I had bought this for my girlfriend sometime before Christmas. It was a real bargain then: $125 when in Greece it cost double! I used it for about a week and promised myself that once my really old RCA Lyra died I’d get one of these. And so I did…
I found it for $199 at Amazon about 10 days ago, so I ordered it. Let me clarify here that e260 is the 4GB version. It has also a miniSD slot, so you can boost its capacity by 50% so far (I haven’t seen any miniSDs larger that 2GB). The player externally looks really beautiful (although this is really a matter of opinion). I like the black colour and the design in general. The screen is large enough for a unit of this size. The part I really liked was that the back cover is metallic, giving a very sturdy feel and the battery is user replaceable (by removing 4 small screws). The scroll wheel and buttons are not too well placed though and it makes it slightly harder to use (see below).
The interface is pretty straightforward and well-organized. The menu responce is quick. I can’t tell you anything about the bundled software because I didn’t use it (apart from the firmware updater). I haven’t used Windows Media Player to add songs either; I just changed the connect option so that it would be recognized as a USB drive from my PC and I just dragged & dropped my files in the /music directory (I use linux, hence the /).
I had a problem with the first unit I got for myself though: Every once in a while (about 1/15 I opened it) instead of music it’d produce only static, or only the left channel would play. Luckily no such problems appeared with my girlfriend’s Sansa till now, otherwise I’d get suspicious. I talked with Amazon customer support and immediately got a replacement. And what a surprise! I (think I) got a “new gen” Sansa – they had changed the wheel and the buttons. Now it’s much easier to navigate. Anyway, this unit worked just fine.
The only drawback I discovered: Sansa has issues. It doesn’t recognize songs with ID3 tags v.2.4.0. I contacted customer support and they verified it. They also said that they are not sure if they intend to fix this. This means that I’ll have either to somehow change all my 2.4.0 ID3 tags to 2.3.0, or learn to live with some of my songs’ tags not to be recognized.
Overall, I’d give it an 8/10. If there wasn’t that tag issue it’d get a 9.
Final random notes: Oh, and in case you wondered, battery life is really good. They promise ~20 hours and I can verify that that’s about what I got. Of course only music playing, not videos. And videos play okay, although the small screen is not suitable of course for long viewing. They have to be converted using the provided video converter so that they are resized and recompressed to a format that Sansa’s hardware can reproduce. After converting though keep in mind that you may end up with a file much larger that your original one – the compression rate is really low because the less the compression, the less powerful hardware you need to reproduce the video.