first take SanDisk adds to the successful e200 series with the world's highest-capacity flash player.
Anything tagged with the phrase "world's biggest" tends to be worthy of fascination for the average Australian -- think of the hordes of visitors that flock to the Big Merino and the Big Banana. SanDisk's new Sansa e280, the flash MP3 player with the world's biggest capacity, is no exception.
The 8GB e280 is the latest in SanDisk's Sansa e200 series, which created a stir with an anti-iPod marketing campaign that portrayed owners of the little white player as mindless sheep and monkeys. Although the wannabe-rebel advertising seemed a bit try-hard to us, we stopped complaining when we reviewed the 2GB e250. A feature-packed model with a simple, elegant design, the player impressed us with its sharp-looking video, simple drag-and-drop software interface and attractive price.
Like the other models in the e200 range, the e280 features a MicroSD card slot, allowing for an additional 2GB storage. A flash player with 10GB of memory overall -- not too shabby.
The biggest shortcoming we can see is that the e280 does not support the AAC file format, meaning those who have purchased a wealth of songs from the iTunes Music Store will not be able to transfer them to the player.
Also, when we reviewed the e250, the mechanical scroll wheel required a bit of pressure, and was noticeably inferior to touch-sensitive navigation methods such as that of the iPod family.
SanDisk has raised the bar with the e280 -- the iPod Nano, which maxes out at 4GB, lacks an expansion slot, and is incapable of video playback, FM reception and voice recording -- is beginning to look pretty plain by comparison.
The e280 is set to hit the Australian market in Q4 of 2006. Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but with SanDisk today announcing price drops for the entire e200 series (flash memory is cheap when you make it yourself), it's likely to be affordable for the average punter.
SanDisk Sansa e280 (8GB)