Sandisk Sansa E260 review. An in depth look at my new favorite ipod killer.
Friday, August 24, 2007, 06:46 PM
UPDATE: Switched the OS to Rockbox [Rockbox.org] and now it really is the best player ever. Not only is doom included with the OS, but its open source, also includes 20 other games and a game boy emulator to boot.

******

I am writing this review after purchasing the Sansa E260 Mp3 player. I have read nearly every review on this product prior to purchasing this product. Long story short I had the chance to get a free ipod nano from a family member. I started doing some research and found that the nano had many drawbacks from my point of view. I ended up purchasing the E260 gently used off of a reputable ebay seller for 67$ and 10$ shipping. Upon receiving the E260 I can honestly say that I will probably never buy another mp3 player.

To begin, this player is super sleek and low profile. While it is about twice as thick as the nano, when testing store display models, the nano almost felt too thin (if that is possible) the nano really felt almost like it would break if i squeezed it too hard. The E260 is thicker, but still is about half as thick as my cell phone. Some reviews have complained about the 15-30 second boot up time, saying that it is "too long". This made me laugh. I didn't really notice the boot up time at all. Once the E260 is booted up the screen is crisp and doesn't give that "viewed from the side" distortion that some small screens give. The main menu that pops up is controlled via the "endless" jog wheel that lights up a cool blue on the front of the player. Some people say it feels "too loose" or "chincy". I personally love the feel of the wheel and it is rather accurate when scrolling through the menu. One thing to note about the jog wheel is that it is possible and even easy to use the jog wheel through the included carrying case. I find that it is very easy to adjust the volume with the player in its case in my pocket without even looking at it which is a plus. Some reviewers have complained about the low profile buttons, but I like them and have had no problems getting used to them. The giant button in the center of the jog wheel is a great addition and works well.

The menu itself is EXTREMELY responsive no lag or stutter when scrolling through the menu. There is no hesitation at all when switching icons and I have noticed NO lag at all in the performance of the OS in general. Some reviewers have complained about the OS locking up or crashing. So far this hasn't happened to me.

The battery in this unit is a HUGE plus. Not only is it a high power rechargeable lithium-ion battery, but it can also be EASILY replaced by the user- an option not available on the nano or any other ipod for that matter. Other reviews have placed the battery life at 24 hours, 20 hours, and 17 hours. I haven't run the unit all the way down, but I can honestly say that it will last for 2 full days of work shifts for me.(approx 15-17 hours) This means that even if I forget to charge it one night it will still last through my entire shift the next day which I love. The drive in the E260 is flash memory so the battery is not wasted spinning up a mechanical drive and the access time is extremely fast.

Many people have complained about the need to convert the pictures and video. The included Sandisk conversion utility is good, and pictures transfer to the unit extremely quickly. They only take up about 73k on the player, but you have to rotate them manually before putting them on because the E260 doesn't auto rotate them for you. The video of course takes a little longer to transfer, but I loaded a full episode of The Family Guy onto the player and had no problems with it lagging or stuttering during playback. I really don't mind watching video on this small of a screen (some people do) as long as the quality is good. While the video is limited to 15fps, I didn't notice a strain on my eyes while watching.

I really hate using proprietary software like itunes and rhaphso-whatever to move my music around. But other reviewers have praised this unit for being fully subscription-service compatible for what it's worth. I'm not sure if it is DRM compliant but I don't think so.
I love the fact that the E260 is drag and drop for music files and also can act as a pen drive more or less. I also like the fact that I can take media OFF of my player which is a huge pain with an ipod.

The thing that really takes the cake with this E260 is the microSD card slot!!! No ipod has this! You can more or less double the memory in this thing w/ a few microSD cards. This is really invaluable to me especially if you want to put an entire season of a show on SD cards for trips and other uses so as not to fill up the onboard memory. I was also considering buying a digital voice recorder for various reasons (I am an amateur musician) but now I don't need to because one is included in the E260. There is a button on the side of the unit just for one touch voice recording - how convenient!!!! It also has a fm tuner and the potential to record directly from the tuner.

The drawbacks of this unit were few and far between and consisted of mostly technical anal retentive preferences of my own. For instance, you can't delete songs directly from the player, and you can't see the available free space left on the E260 when you look at it in "My Computer". Instead you have to go into the player's settings menu and go to info at the bottom to see how much space is left.

You also can't sort/move the songs or edit the titles directly from the player, but I'm not sure you can w/ any other player either. A few more options would be nice in terms of track info. I find myself wanting to know what bitrate a certain track is encoded at sometimes or how big the song is. So more information would be nice. There is no search function to find songs. I would love to see Sandisk put out a new OS with more options, and maybe even the potential to play some cell-phone style games (tetris, asteroids, etc). I would also like to see the ability to password files and folders. Since you can use this like a pen drive some more security options would be nice.

Another big drawback is that there is no included AC adapter in the base package. You have to buy it separately. Charging is done w/ the usb cable included and reportedly takes 2.5 hours top charge fully. My only other gripe is that ID3 tags are more or less required if you want your music sorted into categories by this player but that is pretty much standard for any other Mp3 player including ipods.

