Sandisk Sansa E260


The Sansa e260 has several features we’d love to see in other media players, including a microSD card slot; unfortunately, it’s also saddled with a killer design flaw.

Audio sounds marvelous on the e260, and videos and photos look fabulous on its 1.8-inch TFT display. It’s much better looking than Creative’s OLED-equipped Zen V Plus, which we reviewed in October, but you still need a magnifying glass to see detail.

The bundled Sansa Media Converter software makes short work of translating photo and video formats and then transferring them from your PC to the player’s 4GB of flash memory, but you’ll want to spend some time cropping and resizing your photos beforehand, to take advantage of every inch of screen space. Music transfers are accomplished using either Windows Media Player 10, Windows Explorer, or—if you subscribe to a Plays For Sure music service—that provider’s own program.

The e260’s user interface is very intuitive, and its primary control mechanism (a raised and illuminated wheel with a large button in its center) is easy to manipulate with one hand. But we had difficulty with the less frequently used playback control buttons; they’re set at four compass points around the wheel, but they’re too small and too close to the wheel for big thumbs to operate comfortably.

The imperfection that nearly renders the e260 useless, however, is the size, location, and sensitivity of its Record button: It’s much too big, it’s way too sensitive, and it’s located right where you grasp the device. We unintentionally activated voice recording countless times during product testing, and the only way you can lock the button is to lock all the buttons. Lame!

Month Reviewed: November 2006
+ SAND IN YOUR BUCKET: Looks and sounds great; plenty of storage, plus a microSD slot.
- SAND IN YOUR SHORTS: The poorly placed Record button will drive you nuts.
Verdict: 5

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