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[vox-tech] Sandisk sansa view review (from a linux perspective)
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[vox-tech] Sandisk sansa view review (from a linux perspective)

I needed a new MP3 player my requirements were:
* Must work well with linux and the company must not be openly antagonistic
towards linux (Like say encrypting your metadata database)
* Must be relatively small, ideally solid state
* Must have a reasonable amount of storage, at least enough for a small/medium
personal collection
* Ideally would be charged over USB (less wall warts).

What I found as the most promising selection was the sandisk sansa view, previous models had worked with linux and the 16GB model was $175.

The out of the box experience was less than impressive, a few crashes and hangs, linux didn't recognize it. I was about to return it when I heard there was a new firmware, which of course by default required windows (which I don't have). After further research discovered you could just unzip the installation files and drop them in /.

Of course getting the MP3 player mounted was the next challenge, turns out there's a trick to enable UMS/MSC mode. Seems like Microsoft and the fairplay/play for sure/whatever they call it are pressuring the mp3 player manufacturers to not allow folks to access their mp3 players as a storage device. God forbid the heathen folks that actually own CDs play the vile and disgusting DRM free music on their players easily.... anyways. It works,
I copied the firmware to /, it recognized it, upgraded, and said it was rebooting.

With the new firmware.... no hangs. I copied over my music, it took a minute or two to process and it all showed up.... except for the stuff I had corrected with easytag. Turns out it doesn't like the ud3v1 tags. I ran id3v2 --convert fixed it right up. I think just unchecking the id3v1 checkbox in easytag fixes it as well but I haven't verified.

So in summary:

The good:
* You can upgrade the firmware with linux
* You can transfer music on to and *gasp* off up this unit from linux
* Small, solid state, has normal earphone jack
* plays mp3 and m4a files (and probably others)
* plays videos and displays JPGs
* 16GB for $175.
* Sandisk forum (is somewhat helpful) and the anythingbutipod.com forum (more
* can be expanded (storage slot)
* reasonably slick GUI

The bad:
* the firmware sucks unless you upgrade
* not a huge ecosystem of speakers, chargers, docks, covers, armbands, and
related accessories
* Unit supports video out, but no cable yet

The unknown:
* Generating playlists for linux (I'm optimistic and on the todo list)
* Generating video from linux (I'm optimistic, does seem kinda silly
considering the screen size)

IMO, it's hard to do better for 16GB and $175 if you want it to work (relatively) easily with linux. Certainly speak up if you know of something.
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