Sansa Fuze 4GB Media Player

n today’s review I’m taking a look at the Sansa Fuze 4GB Media Player. This player has been around for a while and is now making the rounds in the closeout and refurb market, often at a substantial discount over the original, $100+, retail price. Is it worth spending $30-50 dollars on it. How does it perform? What should you watch out for with this player? How about the features? Let’s find out…

Review continued below…

I’ve owned several Sansa MP3 Players and the Fuze 4GB Media Player has also worked out rather well for me. The player has a rubberized grip surface on the back that makes it less likely to slip from your hand and to not go flying all under the seat when you’re using it while driving. Speaking of using it while driving, the on screen user interface and the clickwheel interface are easy to use. With a little practice you can operate it by touch without any problem.

In terms of features, the Sansa Fuze 4GB Media Player will play MP3’s and WMA’s, including protected WMAs. It will also play subscription songs from services like Rhapsody, an important feature to me. The player also has a FM radio with 40 channel presets as well as voice recording (I don’t use these features myself). While it does have video support for MPEG-4 files, really, who wants to watch low quality video on a 220 x 176 pixel screen? The memory can be expanded by plugging in a microSD card. However, this memory isn’t shared with the onboard memory and can’t be used with subscription or protected downloads, limiting its usefulness.

The overall sound quality of the Sansa Fuze Media Player is quite good. Of course, the quality you get depends on the file compression and other factors. The built in EQ settings help compensate somewhat but don’t expect a full audiophile experience from it. The earbud headphones that are usually provided with the unit are OK but I prefer to swap them out with better quality headphones. The life of the rechargeable lithium-ion battery is around 18-20 hours for me. Sansa says 24 hours but this seems to be a bit of a stretch. There is a 8GB model around so if you need more memory, see if you can find it for about $20-30 more than the 4GB unit.

One thing I don’t like about the Sansa Fuze is that it uses a proprietary USB cable instead of the standard mini-USB. In the past, there have been problems with firmware updates not working. You’ll probably see this mentioned in other, older, reviews. I am happy to say that Sandisk seems to be issuing much better updates these days. Even my older Sansa Rhapsody player was brought back to life with a good update (finally!).

Unless you’re married to the more expensive Apple iPod and iTunes route, I highly recommend the Sansa Fuze 4GB Media Player. I do recommend that you check any seller out that you buy from to insure that they have a good return policy, especially if you’re buying a refurbished or used player. Also make sure the cable is included in the package since it is a proprietary one.

 


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31 Comments »

Comment by Used Tires
2009-09-01 22:53:51

Is it easy to get this player to be able to play in your car?

Thanks,

Jean

Comment by jfc
2009-09-02 16:10:35

Hi Jean,

It does good in the car. You will need to have an MP3 or audio input jack (what I use), a cassette adapter or a FM transmitter. I recommend the direct audio jack for the best sound.

You will also want to play around with the EQ settings since for headphones the bass is usually boosted too high for your average car stereo system and may cause some rattle.

Comment by Used Tires
2009-09-08 17:34:34

Thanks for the feedback jfc, perhaps during Christmas time I may get one of these, I’ve never had an iPod before, but for me this seems like the better solution =D

Till then,

Jean

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Comment by Marketing Man
2009-10-01 14:58:15

If you do not do that, the rattle will soon lead to blown speakers, so do take heed of this piece of advice folks! If your car sound system makes rattling or scratching noises it is time to turn down the volume & re-adjust your bass and treble settings, otherwise you’ll be in the market for new speakers real soon!

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Comment by Cyrus Black
2009-09-02 06:58:13

Given the discount, is not expensive, I think for that kind of money can buy.

 
Comment by Briefcases
2009-09-02 16:20:21

Personally I don’t see myself settling for the Fuze over an iPod. It sounds like a handy little mp3 player, but at at 4gb it just isn’t adequate.

Comment by jfc
2009-09-02 20:50:40

Hi Briefcases,

The main thing I like about most of the Sansas is subscription music model where I can pay $15 a month for as many songs as I want vs. paying 99 cents or so for each song I download with iTunes/iPod.

Of course, this is a flash memory based player, just like the iPod Nano. Since this Sansa is in about the same generation as the 3rd gen Nano, 4GB is the typical memory size. Larger capacity flash players are coming onto the market now so that’s why you can buy an older model at a substantial discount right now.

 
 
Comment by Marketing Man
2009-09-03 05:07:43

Whilst the iPod is an aspirational device not everybody can afford the very best all the time. Sometimes it is more about functionality and a good price going hand in hand, and this unit is a perfect example of that. I do like the idea of paying a flat rate of $15 for unlimited songs rather that the 99c per song iTunes rate myself.

 
Comment by Lorecee
2009-09-05 18:03:29

Well, I seem to be getting dragged from the Mac side to the PC, little by little, kicking and screaming all the way, mostly because of my IM work. Very few of the standard IM software programs (BMD, SEO Elite) work on a Mac. I like having 8gb of memory in my player so I can copy my CDs.

It’s funny how since music went to the internet, people tend to think in terms of songs now instead of “albums.” I miss the storytelling aspect of the album format–think of Darkness on the Edge of Town, or After the Gold Rush, or Blood on the Tracks. (I’m showing my age.)

