Apple's iPod nano is the undisputed champion of the middleweight MP3 player division. It's small, has a good capacity, great sound quality and ample battery life. Oh, and it looks and feels fantastic.
The 2007 iPod nano is so good in fact, that no other player has been able to compete successfully in the same market. Until now of course, because this SanDisk Sansa Fuze is brilliant too.
It's very similar in size to the iPod nano. The screen is a similar dimensions. And both of them have startling good quality audio output.
But the key for the Sansa Fuze is its price. A quick browse of Play.com shows that you can currently get an iPod nano 4GB for £99. Not a bad price for such a great music player. However, on the same site, the 4GB Sansa Fuze costs £69.
We make that £30 cheaper which is a lot when you're looking relatively at the total cost of these lower-end players.
It's impossible to separate the two products on features. If either one has the edge, it's the Fuze, which comes with SanDIsk staple-features like an FM radio tuner and a voice recorder. The iPod nano doesn't have either of those features – but some would argue that that doesn't matter too much.
The Fuze also comes with a MicroSD expansion slot so if you wanted you could expand the memory of the player by a further 1GB.
Mini Sansa View
If you're familiar with other models in the Sansa range, you'll notice that the Fuze is basically just a squashed down version of the Sansa View, which we reviewed back in February. And that's not a bad thing in any respect.
The interface is the same, and thankfully the scroll wheel also remains. It's very similar to the iPod's clickwheel, but instead of touch sensitive scrolling, the Fuze uses a roundabout wheel which literally turns with your thumb.
Sounds pretty good so far, doesn't it? But it's not all good news.
If you were to buy one – you'd certainly be happy with it. You'd have saved £30 over an iPod, and you'd have a great little MP3 player. However, if you were to put it side-by-side with an iPod nano, there's only one you'd choose.
Made of plastic
The nano's brush metal exterior, solid feel and sexy interface make it a much nicer product to use. The Fuze's plastic coating doesn't look or feel as good. And ultimately, that's why the iPod nano will remain dominant.
But in the end, it comes down to what you can afford. If you don't want to pay the full whack for an iPod nano, this is the player to get.