Sansa C250 MP3 Player Review
Reviewed by: Bosco
Reviewed on: April 24, 2008
The weather is starting to look like Spring, the skies are blue, air is crisp and the snow is gone. Alas, it is time to hop on your Crotch Rocket and actually get some physical activity for a change after being inside all winter. You decide to go for a ride and grab your trusty old Walkman and head for the open road. You manage to sweat, swerve, and speed your way up the mountain road and now it's time for a little downhill. The first corner you take sharp and you are pleased with the style and finesse with which you execute the maneuver. At this moment, you realize that the brick sized audio device by your side completed the corner faster than you did, and it flew directly into a tree. This can be looked at in both a good and a bad way. The bad thing would be losing your music while riding, the good being that you don't look like an idiot wearing something that should be on display in a museum. If you are the type of person that does that sort of thing, you might as well have an old brick cell phone on your hip as well, just so it matches age wise. Getting back to the music, if you had something smaller like a Sandisk Sansa c250 MP3 player, this might not have been a problem.
The Sandisk Sansa c250 MP3 player is one of many MP3 players currently on the market. There is not much to most MP3 players, most designs are sticking to the "keep it as simple as possible" theory. What are some bonuses you get from this MP3 player as opposed to any run-of-the-mill MP3 player? Let's find out.
The packaging for the Sansa c250 MP3 player is a nice change from the average iPod white box. The Sansa c250 MP3 player comes in a bubble pack with some funky graffiti of strange music loving dogs, or something to that effect. The finer points of the packaging are that all of the specs are listed at the back, and you can actually see what you are purchasing and not just a picture of it.
The Sansa c250 MP3 player comes complete with headphones, USB cable, carrying strap, software, and neck strap. As a bonus, you also get the creepy music loving graffiti dog stickers pack.
The Sansa c250 MP3 player has simple, easy to use controls and also features a record button. What does the future hold for this button? We shall see. The record button and the mic are two things the standard iPod does not offer, along with a micro SD expansion slot.
When opening up the Sansa c250 MP3 player, you will find the proprietary battery found in most MP3 players these days, no more double AAs in these tiny units. When booting up the device again, you see the graffiti dog and the control and menu buttons light up blue.
Let's look a little more into this product in the next section.
To install this unit, just connect one end of the supplied transfer cable to the C250. The other end, of course, goes to any available USB port on your computer.
After plugging in the USB cable, I see the familiar "Found New Hardware" balloon pop up and try to find a driver, only to find none on the PC. Logic dictates that it should be found on the disc, so I load it up and run through the installation. I find nothing else on the CD but a media file compressor and the user manual. So I run through the installation.
After installing the Media Converter, I find that there is still no driver. Great, so this thing doesn't work, I tried everthing with no luck. I read through the user manual, which says no driver required, so I go back to the store where I bought it, but I get the same results. A third trip to the store brought me the same results. This is not looking too good, is it me or the unit? Read on.
No point in putting up a testing section, because there wasn't any testing.
So I decided to phone Sandisk tech support for some help, thinking it might be me with the issue. I follow the "press 1 for this, 3 for that," finally ending up to where I was supposed to be. Then I get this nice recording saying for this unit you need to contact tech support through email. No support for this unit by phone, just great. By this point, I had gone back to the store and tried three of these units and tried them all on five different computers, all with the same issues. So I am pretty mad by this point. After the second trip to the store that I bought it from, they told me they had got a few calls about these units not working from other customers. I was determined to find out why because I hate seeing people go through what I was currently going through.
I called the tech support number back and decided to go through the memory card tech support hoping to get someone on the phone. After finally waiting and getting someone on the phone, I explained the issue and he begins to tell me what I need to have. Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and Windows Media Player 10 or 11 is a must. I told him I had all of that and that it was still not working. His response was to contact Microsoft. That answer floored me and I said you can't be serious? Anytime I have ever called MS they would tell me it's not their product and to contact the company that made the product, so I wanted to avoid doing that all over again. At this point, he is trying to get rid of me by telling me to take it up with the store I bought it from and so on. I was thinking, there is no way this is going to happen, so I identify who I am and exactly what I do at OCC at what OCC is. At this point, the customer service rep decides he is going to try and help me by doing some troubleshooting.
So we start off by unplugging the device and reconnecting the device; "Found New Hardware" comes up, but same thing, cannot locate driver.
He then puts me on hold and goes to talk to level two tech support. After ten minutes or so, he comes back and says "OK, let's try disconnecting and power up the unit and go into settings." He says "change the USB settings from Auto to MSC, this will fix it." I am like, "great, that's it, I was the idiot." I reconnect the unit to the USB cable and turn the unit back on, the "Found New Hardware" wizard comes back up and he tells me to continue through clicking next. Same thing again, driver not found, so by this point I am now getting really mad. He puts me on hold again to go back to speak with level two tech support.
About five minutes later, he comes back and asks me to reconnect the unit and to choose search manually for the driver, so I choose the .inf he tells me. Again, same thing, driver not found.
He leaves again for another five minutes and comes back again and says "OK, we are going to backup the Windows registry," so of course my guard has now gone up. I backup the registry as he says, then he asks me to delete a 0000 file. A "Cannot Delete Specified File" comes up, so he says "I need you to reboot into Safe Mode so we can do some stuff in the registry." At this point, this has been going on for an hour, so I asked him "I can't be the only person that is having this problem," his response was "I don't know." As he told me that, I was not sure what I thought of that answer, he could have been telling the truth, who knows. I told him that I was not going to waste any more of my time on this because having being on the phone for an hour and three trips to the store, it was not worth it anymore.
I take the unit back to the store where I bought it from. It seems that they got this shipment in a few days before I came in. By the time I got back to the store, most of the units were back at the store. I asked them if they had talked to Sandisk and they said "yes, they give us the cold shoulder and told them to talk to their distributor and it had nothing to do with Sandisk." Nothing to do with them? It's Sandisk's product it has nothing to do with them??
I thanked them for allowing me to try a few units and allowing me take the pictures for this review. The store, I might add, took these players off of their shelves after I told them what I had just gone through, so my hats off to them for that.
So where does this product stand, you ask? Well, it works great for the five demo songs on it, but it's a little overpriced at $100 for demo songs and the Media Converter Software. As for as I am concerned, Sandisk should be ashamed of themselves, three units on five different computers, come on. You cannot tell me there is not a problem and brush it off like it's nothing. Was it a bad batch? Was it a bad product? I will never know because I never could get one to work. For tech support to not want to help me at first and to try and turn it onto Microsoft was just disturbing. After listening to the store's complaints about how they were treated and knowing how I was treated until I identified myself gives me the impression that Sandisk does not give a crap about anyone but themselves. Personally, if I were in tech support and I had a call like this, I would go and get someone to look into it. He couldn't wait to get off the phone with me, he didn't try and stop me at all, which again makes me wonder. I do not know of anyone with this unit who has it working. If you do have this unit, feel free to give me some of your feedback on it.
So what did I do in the end? I bought an RCA player instead, and guess what, it connected first time with no driver required.
What about Sandisk and their product called Sansa? I really don't know, to be honest. As for this product, it's a definite no, for sure. In my testing, it just did not work as advertised.
- Demo songs sounded great
- No drivers
- Doesn't work, except for demo songs