Sandisk is a well-known and respected name in the solid state storage market. Up until recently, it was not really known at all in the media player market. They are, however, obviously a quick learner: recently they became the number two seller in the market, behind Apple, with the SanDisk Sansa 6GB.
The design of the Sansa will be nothing new to anyone who has used an MP3 player in the past. There is certainly a homage to the iPod in this device with the rotating wheel.
The Sansa has the ability to play video, as well as display picture slideshows. This is great for watching music videos and the like; however, I would not like to watch a movie on it as the screen is just not large enough. That said, the screen is a good one; it shows a good level of clarity on the device's menus. There's also the ability to record audio using either the supplied microphone, or the device's built in microphone.
The player is well bolted together as well. The back of the device is metal, and the front seems to be fairly resistant to scratches and scuffs. The left hand side of the device has the slot for a MicroSD expansion card, a great idea if you need a bit more space.
The interface itself is quite intuitive and easy to navigate, but it is not without its issues. For one thing, it would be nice to be able to tell the device to play an album, rather than having to select first the album, then the first track. The playlist functionality could also do with a tweak or two.
There are a couple of little niggles in the hardware as well: the record button - used to activate the microphone - is unfortunately set on the left top of the device; if you use it with your right hand, it is very easy to press by accident. You do get used to it, though. There is one other technical issue that is not so easy to solve - there are four buttons around the scroll wheel, and because of the height of the scroll wheel it is sometimes difficult to easily press them when needed.