"Great features for the price - fragile front plastic face"4.0 starson by gr33nman
Pros: Fantastic display - reasonable room. Firmware is upgradable.
Cons: The video conversion software is embarrassing for Sansa. While it looks sturdy, the front plastic is fragile.
Summary: Sansa e250 - A customer Review
This is a great unit. With all its foibles I'd buy it again just because it does so much more than other similar machines at the same price break. Menu setup is easy to figure out without a manual. Please understand that while what I say below sounds negative, it's still an excellent machine. These are things you'll want to consider before you buy it. I'm betting other machines aren't nearly as advanced. I'm hoping Sandisk will see this review and attempt to make changes in future firmware updates.
Sound is clear. Between tracks you can hear a high-pitched chirping noise that sounds "charmingly" like a CD player deciding what song it will play next. Albums do not play through directly, but leave gaps between each song along with that lovely "cd chirp."
It takes about 30 seconds for the unit to boot.
While the unit feels substantial in the hand, the plastic of the display face is very delicate. Think of it like a cd crystal case only smaller. I bought the silicone holder to protect it, and was taking it off to get a closer look at the microSD slot, when it fell about six inches to a hard surface. It didn't fall on the front side, but that's what ended up cracking - right in front of the display. Don't put this unit in your jeans pocket. Just sitting could crack the front. They can make a cellphone that doesn't break when you drop it from desk height to the floor. They should do likewise with mp3 players. Mine only dropped six inches.
The voice recorder is okay. Don't expect to do much more than keep audio notes. I recorded full conversations on a class trip to a forest with some success, but it's unlikely that you will be able to prove that you heard the endangered Ivory-billed Woodpecker with this unit.
The video conversion tool is ultimately useless. It doesn't recognize some mp4 docs. Bulk conversion can only be achieved with whatever space you have left on the unit. You can't just designate a place on your computer hard-drive for converted movies. A 100MB PhotoshopTV podcast (higher resolution, better quality sound) got tranlated into FIVE files that were directly uploaded to the machine. You would think with the resultant video being less than half the original pixel dimensions, you'd get a 20MB to 50MB file. Instead it balloons into 5 segmented files, 4 of which were 127MB. Sound was seriously downgraded to boot. Files would not play consecutively and froze during and between segments. Find another tool to convert your files because this one is more than entirely lame. Sandisk should be embarrassed for having even included it.
The ear buds are very uncomfortable and don't fit at all ergonomically - and I don't have small ear canals, but they emit superb quality sound. If you don't want sore ears, be prepared to buy another pair of ear buds.
There should be a 'stop' button. I don't want to just mute the radio. I don't want to just pause the mp3. I like that you can pause mid-song, turn off the unit, turn it back on, unpause the song and continue from where you were. I don't like that it doesn't remember the volume you were listening at. Volume returns to the default center setting every time you turn off the unit. There is a 'normal' and 'high' volume setting in the 'Settings' mode. The unit comes at default setting 'high.' I'm not sure this really does anything. It might have been better to include a default volume bar setting. The volume bar is controlled by the dial with thirty distinct volume levels. With the bar all the way to the left it's mute, but still playing. They've wasted the next setting level on the bar because it also is mute. The next tick on the bar is too loud for listening in a very quiet room or if you want to listen to music while you sleep. I left the volume set to the default center position for several hours yesterday evening, and my ears are ringing this morning. While it may seem okay to raise the volume when you're in loud room or out in a breezy forest, you're actually stealing your hearing from when you're much older. The ipod generation is growing up deaf. If you want to hear your grandchildren laugh, keep the volume low. If you can't hear it, turn it off or hook it to external speakers.
I can selectively delete voice recordings on the unit. I should be able to selectively delete mp3's and mov's when I need to make room for more voice recordings without having to sync up to my computer. After all, they are just copies of what's on my computer anyway, right?
Time and date should be showing at all times somewhere on screen. Right now, all you can glimpse is time, and that's when nothing is playing. Why include the setting if you aren't going to display it?
While an mp3 is playing, you can toggle between the song duration bar, a live equalizer reading, and a peek at the name of the next song. You can't leave the toggle set to either of the last two. In about 7 seconds, it goes back to the duration bar. For songs that are in long folder names, you will never get to know what the name of the next song is because 7 seconds isn't long enough for the entire name to scroll by. Sansa, unless you're going to include manual equalizer settings drop the equalizer reading bar.
You can only edit the 'Go List' on the playlists from the unit. You have to actually listen to a song to add it to the Go List. Playlists are only created in Windows Media Player and can only be brought over via Sync. I want to be able to edit the play order, add, and delete items from playlists from the unit without having to do it from WMP10. I'd like to be able to rename my playlists, reorder them and play my playlists consecutively.
This unit comes with a flimsy velvet sleeve that - you guessed it - doesn't let you see the display or use the controls. Why did they even bother? Something this fragile should come with a sturdy flip-top protective arm band or a belt clip. A wall charger should also have been included with the unit.
I'd like to see this unit synced with Winamp as well as WMP10.
This is by far the most helpful webpage for anyone buying this product:
This page gives lots of information about firmware updates. You will probably need to do one.
With that said, Sandisk seems committed to getting it right. I hope future firmware updates will include the ability to play ogg and mp4 files, as well as the above suggested changes in the display interface.