Damn you, Indecision!

Sansa Connect Review: Mind Map Version

Since I have been dragging my feet a bit in posting my review of the Sandisk Sansa Connect, I thought I’d post a straight dump of the mind map I did on bubbl.us, an online mindmapping application.  I will probably revisit this and flesh it out a bit more in the next couple days, but I wanted to post something now, since I know some of you are waiting to hear more about it. :)

**Sorry about the fonts and the weird formatting.  I can’t seem to get it to look right from my WYSIWYG editor (ScribeFire extension for Firefox).  I already enlarged the fonts overall, but there are still some really small fonts.  Mea culpa!

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  • Likes

    • Large Screen

      • Vivid colors

    • Downloading tracks directly over WiFi


      • Downloading tracks at the same time as streaming net radio or listening to music did not seem to affect the streams that much

      • Easy, just log in to YMU service and subscription is taken care of

      • Very easy to download a song or an album of the current song playing, whether it is on the streaming radio station, or a local track on your player.

    • External speaker


      • Sounds great for a small, mono speaker

      • A lot more convenient than a speaker dock

    • Connection to Flickr is really cool


      • Since Flickr requires Yahoo login, assuming your Flickr and YMU subscription are under the same login, the connection is automatic

      • Colors seem very close to my iMac monitor

    • Menus look fairly pleasant


      • Big fonts

      • Okay, bright color scheme (Yahoo-ized, as mentioned elsewhere) that sort of looks glassy, like Aero Glass on Vista, or Aqua elements in OS X



      • Album art is shown in just about every menu, whether it is for local content, or for streaming radio stations, or for Yahoo Music Unlimited content under the “Get More Music” menu

    • Consistent context menus available for different options during playback


      • Options menu (left button under screen)

        • Can rate not only current song, but also the album and artist. This feature is very good for tailoring music recommendations from subscription service.

        • Control shuffle and repeat; nice to be able to do this without having to leave the “Now Playing” screen.


        • Remove song from playlist or from device. I really wish the iPod had this feature! Helps to get rid of listened-to tracks while away from computer.

      • Zing menu (right button)

        • My most liked feature: “make a mix like this song”

        • Main draw for this player — WiFi functionality is accessed through this menu option

          • Sending recommendations to friends

            • Yahoo Messenger buddies

              • Can see what music your buddies are listening to if they are online and have the feature enabled

            • Nearby Sansa Connect users

          • Getting recommendations from friends

          • Sending tracks to other Connect users nearby

          • Downloading individual songs or albums

  • Dislikes


    • Slow sync time


      • At least 2x slower at syncing playlists than iPod

        *Granted, I did sync to a HD-based iPod. I don’t know if syncing to my nano would’ve been closer in syncing time to the Connect. I highly doubt it, though, considering my past experience.

      • This is likely due to MTP. When I used two other apps to sync a playlist to the Connect, I got similar sync times (both of which were still at least 2x slower than iTunes syncing to an iPod).

    • Only MTP


      • Means that you’re limited to programs that handle MTP

        • Windows Media Player

        • Mediamonkey*
          Preferred, since it seems the least bloated out of all of these apps. Also seems to be more effective at managing ID3 tags and album art.

        • Yahoo Music Jukebox

        • Winamp (via plugin)

      • Can’t use as Flash drive

    • WiFi is limited to Yahoo services. Cannot specify your own favorite online radio stations. Can still use any PlaysForSure tracks, but not over WiFi.


      • LAUNCHCast radio stations

      • Yahoo Music Unlimited To Go subscription service

      • Flickr

    • Yahoo Music Jukebox software sucks*

      This and the Yahoo Music Unlimited subscription service will discussed in more detail in a separate blog post.


      • Bloated

      • Crashed several times

      • Problems with licensing, dupes, no genre ID3 tags on some subscription tracks

      • Storefront looks blah, hard to navigate, too much drilling down into genre categories

    • WiFi interface to YMU is not robust enough to completely forgo Jukebox software


      • Only limited to a certain number of “top tracks” in each genre.

