Sansa Fuze 4GB MP3 Player...Inexpensive Media Player with FM, Video, MP3, 1.9" LCD

Oct 22, 2009 (Updated Nov 7, 2010)
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:can record radio, has a lot of storage, can add more storage, easy to use

Cons:need Sansa converter to convert video files

The Bottom Line: The Sandisk Sansa Fuze 4GB MP3 player is easy to use, has a bright LCD screen, can record voice and FM radio too!

I wanted a new mp3 player but didn't really want to spend a whole lot of money (I was looking to spend under $50). I shopped around on and came upon the 4GB Sandisk Sansa Fuze, which had pretty decent ratings and reviews. After looking into it further, I decided this was the one I wanted. They come in several colors (pink, red, blue, black, silver), but I chose a black one.
The first thing I liked about the Fuze is that it is very compact and small. (3.1"H x 1.9"W x 0.3"D).  It truly is smaller in height than a credit card, and, as advertised, is about as thick as a pencil. But, it has a decent sized 1.9" LCD screen for viewing lists and videos. The screen size may seem small when you're talking about viewing music videos or television shows, but it is perfectly adequate for me. I have no trouble whatsoever viewing and enjoying the video files I add to the Fuze.
The Sansa Fuze comes with a few goodies. First, you get the mp3 player, and you get a pair of ear buds (which I had to replace because they feel too big for my ears). You also get a sheet of instructions which are very basic and don't really go into the core of operating the player. You'll get a USB port charger which plugs into both your computer's USB slot and into the bottom of the mp3 player. You'll also get a coupon off of a preloaded memory card (I no longer have it and can't recall where it is to), and a free trial to Rhapsody. The mp3 player also comes with a protective slip case made of a felt-like material. It is more like a sleeve, and is more or less something to put the mp3 player into when not in use (or when you're just using the music files and don't need to view the screen).
The mp3 player needs charging when you first get it, but, mine was already fully charged (and, it was brand new). Charging it is no big deal (use the included cable, or purchase a wall outlet charger for the Fuze), and it will charge if the mp3 player is either off or on. It'll start up, and you can see it working, on the screen, but you will not be able to use the mp3 player at all while it is charging. I can use it when I use an outlet charger that I bought, but not with this cable. When fully charged, it will run for a full 24 hours before needing some more juice.
I had a scary thing happen once though, but I Goggled a solution and came up with an answer to my dilemma. So, just to share in case you encounter the same problem...
I charged my Fuze and forgot about it, so it stayed charging for hours (usually it takes about 15 minutes to fully charge). When I unplugged it, everything was fine. I turned it on, and everything seemed fine. But, when I went to pick a song to listen to, it froze completely. I couldn't turn the unit off at all, and couldn't do anything. It was completely frozen, with the image still on the screen. But, the solution to this problem is, if it happens to you, is to reset it (it will not delete anything from your Fuze) by holding the off/on switch for about 20 seconds (by pressing it UP). The screen then went black because it switched itself off. I turned it back on and everything was perfectly fine again. So, keep that in mind.
Back to the cosmetics of the Fuze. It has a scrolling wheel on the front that you will have to use to pick between songs, and do anything else. There are arrows and symbols in each direction of the wheel that makes it easier to understand how to operate it. The UP direction will pause the video or song. The DOWN direction will take you to the Options. The Right direction will take you to the next song, or, if you hold it down, will fast forward through the song or video. It also turns the volume up.. The Left direction will do the opposite.
There is also a button that has a picture of a house above it. This will take you HOME, where you can pick between your options of: Music, Videos, FM Radio, Settings, Voice, or Photos.
On the Right Hand Side, there is the power button, and it's a slider button. "Up" turns the mp3 player on or off, and "Down" will lock the mp3 player. The "Lock" button is awesome because if you pick a song to play, and then decide to put it in your pocket, if it's locked it won't disrupt the song if you accidentally bump any of the buttons.
On the Left Hand Side is the teeny Mic. hole (for the voice recorder), and the Micro SD/SDHC Card slot. For a few bucks, I bought a Micro SD card to up my mp3 players memory for more videos. The tiny cards just pop in and stay locked in place until you press them in to release them. On the bottom is the ear bud jack. An issue I have is that I've tried several types, and they all have moments where they come out a little, causing the audio to silence until I plug it back in. It gets old.
Now, this Fuze has 4 GB of memory (unless you add more). So, it will hold up to 1,000 songs or 12 hours of (compressed and converted) video. It could also hold 2,000 photos with that amount of space.
There are several things the Fuze can do.

