SanDisk's Sansa m200 series
SanDisk MP3 players hit the scene in a big way with the 2004 launch of the Digital Audio Player and later the Sansa e100 series. With a motto that could be "Lots of features for less!" the memory giant's flash-based MP3 players appeals to the masses of thrifty consumers looking for deals. Now, the deal gets sweeter with the arrival of the SanDisk Sansa m200 series, which is jam-packed with features such as an FM tuner, WMA subscription compatibility, and up to 4GB of flash-based storage. If you don't mind a budget build, you can't go wrong with the value-rich m200 series. If you want to test out subscription-based music, the m200 is a good budget choice.
At 3.1 by 1.7 by 1 inches, the SanDisk Sansa m200 isn't the sleekest flash player around, but it's feathery light at 1.3 ounces with a AAA battery installed. Though the buttons are made of cheap-looking plastic, and the body feels flimsy, the overall presentation is solid. The Sansa m200 series has an ergonomically correct shape that flares in; you want to clutch it so that your thumb is on top of the five-way player controls, which include an A/B-repeat button and a center Select key. These buttons are big and tactile. Holding the Sansa m200 horizontally, you'll find the dedicated volume and power/menu buttons on the top and the hold switch and built-in pinhole microphone on the bottom. The headphone and standard USB jacks appear on the m200's true topside. Bundled accessories include passable earbuds, a carrying case, an armband, a battery, a USB cable, and software.
The only noticeable difference between models is the color. The 512MB SanDisk Sansa m230 ($80) comes in blue, the 1GB Sansa m240 ($120) in silver, the 2GB m250 ($160) in black, and the big daddy 4GB m260 ($200) in slate blue. As you can see, list prices are extremely attractive, with the 4GB version costing less than the 4GB iPod Nano. Street prices will be even less. While the Nano is clearly more attractive and can display photos, it lacks the Sansa m200's FM tuner, subscription compatibility and voice recorder.