What Hi Fi Sound and Vision Tue, 16 Dec 2008, 6:00pm

SanDisk Sansa View

Tested at £90
60100
3

Jack of all trades, master of none

Write your own review

For

  • Natural video playback
  • iPlayer support
  • storage is expandable

Against

  • Sluggish bass and bright treble
  • video is a touch noisy
  • click-wheel’s a bit vague

SanDisk is best known for its SD cards, but the company's also a dab hand at producing affordable and flexible portable players. The View is one of the latest models in the Sansa range.

Where the similarly affordable Sony and Creative units opt for ultra-compact designs, the Sansa is a more substantial, video-friendly unit, thanks to its comparatively large 2.4in display.

The rest of the casing looks like cool metal, but turns out to be glossy plastic. This doesn't detract from a general feeling of decent build and solidity, however.

Turn the unit on and the outline of the large click-wheel is illuminated in rather blinging, but not unattractive blue light.

Pleasingly simple layout

The home screen is rather sparse and basic, but its simplicity of layout is pleasing, and scrolling through the large icons is smooth and fast, though a little inaccurate thanks to the looseness of the click-wheel.

The Sansa has good enough format compatibility, happily handling compressed MP3 and WMA, as well as uncompressed WAV, while movie formats include MPEG-4, WMV, H.264 and, crucially, iPlayer downloads.

Once again, you can use drag-and-drop or Windows Media Player to get your files on to the unit. Oh, and if you find that the 8GB storage fills up too quickly, the unit has a MicroSD card slot.

With SanDisk's own 8GB cards selling for just £13 on Amazon, doubling the capacity is very affordable.

It comes as no surprise that the Sansa's headphones are very poor, producing a sound that's terribly muddy and fat, but replace them with some quality buds and the performance is much improved.

There's some sluggishness and roundness at the bottom end, which slows down our 320kbps MP3 of Kings of Leon's Sex On Fire, and the highest notes are a touch bright, but there's reasonable detail along with decent dynamics and tonal balance.

Larger screen boasts natural images
The screen does display album artwork in pixellated fashion, but it's not awful with video.

Play the BBC's Nature's Great Events and although there's a little bit of noise, there's natural colour balance, generally smooth motion and decent punch.

True, the screen's a bit small for extended viewing, but it is bigger than that of the Apple and Sony.
The Sansa's not the trendiest choice, but it does enough to escape a panning

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