After buggering my old mp3 playing device I think I spent close to a week bothering various review sites and pondering almost any available brand. For a brief while I was considering taking an Apple based iPod route, how-bloody-ever after reading countless reviews it seemed my potential target, an iPod nano, sounded a little like a toddler trapped in a dustbin. A fairly inaccurate simile I think you'll find but in short it's just not meant to sound that great. Coming from my faithful Zen and other Creative devices I've got used to a fair level of sound quality, okay it's only mp3 with their inherently limited sound quality but the Creative players have always sounded great. After a bit more of a snoop around and chiefly due to the excellent AnythingButIpod.com I looked at SanDisk's line of products and found the Sansa Clip to be highly regarded pretty much everywhere. The only stumbling block for this player comes from the limited memory capacity where 8gig is really not enough for me. I found there was also a Clip+ fresh on the block, the same size and shape with a few tweaks like a micro SD card slot. On it's own micro SD doesn't sound that big a deal but with a new micro SDHC format being produced with up to 32gig cards available it looked like the a great choice, with a player plus a 32gig card giving up to 40gig for closer to £100 than any other player. Roll on twenty minutes and I'd discovered another option, the Sansa Fuze, to cut a long story short, close to the same as the Clip+ but with a bigger battery and pick-up in-store price of £60 at PC World (not where I'd choose to buy anything but it was the cheapest price going) I was happy to put my faith in the glowing praise lumped upon it in many reviews.
Now would be a pretty good time to do a review of my now decommissioned player, the Zen. For £100 in September of 2008 the Zen was a true bargain with a generous 16gig of memory, decent battery life and a fairly resilient exterior. The sound quality is very pleasing and certainly a step above anything I'd had before, I'd say the sound is on par if not better than the Fuze but the difference is hardly noticeable. If I'm going to give it a score it hits a very safe eight of ten. This is in the main due to one feature which the player boasts but really doesn't work, this is the SD card slot. Yes it works and you can play files from the card but they do NOT integrate into the plays library, this is hugely frustrating as the incredibly low price of SDHC cards means that this could be turned into a bargain 16+32gig play which is pretty impressive, even by adding just an extra 8gig of storage (less than £10) gives a very respectably capacious music player. If this feature did work as it should this player would be getting as close to full marks as is possible. Durability is nothing to worry about as really whatever broke the screen on mine looks like a fairly substantial bit of contact.
The Fuze so far has lived up to expectations in all departments, it's a little smaller and the controls are good and work well alongside the interface which is very similar to that of the Zen, which is no bad thing. The light today is terrible and it doesn't look like it'll stop raining so the picture at the top is the current best available of Broke and Not So.