UK Price (as reviewed): £34.99 (Incl. Tax and delivery)
US Price (as reviewed): $46.99 (Excl. Tax and delivery)
The Sansa MP3 player line
is pretty popular in the bit-tech
offices, with both Tim and Richard sporting one when out and about, and myself borrowing a player on more than one occasion as the microphone is excellent for recording interviews. With this in mind, we obviously leapt at the chance to review the Sansa Base Station dock for our favourite little nano-killer.
The Sansa Base Station supports Sansa players from the c200-Series and e200-Series upwards. This means there's some good news and some bad news regarding the base station. The good news is that it means we can give it a comprehensive testing using Tim's Sansa e260 player. The bad news is that it means we'll have to listen to his Lionel Richie collection in the process...
Hello, is it you I'm looking for?
Opening up the box and getting our hands on the actual station, our initial impressions were very favourable. Stylish constructed from glossy black plastic, the Sansa Base Station is reassuringly weighted without being too heavy and has a nice slim profile.
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To be specific about the matter, the station stands at 200mm tall without any of the mechanical adapters (which hold the player steady and not much else) in place. The station, without remote control or adapters, weighs in at 142 grams, so it's hardly punching like a heavyweight.
It's heavy enough to feel secure and sturdy though and the bottom of the station is framed with fancy rubberised plastic which ensures it won't slip on even the glossiest and most well-lubricated of coffee tables (I don't want to know what you get up to in your own time... - Ed.
The Sansa Base Station comes with two plastic adapters to keep players securely in place when docked on the station and both of them plug down over the top of the Sansa's connection. Both adapters fit securely and clip into the house of the main station, with players fitting snugly into them without scratching or wobbling at all, either of which we'd take as a signifier of low build quality.
Less impressive is the holder for the remote control. The remote's dock is actually just a small recess which holds the remote upright at a similar angle to the player, giving the whole thing a classic, laid-back kind of vibe to it. The recess actually proves deep enough to keep the remote control secure too, keeping it in place even as we jolted the desk around a little underneath the poor little thing.
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The remote control is a fairly standard affair, being just a little smaller than the player itself and made from a matching black plastic. It's very lightweight and slim, taking a single CR 2025 lithium battery as a power source. Swapping batteries out is a clumsy ordeal as the battery has to be loaded into a small framing dish and then clipped back into the end of the remote's body.
It's not exactly hard to do, but it feels a bit fiddly the first few times until you get the hang of it and can easily recognise which way to insert the battery and dish into the remote.
The remote is a simple design too, which makes sense given that the Base Station isn't exactly the most complicated device we've ever looked at
. It's got a whopping six buttons for pause/play, skipping tracks and controlling volume as well as the obligatory on/off. The buttons are all decently sized and spaced apart, making them easy to press. More importantly, there's a good deal of resistance in the buttons and they give a satisfying, but somewhat cheap, clicking feeling when pressed.
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The most important thing though is that the remote is small enough for users to wrap a hand around easily, so it can be used as a plectrum for some air guitar antics, though that's not much of a concern when you're confined to listening to Lionel Richie's greatest (nay, definitive) hits...