When it comes to capacity, who knew SanDisk would be such a dominant player? The No. 2 MP3 player brand has messed with the flash-player market by offering an 8GB version of its feature-packed Sansa e200 series for $250. And the e200 series can be expanded an additional 2GB. Last we checked, $250 also got you a 4GB iPod Nano. Even the 6GB Sansa e270 is cheaper at $220. If you want a compact player that's feature-filled and has no moving parts, check out this list.
1. SanDisk Sansa e280 (8GB), e270 (6GB)
Editors' rating: 8.3
The good: The SanDisk Sansa e200 series combines copious features like subscription compatibility, an FM tuner/recorder, voice recording and photo/video playback into a compact, durable device. We like the tactile navigation wheel and well-designed software interface. The user-removable battery and Micro SD slot are nice touches, and the device has decent sound quality, processor performance and battery life. Finally, the series has a maximum base capacity of 8GB and offers a competitive price.
The bad: No AC adapter in package; buttons surrounding the scrollwheel can be difficult to press; mechanical scrollwheel can tire out some thumbs; photos and video must go through conversion with bundled software; the expansion slot can be used with music only, not other media or data; and recordings are made only in WAV. The scrollwheel is not as easy to use as the iPod Click Wheel. Low levels of system noise can be heard through headphones.
The bottom line: The e200 series offers a boatload of features for a reasonable price, in a package that's much nicer than past SanDisk models. For those looking for a high-capacity, compact, skip-free MP3/WMA player, start with the e200 series.
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.