This review appears in the September issue of PC Advisor, available now in all good newsagents.

Another day, another iPod imitator. This time around it's SanDisk doing the honours, serving up a shiny black audio- and video-player complete with 4GB capacity and control wheel. How original.

For the most part, the Sansa is sturdily put together, with an extremely smart brushed-metal back cover and solid buttons. The control wheel, however, is made of flimsy plastic. It feels like something you'd find in a cracker. What's more, the wheel's raised contours make it rather awkward to access the four buttons arranged around its circumference.

Similar reservations apply to the hold key, which is too close to the headphone socket, while the record button has been placed on the side of the device where it's easily activated by accident. Other players have shown this can be an ideal location for frequently used controls such as volume, but SanDisk appears to have put little thought into the quality of the user experience.

The menu button, which in rival offerings takes you back one navigation step, instead reverts to the main menu. The back/rewind key is what you're looking for. Unless you've selected a track, in which case the down button is the correct choice. It's not rocket science, but it could have been a bit simpler.

The screen is large and clear, and the sound quality we experienced via the bundled headphones was perfectly serviceable. You can load up MP3 or WMA tracks via Windows Media Player. But for photos and video you'll need a converter application that SanDisk provides. Fortunately it's a convenient, effective program. The company wins brownie points for including a memory-card slot, enabling you to bolster the capacity of the player.

As for battery life, the Sansa impressed by actually exceeding SanDisk's claims and nearing the 22-hour mark. Not quite up there with the heroic Samsung YP-Z5 (reviewed here), but creditable nonetheless.

SanDisk Sansa e260: Specs

  • Digital audio player
  • 4GB capacity
  • supports MP3 and WMA music files
  • video and photo display
  • 1.8in TFT colour screen
  • USB dock and cable
  • FM tuner
  • microSD expansion slot
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery (battery life approximately 22 hours of playback)
  • 44x13x89mm
  • 75g
  • Digital audio player
  • 4GB capacity
  • supports MP3 and WMA music files
  • video and photo display
  • 1.8in TFT colour screen
  • USB dock and cable
  • FM tuner
  • microSD expansion slot
  • rechargeable lithium-ion battery (battery life approximately 22 hours of playback)
  • 44x13x89mm
  • 75g

OUR VERDICT

The Sansa e260 is a good-looking device that promises much and delivers slightly less, with fiddly controls and a slightly confusing interface. This is by no means a disaster, however, and the price and battery life are appealing.

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