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Windows Mobile (soon to be Android), and other toys aka gadgets

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Monday, January 14, 2008
  I like the Sansa View (16GB) a lot!

I tried the third generation iPod nano (8GB), but it just did not meet my needs. I wanted a small device that had FM radio, voice recorder, and a decent size screen for viewing videos. The Archos 605 is definitely my main video device when I am not at home, but I wanted an additional small device for FM radio, and watching video podcasts while waiting for a movie, on the T (subway), waiting in a line, or other times when a smaller device would be better. I did purchase the FM/Remote accessory for the iPod. The sound quality was fine, but it was a kludgy setup, and I still did not have a voice recorder. Many are probably saying that the Sansa View is much bigger in size than the nano, and that is definitely true. However, when you add the iPod FM/Remote accessory, and a stand-alone voice recorder, the Sansa View looks much smaller than the nano. I prefer the Sansa View over the iPod nano for the following reasons:
  • The Sansa View has a 2.4" screen vs. the 2" screen on the iPod nano. Even though .4" doesn't sound like a lot, it does make a significant difference when watching video podcasts. Watching a 30 to 45 minute video podcast on the View is a more pleasant visual experience than viewing the same podcast on the nano. The nano definitely has a great screen dpi, but a 2" screen is just too small for me. The iPod Classic has a 2.5" screen, the View is only .1" smaller.

  • I like listening to FM talk radio, and the local NFL Football Team is broadcast on FM radio. I may watch the game on TV, but I enjoy listening to the pre, and post game shows on the radio. The Sansa View has a built in FM radio, the nano required an accessory that I found a bit cumbersome to deal with.

  • I like having a voice recorder with me for recording small bits of info such as a model number, price, web address, etc. I find a voice recorder easier than finding a pen/paper, or entering text into a phone or PDA. Chances are I am listening to music or FM when the need for a voice recorder arises, and it is nice to have the capability in the device I am using at the time. The nano does not have voice recorder ability, and no voice recorder accessory is available.

  • One feature of the Sansa View that I originally did not think I would use, but have found very useful is the ability to record from the FM radio. The post game football shows are two hours or more, and there are times when headphones can not be used for the full show. If I meet someone I know, or attend a movie, I will record the part of the post game football show that I would miss for later listening. I have found this to be a real nice feature. The nano does not offer FM recording.

  • The Sansa View has a micoSD slot to expand available memory. I frequently download video files, audible files, and music I have on my PC/Mac to a 2 GB card, and insert it into the View. The MicroSD expansion slot is a very fast, and convenient way to add files. The nano does not include a memory expansion slot.

  • The Sansa View can sync via Windows Media Player, or just drag/drop files via Windows File Explorer. You do not have to start Windows Media Player to use drag/drop.

  • The Sansa View can play some Windows Media, and H264 files natively without conversion. Do I wish the View supported more file formats natively? Of course I do, I wish every player I owned could play every video format, and resolution natively. If a file does need to be converted, SanDisk includes Sansa Media Converter which converts the files relatively quickly, and then transfers the files to the View's main memory, or expansion card. I have found that the Sansa Media Converter converts files as fast, or faster than other Windows/Mac conversion software I have used.

I experienced a problem with the video brightness setting. I called SanDisk technical support, and was talking to a person in less than 5 minutes. The support rep told me SanDisk was aware of the problem, and had added the fix to the latest firmware update. Since the firmware update would not be released for two weeks, the rep sent me a link via email within 15 minutes. I download the new firmware, and the video brightness problem was solved. Thank you SanDisk for an excellent tech support experience. My call to SanDisk tech support was the best tech support I have experienced in the last 10 years.


Helpful Hint - I am a big fan of Audible books, so one of my first tasks with the View was to download the SanDisk driver from the Audible website. I was surprised when I received a message that the SDDR-113 did not support the Audible format when I tried to authorize the View. As it turned out, the SDDR-113 is the model number of the SanDisk reader that is included with some SDHC cards. I disconnected the SDDR-113 reader from my PC, and Audible authorized the View which has since played Audible files flawlessly. If you have a SanDisk card reader, and receive an error when trying to authorize a SanDisk video/audio player, try disconnecting your SanDisk reader. The Audible driver may be mistaking your SanDisk flash card reader as an audio device.


If you are in the market for a relatively small media player that has an appropriate size screen for video viewing, take a look at the View, you may be surprised how nice it is.
 
Comments:
The Sansa sounds like a really nice player.

I've just got my hands on a 3G iPod Nano to replace an aging iPod video, and have been pretty pleased with it.

My first choice would have been a Sony A818 as the sound quality is amazing, but as I only tend to listen to podcasts, the iPod/iTunes combination IMHO can't really be beaten.

The only problem with the Apple products though, as you pointed out, you don't get extras seen in players like the Sansa. :(
 
Hi Richard:

Thanks for reading my blog, and taking the time to post a comment. Good luck with the iPod nano, it is certainly a solid device. I do use the FM radio, and voice recorder on the Sansa View so the View is a better choice for me. The extra .4" of screen on the View does make a difference for me when watching videos.

Just wanted web surfers to know there are other quality devices available that do not have the Apple logo on them. Don't get me wrong, all the iPods I have owned were certainly well built, quality devices with the legendary tight integration with iTunes (both good, and bad thing IMHO), and are certainly extremely popular.

Take care

Jim
 
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I was a Palm OS champion for years, but switched to the Windows Mobile platform in 2005. My experiences using my Windows Mobile devices, and other electronic devices will be detailed in this blog. The posts reflect what I like, and do not like about a device, or application. Your needs, and opinion may be different.

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