"e250 - Sorry I can't agree with the editors rating"2.5 starson by whftherb
Pros: Good sound, small frame, lightweight, Micro SD card
Cons: Woeful software, USB port only, difficult to manage
Summary: Sorry Guys! I don't see the 8.3 rating here at all. I've had mine for about 6 days at this writing. I'm happy with the size - truly a shirtpocket's dream. The controls aren't that bad and the buttons are a mite difficult to "find" as they're below the profile of the wheel. But it takes some getting used to. The audio level is about perfect - some good "punch" in there.
Where this unit goes south is the management of the system itself, loading of songs and playlist controls. I hope Sansa gets someone to write some software for it because using WMP 10 is a frustrating experience. Users will find that turning on a fully loaded unit will take on average as much as 45 secs or more to "Refresh Database". A pain - When I use mine now I just leave it play knowing I'll miss some songs as I'm in and out of the car a lot (Note you have to buy the cassette adapter separately). Now without specially written software handlers you're forced into using something like WMP. I'm sure Microsoft didn't know exactly what flash players were going to look and feel like so let's not be too harsh. Buyers should note that just adding songs to the e250 can be a trial and error extravaganza. You have to know for example, that if your already existing WMP playlists have duplicate songs in them which is not unusual, the e250/WMP combination will let you accrete duplicates to the memory with no warning (a potential waste of space). OK, not a big issue for most except the big drawback with this is that there is no on-board deletion facility on the e250 - meaning that in order to merely remove one or two songs, you have to connect the thing up and yes, wait another 45 seconds for "Refresh Database". After the deletion takes place, disconnecting often invokes another "Refresh Database" as well. So all this makes you think seriously about going through this torture just to erase something. You cannot move a song from one playlist to another playlist either nor can you add songs to playlists solely by the e250. When it's connected to the USB port for any purpose, play will stop and you'll have no e250 until you disconnect it. It has something called a "Go" playlist where you can quickly poke in songs from the overall list or a playlist but you have to play the song first before moving it. This takes more time again and interrupts what listening you are doing when setting up a Go. A Go list also clears completely when a synch is performed - so don't spend a lot of effort setting up a nice list there. I wish I understood why the e250 puts each artist in his/her own Windows folder. When you "explore" the '250 you find a bewildering supply of folders that you have to individually open sometimes 2-3 layers deep to see what songs are contained therein. Oh, don't forget you have to set it to MSC mode before you use the explore interface 'cause you'll wind up having to disconnect it which will cause a "Refresh Database". Isn't this fun? Small item - Right now my e250 tells me there are 583 songs on board - WMP can only find 109 of them. And synching with WMP can be a real headscratcher - especially if you turn on automatic synch. I had playlist A, B and C on my computer and chose to synch A - this went OK. So I went back in to synch B and C only to find that when I'd deselected A in WMP, it in fact automatically took A completely out. You have to remember to keep the ones you want synched checked on all the time. I've disabled auto-sych now so I have more control. Would have been nice to know that beforehand but the lack of instructions for the whole system just adds to the steepness of the learning curve. Buyers will find that after a pause which exceeds the auto-shut down threshold (which is settable) the e250 has to be turned back on and... yes, wait another 45 seconds plus to "Refresh Database". With all this synching, I've had numerous occasions where I select a song out of the overall list only to find the e250 playing the selection just above or below the target. When this happens, the only out is to turn it off and on and, well, you probably guessed it... I inserting a 1 gB MicroSD and haven't yet figured out how to populate it with song material. Once I reach the 2 gB limit on board I'm told no more songs can be added. No documentation, no instructions. The e250 is married to the USB port. If you don't have one on your machine don't get this one! I don't know why they couldn't have sprung for a "wall wart" power supply either.
In sum, I was very happy with it at first because it was cool and now that I've used it some, I'm seriously thinking of taking it back before my 30 day trial is up. Sorry Guys - I give it a 5.