      • Genre categories are not as intuitive as on other music services; need to drill down too much to get to certain common genres, like “alternative”.

    • Can’t download tracks from PC over WiFi (i.e. podcast playlists)


    • No OTG playlist creation


      • This would’ve helped in “untethering” the player from the PC, which could’ve help the Connect overcome the lousy syncing software it has to use.

    • No video (would have been a nice bonus with the big screen)


      • Screen is not that much smaller than 5th-gen iPods, so watching short video podcasts or short TV shows would be a decent experience

    • No Audible support?


    • No display customization


      • No themes or wallpaper choices

      • Only one view for playback window

      • No “album art-friendly” display option to show the album art fullscreen

      • Very Yahoo-ized look, which isn’t that bad

    • Price is high compared to competitors


      • While comparable in price to iPod nano, or other 4GB flash players, a user would really need to subscribe to Yahoo Music Unlimited to get the full experience on the Connect. So price is really $250 + $15/mo subscription.

    • Hardware issues


      • MicroSD slot is too hard to access

        • The slot on my particular unit seemed deeply inset, so you need to use something like a fingernail to really push the card into the slot properly. And I already have small hands. Someone with larger hands would surely have a problem with this.

      • Mechanical scroll wheel, while smooth, sometime lags behind, or does not register movement. So navigation can be a bit touchy.

      • Battery life might be short compared to competitors; didn’t do any scientific tests, though

      • Power button doesn’t have enough tactile feedback. It is relatively low-profile, so sometimes it’s hard to tell whether or not the button press was registered by the device.

    • No extra features like games, clock, alarm, sleep timer. Would have at least liked a clock display at the top of the screen during playback.


    • Podcasting support is nonexistent, meaning podcast are just treated as any other audio track


      • No bookmark feature for playback

        • Essential for long podcasts/audiobooks

        • The rew/ff speed of the player isn’t quick enough (IMO) to skip through a long track to get back to where you left off.

      • No show notes support for podcasts

      • No easy way to filter out podcasts or audiobooks from music library

        • During shuffle, would probably get podcasts interspersed with music, since the two types of tracks are not differentiated.
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10 responses

  1. Nice review and mind map breakdown. I just did a mini review and share a lot of your viewpoints.

    http://phonyholmes.com/?p=195

    April 13, 2007 at 12:16 am

  2. I agree on all points. I SO wanted to like this device. I think Napster or Rhapsody wireless support might have made me keep it. Who knows though. Much of its shortcomings could be fixed with sw upgrades. My short review is at http://offbe.at/blogs/sample_weblog/archive/2007/04/06/sandisk-sansa-connect-not-for-me.aspx

    April 13, 2007 at 1:52 pm

  3. Pingback: Quick programming note « Late to the Party

  4. Pingback: Stay Tuned: Sandisk Sansa Connect « Late to the Party

  5. Pingback: Funny, Cool and Weird - Newgadgets.info » Blog Archive » Frankenreview: Ten Takes on the Sandisk Sansa Connect

  6. Well, well. Look who got cited on Gizmodo.

    April 18, 2007 at 5:08 pm

  7. Cool, thanks for the heads up, Sumocat! :D I haven’t been reading Gizmodo lately, so I would’ve missed that. *sheepish grin*

    April 18, 2007 at 6:13 pm

  8. Pingback: Frankenreview: Ten Takes on the Sandisk Sansa Connect at SoftSaurus

  9. Dave

    Good review. Two points, for folks who may be reading this in modern times (2008) and are considering buying a Connect:

    1) Price has gone way down … you can get a Connect for under $100 now.

    2) Video support has been added in latest firmware version.

    January 30, 2008 at 11:43 am

  10. Pingback: Frankenreview: Ten Takes on the Sandisk Sansa Connect | Gizmodo Australia

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