The Sansa Express MP3 player decision


I recently bought a Sansa Express 2 GB MP3 player as a replacement for my old but trusty Creative MuVo TX FM, which I got back in January 2005. Back then, 512 MB was enough, but fast forward to 2007 and 512 MB is now paltry and unacceptable – I have more storage in my mobile phone by way of a microSD card. So, it was clear that I needed a replacement player. But with the market even more saturated now with MP3 players than it was back in 2005, making a choice was difficult, especially for me since I have a habit of researching everything to death. Here are some of the considerations I took into account in my search for something that would fit my needs.

Needs, not wants

I certainly had the desire to splurge and get one of the new iPods – almost all of them, from the 3G Nano, the iPod Classic and (of course) the iPod Touch look great. In fact, I almost decided to get one of them. However, after thinking it through, they just weren’t for me. I don’t really need the 80 GB storage of the Classic, nor do I need the touchscreen if the iPod touch. I really just wanted a player that would be easy to operate and that would probably remain out of sight most of the time. Admittedly, that still left the 3G Nano as an acceptable choice, but I wanted something with dedicated volume buttons.

iPod alternatives

Moving away from Apple doesn’t really make your choice any easier, since there are literally hundreds of MP3 players out there. After some more thinking, I decided I wanted something small, flash-based with a reasonable battery life and that was durable. I narrowed my choices down to the Creative Zen Stone Plus and the Sansa Express. Both are catering to the same market – small, easy to use and very portable. This is exactly where I stand – I don’t really have a need to watch videos on a portable player, and I don’t need wireless connectivity either. .

I decided against the Zen Stone Plus – despite it being slightly cheaper – because of its shorter battery life. The Stone Plus is rated at 9.5 hrs versus the 15 hrs rating of the Sansa Express. Some reviews seem to confirm that the Express does last longer than the Stone Plus. I picked up the Express 2 GB version from Future Shop, which had it on sale last weekend for $70. Admittedly, the sale did spurn my purchase, but I had been thinking about buying a player for some time, so it wasn’t a total impulse buy. Other factors that put the Sansa Express ahead for me were the microSD slot and the built-in USB connector. It’s also very lightweight and easy to operate, in my opinion.

The Sansa Express – good or bad?

So far, during my one week with it, I have had mainly positive experiences with it. Most reviews also have favourable reviews towards it. However, some user reviews paint a different picture. Future Shop’s product page has some negative reviews about the product’s quality – apparently there are some issues of the players unexpectedly dying after a month or so.

In particular, the ABI review of the Sansa Express has some user reviews that really put it in a negative light. Despite this, I was willing to take the risk – if everything works out, the Sansa Express is likely to be my player of choice, and for $70 CAD it’s hard to go wrong – and it does come with a one-year warranty. However, some of the main complaints (microSD slot unusable, firmware problems) may detract from the pros of the device. I’m hoping for the best, but will update this post if I start experiencing any problems. In the meantime, feel free to check out some photos I’ve taken of it.

What's includedSweet OLED displayJust like a USB drive, but slightly bulkierIntegrated USB connector

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