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SanDisk Sansa Fuze+ (photos)

Take a closer look at the Sansa Fuse+, a portable media player from SanDisk with plenty of features, priced well below $100.

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Donald Bell
Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.
Donald Bell
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Priced at $79 (4GB), $89 (8GB), and $119 (16GB), the Sansa Fuze+ is available immediately from SanDisk's Web site, and rolling out to major retailers in the coming weeks.
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Unlike the Apple iPod Touch (shown left), the Fuze doesn't provide frills, such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. This is a died-in-the-wool portable media player that delivers a thorough set of features at an outstanding price.
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A carrying pouch, Micro-USB cable, and earbuds (with foam covers) are included with the Fuze+, which is a rarity for such an inexpensive MP3 player.
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Flipping through the main menu using the capacitive touch-strip navigation pad (good-bye click wheel) you'll find options for music, video, photo, radio, podcast, voice recording, microSD card, and settings. The graphic interface is a far cry from the Windows 98-esque rotation of icons used on prior Sansa players, and borrows heavily from the Zune "twist" philosophy of using horizontal swipes to switch between functions and vertical swipes to flip through content within each silo. It works well, and the touch-strip control is reasonably responsive.
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As far as size goes, the Fuze+ measures 2 inches wide, 3.75 inches tall, and around a third of an inch thick--so it's not going win any awards for svelte design.
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In our limited testing so far, nothing really stands out in terms audio, video, or system performance--though, there's nothing to complain about either. SanDisk's strategy of making reliable, broadly compatible, inexpensive media players has earned the company a strong second place behind Apple in this product category, and we imagine the Fuze+ will only strengthen that position.
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The Sansa Fuze+ portable media player's broad audio and video CODEC pack ensures easy compatibility with most major media formats. Audio support includes: MP3, WMA, WAV, AAC/M4A (iTunes), FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, Audible, Secure WMA, Podcasts. Video support includes: H.264, MPEG-4, WMV, Flip Video (using Sansa Media Converter software). Photos: JPEG, BMP, (TIFF, GIF, PNG supported using Sansa Media Converter software).
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A chrome plastic volume rocker switch sits along the left edge, along with a memory card slot that supports microSDHC cards (as well as preloaded SanDisk SlotRadio cards).
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Here's a power button on the top, a headphone jack on the bottom, and a universal Micro-USB port on the right, which is a welcome change from the original design's proprietary dock connector.
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The Fuze+ comes in five colors (white, purple, red, blue, and black), although the 16GB model only ships in black.

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