Now, there are several ways to add music files to the Fuze. All of the ones on my computer are mp3 files, and what I do is just open the Fuze folder, and then open the folders with my music files (from my computer), and then drag and drop, or copy and paste. The Fuze will support MP3, WMA, Audible, and Overdrive formats. Once you are done, and unplug the Fuze from the cable, (because it has to be connected to the computer for this, obviously), it will then update itself and more or less, verify all the songs you added.

To play the songs, you'll see several folders, so the Fuze sorts the files into whatever category it thinks the songs belong in. You can Play All, which will start playing the songs in an alphabetical order You can also play by Recently Added, Albums, Artists, Songs, Genres, My Top Rated, (yes! you can rate your songs!) Playlists (here, you add your favorite songs, or, that's what I do, so they are easily accessible), Podcasts, Audiobooks, Recordings, and Folders. The only thing I do not like is that I can't figure out how to add more folders, so that I can make my own (extra) Playlists. I just get tired of turning the scroll wheel round and round, over and again, sorting through a thousand or more of songs to find the ones I want.


This section has three options for viewing: Videos A-Z, My Top Rated, and Video Bookmarks. Here's the thing about the video files that have to be used: I read on Amazon that the Fuze supports MPEG4 video files, and while that may be the case, they do not bother to tell you that you'll need the Sansa Sandisk Video Converter to convert the files to a format that is playable on the Fuze. I've read where people have had success with the AnyVideoConverter, but I never did. So, I downloaded the converter (it's free, and takes 3 to 5 hours to download, depending on your connection). 
Using the converter is very easy, but you have to start with an AVI file. So, if you are wanting to convert something like an .FLV file for the Fuze, you'll need to first convert that to .AVI, so it's best to have another converter if you like a lot of youtube videos, and plan to add them. With the converter, if you have an added MicroSD card, you can choose between the mp3 player's memory or the memory card's, to add the files to.
My Fuze is now 8GB, and I have two 2 hour concerts added, about 4 hours of music videos, a 40 minute audio file (that I transformed into a video with film), and a few TV episodes. I still have room for plenty more, even with all the songs I have on there!
Here, you can change settings for your system, radio, music, and etc. This is also where you can set the time and date, and your power saver and backlight options. You can also change your Wallpaper colors, but the pickings are slim. (Pink, for me!)
Photos need to be added the same as videos, with the converter. You can view them in alphabetical order , by Thumbnails, or by favorites (added to GoList). There are already some preloaded that are super cute. You have options where you can do slide shows and whatnot.
This is a really neat section. You can record your voice, which is great for those like me, who are forget what they went to town for and wish they'd made a list. ?It comes out really clear, but it helps if there isn't a lot of background noise. Here, you can also listen to the recordings you made, and delete the ones you no longer need.
FM Radio

How neat for an mp3 player to have an FM radio built in. It works great too, depending on the type of reception you get. (In town, I can get any channel, here at home in the boonies, I only get one or two like always). You can use the scroll wheel to change between channels, and then using the "down" directional button, you can go to options where you can pick between your preset channels. You can save up to 40 preset channels. What I like about the scrolling button here is that I don't have to go through every channel to see which ones I pick up or not. If I hold the directional buttons (left or right) for a second or two, it will scroll itself until it comes to a channel that I can pick up, and it will stop.
Here's the best thing about this radio section on the Fuze: You can save songs! If you hear a song playing that you like, or one is announced that you'll want to save, use the "down" directional button to go to the options, and then scroll down to "recording", then...start recording. It's easy, and a great feature to have. You can then listen to all recordings you made.
That's about it, for all the features. I adore mine, I think it's one of the better ones I've had, especially for the price. It's easy to use, and honestly, minus little extras that I never used, it's not much different in quality than the Ipod (and I think it's better than the Zune). I've already got another on order in pink for my daughter's upcoming birthday, because she's played around with mine and it's easy enough for her (3rd grade) to use.

The only headache was the super long download of the Sansa Video Converter (I suggest downloading it to your computer, and then burning the file to disk so you won't have to sit through that again. I wipe out my computer every few months, and so I don't want to spend time DL'ing everything over again, is why I saved my file).

It's been great to me, except that one scare early in. I haven't had any more issue with it, and it gets a LOT of use. I'm always using it, when I'm cleaning, cooking, on the computer (like now!), in the car, shopping...everywhere and all the time. Would I recommend this mp3 player?
Heck yes!

I think it's the absolute best "inexpensive" model I've had to date. I would recommend it to adults, and for kids alike.

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