SanDisk Sansa Fuze review:

SanDisk Sansa Fuze

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Typical Price: $233.00
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CNET Editors' Rating

The Good Chic, sturdy design. Easily navigable menus. Heaps of features including a memory expansion slot. Handy Home button.

The Bad Lower-res screen makes text menus and images look blocky. Dodgy earphones. Few customisation options.

The Bottom Line The Fuze is easy to use and a decent alternative to the Nano, but it does feel less polished overall.

Visit manufacturer site for details.

7.5 Overall

Looking at the design of the Sansa Fuze, it's obvious which MP3 player it's setting its competitive sights on. The slim, credit card-sized form factor, the scroll wheel and the dock connector on the base all scream "iPod Nano", but there are enough distinctions to keep Steve Jobs from speed dialling Apple's patent infringement lawyers on his iPhone.

First up, the scroll wheel rotates mechanically rather than being touch-sensitive, and its perimeter is backlit in blue. Unlike the ridged and uncomfortable wheel found on Sansa's e200 series, the Fuze's wheel is smooth and thumb-friendly and rotates with nary a snag.

At the top-right of the wheel is a small circular Home button which instantly reels you back to the graphic-driven main menu regardless of what sub-layer you're in. A microSD slot and teeny mic sit on the player's left side, while the right side hosts a combo power/hold switch. As with the Nano, headphones and a proprietary USB cable get plugged into sockets on the bottom of the player.

As for the all-important size comparisons, the Nano is 6.5 millimetres thick, 69.8 millimetres tall and 52.3 millimetres wide, while the Fuze is an elongated, slightly less emaciated 7.6 by 78.7 by 48.3 millimetres. Though it may seem disadvantageous, the Fuze's heavier weight — 59.5 grams against the Nano's 49.2 grams — gives the player a sturdier, more robust feel. In other words, it's not likely to get busted if sat on by a hefty buttock or two.

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