I have some strong words for the iriver E100 and to sum up my review in two blunt words: epic fail. By any other means it would have been just a mediocre MP3 player, but I use these harsh words because I expect much more from iriver.
It seems they realized their mistake to cheap out on the E100 and are revamping the player with an aluminum case and a better LCD screen. Additionally, they are getting rid of the external speakers- this being good news since they may make for a slimmer design and really the speakers were pretty weak by standards to begin with. So all in all it should be a very nice upgrade to be released sometime at the end of summer.
The Sansa e200 is one of the best selling budget players ever and that shows on the number of loyal users it has. The original firmware is buggy and somewhat limited, so when Rockbox was released on the player many people praised it. Now a new player has joined the game, SansaLinux.
SansaLinux is a port of iPodLinux, and only works with the V1 e200 players. It’s still being developed, and so far LCD, audio and keys are working, while other features are planned or in development. It’s always nice to see custom firmware for players, so hopefully this project will make it all the way through.
There are a few problems with in-vehicle accessories such as player docks and other player specific accessories. Let’s say that you bought an iPod and had a dock professionally installed to look and work seamlessly with your car’s stereo or after market head unit. Then you finally see all the cool features and devices you are missing outside of the fascist iPod ecosystem. Now you have to tear out that incredibly slick install you just paid top dollar for.
IME has developed and answer to this problem with the IME Dock. The modular dock system will give you a clean install and allow you to upgrade your device across different brands. Each dock will power and supply audio and video line out to your factory stereo or after market head unit.
Currently docks for Microsoft Zune, SanDisk Sansa, and iPod. But IME also has future plans for other players and mobile phones. An interesting thing that I found out while talking with IME was that the Zune dock system has been selling the most preorders. Go Zune!
Soon to be released the dock system will sell for $250 and include one snap on dock for the brand of your choice. When you are ready to change brands a new dock will only cost you around $90. I will be checking one of these out as soon as they are released. This will be a very useful accessory for my massive collection of MP3 players.
We have quite a lively group in the Sansa forums that have been violating their precious hardware. In this episode one of the members was not a fan of the blue scroll wheel. So soldering iron and flux in hand forum member Affenjunge tears into his e250 and changes the lights to… red. There are four LED’s located behind the wheel so it would be possible to create a multi-color-disco-tech Sansa.
So if you have never picked up a soldering iron or do not know what flux is you should leave this up to the pros. If you do have a steady hand, a 15 watt soldering iron, and you don’t mind voiding your warranty, then you may proceed.
[Sansa LED Hack]
All of you Sansa fans are in for more accessories, this time from a third party, Altec Lansing. At this time we don’t have any of the specs or retail pricing, but we do know that it will be compatible with the e200 and c200 series MP3 players. Additionally there will be an optional subwoofer that will plug into the back and give you a little more movin’ and shakin’.
From personal experience, Altec Lansing makes a decent set of speakers. I have a few of their under $50 2.1 setups. While their gear may not be audiophile quality they are very impressive for an inexpensive speaker. Now both the SanDisk Sansa e200 and Altec Lansing speakers have been paired up to give you the ultimate bang-for-the-buck factor.
[Altec Lansing - Made for Sansa]
SanDisk is not messing around when it comes to getting their Sansa MP3 players into the hands of many. One of the biggest complaints that non-iPod owners have is the lack of accessories that are available. With the introduction of more and more accessories for non-iPods, these complaints should slowly fade away; in SanDisk’s case that fade may start here.
The Sansa docking station comes equipped with audio, power, and USB inputs with a remote that mounts in the back of the dock. Also included in the box is an RCA audio cable, USB cable, power adapter, and inserts for the corresponding models. The dock will go on sale sometime in October and will retail for around $70.
…more photos after the jump
The SanDisk Sansa e200 series includes the e250, e260, and e270. The 2GB, 4GB, and 6GB are a new breed of high capacity flash based MP3 player set to compete in features, as well as price, with the Samsung Z5 and iPod Nano. The Sansa e200 has a few advantages over the two, such as a brilliant 1.8” screen, video playback, expandable memory, and a user replaceable batter.
SanDisk, seemingly out of nowhere, has come up with something to shake up the portable audio market. They will be an interesting competitor to watch.
The SanDisk Sansa c100 series includes a 1GB (c140) and 2GB (c150) version of this flash based MP3 player. The player includes your basic set of features, including a 1.21 inch screen for viewing photos and navigation through WMA and MP3 audio files. The player will also support WMA DRMed tracks, including subscription services such as Yahoo! Unlimited and Napster To Go. The Sansa c100 also packs in an FM tuner and voice recording.
Overall the SanDisk Sansa c100 series is a good entry level MP3 player, but has some issues with build quality.