MP3 players are a dime a dozen these days; everyone seems to have their own version. Every once and a while one of the big players come out with their own new version that poises to take a chunk out of the big Apple. This time it is Sandisk, the makers of everything to do with storage for your gadgets.
Sandisk sent over their new Sandisk Sansa e130 MP3 player for our evaluation. It’s a 512MB MP3 player with all the fixings; small, indigo back lit LCD screen, SRS wow, extra storage slot, and FM radio. The only thing this little guy doesn’t have is voice recording, and to be honest.
The Sansa series also has the e140 model, this has 1GB of built in storage plus you can add an SD card with 2GB more storage.
When unpacking the Sansa e130 I was greeted with the following items;
– 1 MP3 Player
– Clear plastic carrying case with armband
– Sweet ear bud earphones with different ear cups
– 1 AAA Alkaline battery
– USB Cable
I was quite impressed with 2 of the included items. First of all the carrying case with armband was a sweet little gift that most companies make you pay for. The armband is a great idea for this little guy; due to its lightweight (1.8oz) and size (55mm x 74mm x 14mm) you can take it with you to the gym or running. The ear buds it came with provide some excellent quality sound, and they fit right in your ear just like those $400 Shure ear buds, except they are free. They come with extra attachments to better match your ear, and they do an excellent job at canceling out external noise. Very classy move Sandisk.
The player itself is quite stylish looking – with its blue, white and silver plastic. It’s also quite solid; you can twist it, bend it, and press it and not hear any of those horrid plastic on plastic creaking sounds that are oh so familur with those no-name flash-based players. The LCD screen is back lit with blue text and allows viewing of track info in pitch black.
The player supports both MP3 and WMA format files, including secure WMV files from your favorite DRM online music store. In addition it also supports Audible audio file formats for your audio books. No OOG support, sorry.
Controls on the e130 are quite intuitive. Your standard play/pause, forward, back, select, and repeat buttons are on the face of the device. On the side of the device we have the power button, this turns on and off the device as well as activate the menu. Also on that side you have a scroll wheel that handles several scrolling functions through the menus as well as the volume. On the left side we have the hold button and finally on the top we have the USB port and the 3.5mm earphone input jack.
The e130 has a butt load of menu options to fiddle with. You can choose what tracks you can play by artist, album, genre, year, new music added, or spoken word. You can also browse the whole device for specific tracks you want. In addition you can make your Sansa act as an iPod shuffle and it will create a random play list for you each time you start the device up.
In the Play Mode menu you can pick regular audio playback or FM radio. Once in FM radio mode you can fast forward or reverse to find your favorite radio station, or you can pre-set 20 different channels so you don’t have to scroll back and forth.
Another small menu lets you change the backlight settings for how long it stays on after the controls are pressed and to adjust the contrast of the screen.
The sound engine has 4 different options for playback enhancement, SRS WOW, Focus, TruBass, and SRS 3D will enable you to get the best sound you can. I personally prefer the SRS WOW for most of my music collection but some tracks sound over digitized, especially on the voices. I am not sure why but it could be the quality or method of encoding of the individual track. In the same menu it also has a equalizer option.
As for loading your collection on to the e130 you can do so easily by the high-speed USB 2.0 port that acts just like an external flash drive. Not only can you load audio files, you can store any data you want just like a USB thumb drive. There is no need for crappy software to load your music.
Battery life is on the average side, with only 8 hours per AAA battery when playing back 128kbps MP3 files, but 16 hours with 64kbps WMA files.
I would like to note that I recently spoke with SanDisk while I was writing this review and they informed me that they are dedicated to bringing you more accessories to the Sansa e100 series. Those plans so far include a FM tuner with a docking station that plugs into your car’s cigarette lighter and beams your music to your car’s radio. They are also planning to release a speaker dock designed specifically for the Sansa e100 series.
The Sansa e130 is a solid MP3 player. Sandisk has done a great job bringing this product to the market. First of all, Sandisk is an excellent brand with a great reputation and great customer support. The player itself performs as it should and seems to have continued support with future planned accessories.