It's been a long time coming as far as the UK's concerned, but SanDisk's Sansa Fuze has finally launched on this side of the pond. It's an MP3 player that comes in 2GB, 4GB and 8GB capacities, complete with an microSD expansion slot.
Inside is support for MP3, WMA (protected and unprotected), WAV and SanDisk told us in person yesterday thatand OGG support will be coming as part of a firmware update soon.
But you'll also have an FM radio, support for Audible audiobooks, Napster subscriptions and MPEG-4 video, too, all of which can be viewed on the 48mm (1.9-inch) screen.
What's particularly interesting is that inside is an audio chip designed internally at SanDisk. This is what decodes your music and is responsible for a player's sound quality. Rather than source chips from other vendors, SanDisk wanted to ensure audiophile audio quality by developing the chips itself. We'll be putting this through our rigorous tests soon.
Notable, of course, is microSD expansion and unlike the Creative Zen when it first launched, the Fuze merges all music stored on removable cards into the main library.
There's no software to mess around with either, as your content can be simply dragged and dropped through Windows, OS X or Linux. You should get about 24 hours of music playback from a full charge -- one of the disappointing features of this otherwise lovely little player.
Expect our full review very soon. The Fuze will be on sale in the UK from next week, with an RRP of £59 for 2GB, £79 for 4GB and £99 for 8GB. -Nate Lanxon