SanDisk has just announced its latest Sansa player, the View. It seems like SanDisk, just like Creative, decided that a short and snappy name was the way to go. Although the original View was a much larger device, it seems like SanDisk has taken the tried and tested approach with the View and just improved upon the e200 series. Mind you, this is by no means a bad thing as the e200 was a real competitor for the iPod nano over a year ago.
What you're looking at is a very slim player, although not quite as slim or as small as the iPod nano, but still smaller than the new Zen from Creative. The View measures 108 x 49.5 x 8.8mm and it weighs in at 82.2g. But this isn't really what makes it stand out, as this just gives it a rather slim and stylish design. It has a 2.4in QVGA LCD display, that's 0.1in smaller than the Creative Zen and 0.4in larger than the nano.
In terms of supported file formats the View won't disappoint, as it will play back H.264, WMV and DivX encoded MPEG4 video, all at 30fps. Music on the other hand is "limited" to MP3, WMA - with and without DRM - WAV and Audible audio books. It doesn't support any lossless formats, nor does it support the DRM free iTunes format like the new Zen. It will also display JPEG pictures and album art.
None of the reasons above really makes the Sansa View stand out, but there are two reasons why it does. Reason one is that the View comes in either 8 or 16GB, but the real corker here is the fact that the 8GB version is US$149.99 with the 16GB one coming in at $199.99, that's 99 cents more expensive than either iPod nano, but you get twice as much memory. That's hard to knock, but the Sansa View has one more ace up its sleeve, it's got a microSD card slot and it's compatible with SDHC cards, so you could add a further 8GB and larger cards will be out before the end of the year.
The second reason is battery life, Creative and Apple manages 25 and 24h respectively for audio and both manages 5h for video. The Sansa View beats them easily at 35h for music and 7h for video. That's enough for most long haul flights and back in terms of music playback time and you'll get quite far with 7h of video.
The new design looks much cleaner than the Sansa e200 series and it looks like SanDisk has improved upon the controls. It stills packs a mic for voice recordings and it will feature an FM radio with 20 presets, although this might not be a standard feature in some countries or territories such as the EU as they charge a fairly hefty import tax on radio's for some reason. The only complaint we have is the fact that the View doesn't use a standard mini USB connector, but at least SanDisk has stuck with the same interconnect as it's previous generation of players.
If you're ready to get one or just want some more info, head over to SanDisk