All in all this player is exactly what I was looking for. It is sleek stylish small and has TONS of features not found in the ipod line. IMO this Sandisk Sansa E260 is a total ipod killer. All naysayers are pretty much splitting hairs and nit-picking.


Pros:
Crisp screen
Sound quality good
microSD slot
fm tuner
voice recording
replaceable battery
cool blue jog wheel
long battery life
plays color video
color picture slide show (w/ music)
fairly rugged
one touch voice recording

Cons:
OS could be improved slightly
no ac adapter included
usb cord only 1 meter long (probaby because of attenuation)





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Democrats tried to end the war today. Republicans Filibustered.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007, 06:50 PM
That's right folks. Republicans filibustered an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that the Republicans in the Senate knew had enough votes to end the war within 120 days.


Democrats did not filibuster. They just made the Republicans carry theirs overnight.
The republicans could have gone home last night, but instead they chose to filibuster.
How many of our troops in this civil war that is modern Iraq will die today because Republicans were too cowardly to even bring this to a vote?

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An open letter to Herb Kohl
Monday, July 16, 2007, 06:19 PM

Herb "I don't care if you lose your rights" Kohl (D-Delusionville)


It is greatly offensive to your constituents that you refuse to support the Habeas Corpus Restoration Act. Were your family to be charged as "Enemy Combatants" would you want them to be stripped of all their civil rights to be tortured and held indefinitely?
It seems that you have been on the wrong side of the aisle in terms of civil rights as of late from the motion for cloture on the Samuel Alito confirmation to the continued degradation of our civil rights and liberties. The founding fathers would be ashamed at what the 109th Republican controlled congress has done to our Constitution and our rights as citizens in general.
Recently on July 4th I went back and read the Declaration of Independence. You know that document written by our founding fathers which contains the spirit of our country therein and I cried. We have come so far from tyranny and oppression to let men such as yourself sit idly by while our freedoms are snuffed is more than I can bear. If you continue down this path of immorality and irrationality I will be forced to not only vote for an alternative candidate for your presently held seat, but also encourage everyone who values their civil rights to do the same.

Respectfully yours,

N



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The president gets mugged
Wednesday, June 13, 2007, 04:16 AM
Pretty much by the first 3 guys to shake his hand.



Cindy Sheehan can't get within talking distance of Bush but Albanian street thieves can practically molest him and the secret service doesn't know at all?

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Wireless Energy Transfer!!!
Friday, June 8, 2007, 05:30 AM
Ever want to light up a 60w light bulb from 7 feet?

So did the guys at MIT!

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After the Surge
Sunday, June 3, 2007, 05:45 PM
There seems to be a misunderstanding among some of the conservative circles that after the surge we will be in Iraq for anywhere from 1 to 50 years and eventually the fighting will end when at some point a unity government is created and all the factions agree to agree on something ANYTHING.

What those people are failing to realize is that this is not just another war. This is not a conflict that will have an ending. This administration has created the next Palestine / Israel conflict. This war will rage for the next 200 years. Probably more.

When this conflict turned from invasion to occupation to civil war a battle was resumed that had been extremely one sided and fought since the day after Mohammad died.

Let me explain. The bombing of the golden mosque (supposedly orchestrated by Al-Zarqawi) opened up a can of worms between Sunni and Shia Muslims. Why would the bombing of a Mosque set off a civil war? This conflict goes to the heart of both sects belief structure.

From my limited understanding of this history of Islam this is the gist of the situation:

The Sunni's believed that when Mohammed died that his successor as caliph to lead the Muslim people should be succeeded by the one most qualified to lead and that that person would not be infallible, but rather the majority would decide what Muslim law would and should be. The Shia on the other hand believed that Mohammed's cousin Ali should succeed the subsequent successors of Mohammed as caliph and that as the chosen of Allah his decree would be infallible.
For more information on the differences between Sunni and Shia Muslims you can go here
or for a nice chart to sum it up you can go here
So more or less since the day Mohammed died these two factions have been waging war.

Now onto Saddam. Saddam was a Sunni and fought fiercly to keep his power. He quelled two rebellions by the Shia and the Kurds and ruled with an iron fist. He somehow kept the country out of civil war by oppression, fear and murder.
When Saddam was deposed by the US in 2003 the roles of the sects changed dramatically. By the time the Mosque was bombed the damage was irreparable.

This civil war will not end because neither side can or will concede their beliefs to the other in order to form a unity government. Iraq as a country is doomed to fracture, and it is about time that we admit to the American people that there is no longer any way we can do a damn thing to affect the outcome for good or for worse.

My prediction is that the country of Iraq will fracture regardless of what we do. There will be huge shifts of people into secular areas of the country. Anyone continuing to live among the other sect will continue to be tortured and slaughtered.

This is why nation building is a bad idea.
Lets not let this happen again.
Lets hold those responsible for getting us into this mess to account.


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