Sandisk Sansa Express
- Good quality audio, Micro-SD card slot for memory expansion
- Nothing of note
The SanDisk Sansa Express is a great MP3 player. It offers good quality audio and a Micro-SD card slot to further expand the included memory.
Price$ 110.00 (AUD)
Since their entry into the portable media market a while ago, SanDisk has impressed us by consistently creating no fuss media players which perform well. The Sansa Express is no exception. Its claim to fame is that it is the first high capacity flash based MP3 player that also has a micro-SD card slot for expanding the memory further. It also features a microphone, FM radio and good quality audio, making it a solid choice for those after a new digital music player.
We tested the player's audio quality first, and were impressed. In general, flash MP3 players offer better audio quality than their hard disk based brothers and the Sansa Express was toward the top of the pile. It offered a slightly dark, bass heavy sound that was extremely rich. Bass extended deeply and had good resonance, but was balanced well against the detailed mid ranges. Highs were sweet and well rendered, although they were the weakest element of the music. Overall, audio enthusiasts should be satisfied with this unit's playback.
It isn't the most feature filled music player on the market, but considering the price point the included options are more than adequate. Shuffle and loop play are both present and there is a five-band equaliser with a number of presets and a custom mode.
In addition to regular music playback, the Sansa Express offers a voice recorder, which stores audio in MP3 format. We found the included microphone worked well despite its diminutive design, and the unit should be handy for recording the occasional lecture or speech. However, for regular recordings you should look at purchasing a proper Dictaphone.
Similarly, the FM radio performed very nicely. Often, the receiver on portable music player radios suffer indoors, but the Sansa Express had no problems. It picked up all the major radio stations while resting on our office desk. Clarity was good and there was minimal interference. As expected, you can store your favourite stations as presets and can also record radio onto the device itself.
The really funky thing about this device is the micro-SD card slot. The unit comes in 1GB and 2GB capacities by default, which is standard for a digital music player of this size. However with the expansion slot, you can increase this by an extra up to 2GB (currently the largest card size available) with a micro-SD card, which gives some extra flexibility with regards to your music storage. You could even have several cards with different song combinations if you wanted.
Aesthetically the Sansa Express is fairly standard. It has a long, sleek design with a mirror black face plate and silver back. As usual, the mirror surface on the unit's front is a magnet for finger prints but aside from that it looks quick rather slick. The controls are fairly minimalist, with a solitary five-way navigation pad on the unit's face. Meanwhile there are volume buttons on the bottom and both a menu key and hold switch along the top. The interface is simple but intuitive, using a tiered menu system and should prove no obstacle for even MP3 novices.
Like many MP3 players these days, the Sansa Express is drag and drop, which means you don't need any proprietary software to copy music to the player. This is a great thing, as proprietary software typically causes a lot of unnecessary headaches for the end user.
It connects to your PC with a standard USB connection that is revealed by simply pulling off the tip on one end of the unit. This is nifty as it means you don't need any cables to plug it in, allowing you to update the contents on the road. A small cable adapter is provided however, if that is your preference.
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