ frequently for exercise or whatnot, you might want to spring for a better and more active headset.


There are five external paint jobs to choose from: red, white, black, blue and purple. The Sansa Fuze+ is available now in 4GB, 8GB and 16GB capacities for $79, $89 and $119 respectively. There are certainly plenty of useful features on this ultra-compact and light MP3 player. With these price tags, the Sansa Fuze+ would make an especially good companion for students.

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