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Getting to Know My Sansa Rhapsody - e200R Series Review (Page 1 of 2)

I’ve spent the past week getting started with my new Sansa Rhapsody player, and I must say that this little baby is pure delight. Not only is it extremely capable, it’s exceptionally user friendly.

The Player

First, size matters when it comes to portable music devices -- especially those that display photos and videos as this Sansa e250 does. It’s the perfect size, not too big and not too small. It fits comfortably in the palm of my hand and glides into my pocket. While the 1.8” screen isn’t huge by any means, it’s large enough to accommodate a graphical user interface, display playlists and album information, and show off photos and videos.

The graphical user interface makes the Sansa extremely easy to use. I handed the music player to my six-year-old daughter to fiddle with while I thumbed through the owner’s manual and installed the software on my laptop. She had it mastered in less than five minutes. She knew how to listen to music, view photos and videos, and make voice recordings.

Sansa Rhapsody ScreenA glowing blue wheel on the face of the Sansa looks cool and is terrific for scrolling through various icons including music, Rhapsody channels, FM radio, photos, settings, voice recordings, and video. Simply scroll to the desired icon and click a button in the center of the wheel.

For example, by clicking on the music icon, a music menu displays with options for selecting music by artist, album, song, genre, playlist, personal top-rated songs, recordings, and Rhapsody channels.

This scrolling wheel also adjusts the volume which I find very helpful. No more fumbling through various menus or hitting awkward key combinations, simply scroll the volume up or down as needed.

Rhapsody Integration

The Sansa Rhapsody comes pre-loaded with hours of music and several Rhapsody channels so I had plenty of music to listen to straight out of the box. Rhapsody is an online music service featuring music for purchase or unlimited downloads along with “channels” of streaming music choices according to pre-defined genres. To download more music or update my Rhapsody channels with fresh songs, I simply connect the Sansa to a USB port and use the included software. Standard MP3 players are not capable of “music to go” type subscriptions such as the Rhapsody offerings.

My Sansa RhapsodyRhapsody has partnered with Sandisk and Best Buy to work seamlessly with the Sansa Rhapsody players (the Sansa Connect has a similar arrangement with Yahoo Music). I had to install the Best Buy Rhapsody Music Store’s software and that’s about it. The software lets you download Rhapsody music as well as manage the player’s contents. That said, you aren’t obligated to signing up for the service and you can certainly shop around for other comparable music stores.

Mine came with two months of free access to the Best Buy Rhapsody Music Store. During this trial subscription, I can download unlimited music and Rhapsody channels directly to the Sansa MP3 player. When the subscription expires, the music will too. It’s not like I can download hundreds of albums for free and keep them forever – drat! Whether or not I’ll extend the subscription remains to be seen. Even without a subscription to a music service, I can still download music to the player the old-fashioned way.

FM Tuner and Voice Recording

Sansa Media ConverterWith all the music already installed and the dozens of albums I’ve added in the past week, I can’t imagine ever using the built-in FM tuner but it’s there if I want it. One neat feature is the ability to record FM radio. This could be a cheap way to fill the Sansa with music. Simply press the “record” button on the side of the Sansa player when the FM radio station plays a hit song and the recording begins.

This recording feature can also be used for voice recordings because the Sansa Rhapsody comes with a built-in microphone. Once again, simply push the button and begin recording. My cell phone has a voice recording feature that I never use because it’s a pain working through the menu system in order to access it. This simple one-button voice recording system is far superior and has already come in handy. Continued on page 2 >>

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