We were fortunate enough to review the SanDisk Sansa Connect wireless MP3 player a few days ago and are ready to share our findings with you.
Packaging: First, the AC adapter is odd as it comes in two pieces. The first piece is the main unit and the second has the US 110 volt outlet prongs which connect to it. I am assuming they sell the unit in Europe as well, meaning the modular adapter makes good sense to swap out prong styles. The Connect is much smaller than it looks in photos making it EXTREMELY portable. It is much smaller than the standard iPod or a Zune but larger than the ‘small’ versions of those devices (the Nano and Zune 4/8). The only bit of problem in the packing/box contents was that the carrying strap is VERY difficult to feed through the Connect’s strap hook.
Software: Installation screens are nice to look at, a good visual style and the software installed without issue. You can use your existing Yahoo! ID or create a new one, either of which is extremely easy and user friendly. The player relies on the Yahoo! Music Jukebox program to transfer music back and forth from your pc. The device will support other software (Napster, etc), but seems to have been designed with the Yahoo suite in mind (Jukebox and LAUNCH Cast).
Design: The 2.2 inch LCD screen is vibrant and the UI graphics are crisp and animations, smooth. Control is done via a wheelpad which not only rotates 360 degrees but also has a center-press button as well as 4-way directional button functionality. Typing is done by rotating the wheen through the alphabet then depressing the center button. Takes a bit of getting use to and over-steering can be a problem at first. The wheel has some built-in tactile feedback which helps.
The internal speaker has a number of equalizer presets and puts out enough sound to enjoy while working in a quiet office writing product reviews. The sound is clear, albeit lacking in a great deal of bass which is to be expected for as small as the speaker is. For the full experience, I would recommend ear buds.
The device gets a bit warm but all the innards are solid state making it very resilient. Speaking of innards, the Connect has 4gb of memory internally but also allows for a MicroSD card to be inserted into the device, increasing it’s capacity.
The internal, rechargeable battery lasts for up to 12 hours without wi-fi enabled and for about 6 hours with the wi-fi on. This is not too bad as charging can be done via usb cable and pc or through the usb cable and wall adapter. I recommend the usb cable and pc method as you can keep the device closer to you and listen to your tunes while writing product reviews.
Internet Radio: Internet radio is done via ‘Yahoo LAUNCHcast Internet Radio’. You only need to pay for the service if you want the ‘subscriber features’, such as more channels, downloading radio songs on the fly, etc. MP3 players are fairly common these days and while the Connect plays MP3s fine, the stand-out feature is the streaming internet radio and seems to be it’s main selling point. You can buy and download songs you hear over the streaming radio on the fly and Yahoo LAUNCHcast Internet Radio offers a great selection of stations to listen featuring a great assortment of music. They even offer an adult comedy station featuring racey content which alot of companies would not have the guts to allow.
WiFi: The wi-fi is good, using the 802.11g standard. I run a WPA-secured network at the office and the unit had no issue accessing it. The Connect can also connect wirelessly to other Sansa Connect devices and the two can trade songs so long as both users are paid subscribers to the Yahoo service, which runs $14.99 a month (standard for subscription service these days). Another benefit to this wireless sharing is that, unlike the Zune, there is no time-limit on listening to shared music.
The Sansa Connect requires some ports to be opened on your router/firewall. Here they are for your convenience:
- Trigger: Port 1755, Type: Both
- Firewall: Ports 1024-5000, 504, Type: Both
- Schedule: Always
Conclusion: Overall, this device has definitely exceeded my expectations and I will be keeping my Yahoo! Music subscription to enjoy the device for a long time to come. The Sansa Connect by SanDisk is a wonderful device that I could not recommend enough to anyone looking for a portable mp3 with wi-fi capabilities.