Comment by Marketing Man
2009-09-13 03:18:16

It is actually quite amazing how the advent of music downloads has presented both wider coverage, yet at the same time the less popular songs are getting heard less too. In the old days you had to purchase an entire album, so invariably the more obscure material got heard too, which is not the case with single song downloads. In a way one can compare then to seven singles.

 
 
Comment by Love Graphics
2009-09-07 22:25:52

I agree it’s not a bad price, and it looks great. Also glad to hear it works with ease in your car.

 
Comment by social phobia
2009-09-08 21:55:56

Pretty good price. I might end up having to buy one of these as a gift for someone…

 
Comment by Back Acne Cures
2009-09-10 06:13:01

there are so many kinds of media players it’s so hard to choose one!

-James

Comment by Citroen C5 Review
2009-12-19 02:06:15

No it isn’t, Ipod is the best :P

 
 
Comment by Current Health News
2009-09-18 12:11:03

I purchased a Fuze specifically to watch videos on my tv but I cannot figure out how to do it…I bought a Sansa cable and it says it is only for Sansa View? Is there something else I need or is it even possible with the Fuze?

Comment by used tires
2009-09-18 22:11:55

@Current Health News, Try hitting up a forum dedicated to the Fuze, I am positive you will have much better luck there finding a solution =D

Till then,

Jean

 
 
Comment by Idiot Proof Diet
2009-09-19 13:30:05

Promising something and delivering something else in gadgets which annoys me most. As you have stated the battery life is 18-20 hrs and they are saying its 24 hrs. So this is where this upsets the users like me who are always on a lookout for gadget hunt.

Anyways thanks for the great insight of the Sansa Fuze 4GB Media Player.

 
Comment by TV Spoilers
2009-10-02 19:42:29

Glad to hear you like it.
I have always been comfortable with the Sansa brand and am too clumsy and careless to justify paying hundreds on an iPod.
I can even use the video to store training clips for my gym workouts.
I already have a collection of microSD cards so I’m not worried about memory.
I’m not happy about that proprietary USB cable so I hope you can still purchase them separately?

Edie

 
Comment by HeightWeightChart
2009-10-04 01:41:05

One reason why a 4GB media player such as the Sansa Fuze is a good buy is that it can pretty much play popular video and music formats like what the iPods can. The only thing that Sansa Fuze 4GB Media Player lacks is storage capacity. With growing need for more space to store our favorite songs and video clips, a 4GB media player simply won’t be enough.Not too bad because i am still able to save 8 albums of select MP3 files.

 
Comment by id
2009-10-09 15:15:52

Personally i recommend Cowon products. I have used iaudio f2 series and it had 4 gb capacity. I paid 70$ to get it and it was quite useful with quality sound. By combining it with EP630 you will get better sound.

 
Comment by Lucidica
2009-10-16 06:58:29

I love the iPod but I hate iTunes so I always had a problem. Never really heard of Sanza or Fuze but they look pretty sweet. Great review as always.

 
Comment by ATV
2009-11-04 18:25:58

I hadn’t even heard of this MP3 player anymore. I guess it’s mostly because I don’t use my own MP3 player much anymore. It got much more use when I was younger and more active.

 
Comment by SirNicolaus
2009-11-05 20:31:15

I Love ipods too… and hate itunes too. :( i have the 1gb sanza… it isn’t that nice but it is super small and has display! unlike the shuffle!!! thanks

SirNicolaus

 
Comment by Consumer Reviews
2009-11-11 20:28:45

I think its worth it if you don’t have a need for thousands of songs on an MP3 player. But if u have a phone that holds a memory card slot, that might be a better option.
-Jack

 
Comment by Berg
2009-11-12 23:35:54

A friend told me he got his at half price with a sale on sale purchase. Must be at the end of its life cycle. Says it gets the job done and no issues so far.

 
2009-11-14 07:25:17

I haven’t tried for such great media player. But I would like to use such one sansa fuze as it looks great at its features.

 
Comment by La Digue
2009-11-18 01:04:41

The Sansa Fuze can definitely be a try since, as you explained it delivers good sound and is rather cheap compared to the Ipod. The proprietary USB cable is definitely not an advantage. I am a fan of devices with standard connections.

 
Comment by Corporate training
2009-12-07 07:01:02

I find those new players a little bit too complicated for me, but I surely can appreciate all those new functions and ideas. Still, after first mp3 players showed up I’m waiting for new technological evolution that will five us something new. I wonder what it will be, and what it will do. Right about now? 4GB device few years ago was just a dream.

 
2009-12-08 05:47:52

Awesome piece and very fair price with fantastic features. lovely model.

 
Comment by Boxing Bags
2009-12-26 17:00:30

Thanks for the good review - I am pretty loyal to my ipod but for this price it might come in handy as a back up mp3 player!

 
Comment by Burr grinders
2010-01-10 17:03:54

At Sanza Fuze I especially love having so many of my favorite songs at my fingertips, and the size and weight are great advantages for my upcoming vacation, as I will be traveling by bus, and this is alot less cumbersome than my old CD player and 40 CDs would’ve been. The graphics are easy to understand, and the red color is so me!

 
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