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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

SanDisk E250 + Linux

I purchased a SanDisk E250 Media Player with 2GB storage, mainly to play MP3s, but it also views images and plays video clips. It was on sale in JB Hi Fi, so I paid A$168 for it. I’m using it with my Mandriva Linux desktop PC at home.

I’ve only played with it a few hours. Despite good Linux connectivity support, there are some annoying shortcomings that dragged this product down.

Here are the pros and cons (in my opinion):


  1. Very easy USB connectivity to my Linux PC. Just set it to use Mass Storage mode and it automatically mounted when plugged into the PC. This is a VERY BIG PLUS for me, since Linux is all I use.
  2. Clear screen, good quality sound.
  3. Intuitive and easy-to-get-started interface.
  4. Supports Chinese title text (but only after changing the language to Chinese).


  1. Does not seem to be able to group songs into directories. All songs from all sub-directories are listed. There is however a play-list that one can add songs to, but only one play-list. It does grouping based on ID3 v2 tags, so I work around this limitation by setting the Album tag using a little program called id3v2. Its still a hassle to have to manually set this tag for all the MP3s that I upload to the player.
  2. Very limit support for image ( 16 bpp BMP) and video (MJPEG Quicktime) formats. The player comes with a Windoze-only media converter software that’s useless to me of course. Gimp can now be used to save images as 16 bpp bitmap. Video encoding is also very tricky as most other blogs on the Web are also complaining of the difficulty of encoding to the very peculiar color format. Hopefully someone out there knows the required mencoder options for this. I have no idea why SanDisk chose such weird formats for an otherwise very capable player. Very frustrating!
  3. Built-in batteries that can only be charged when plugged into a computer’s USB port, and the computer must be left on. There is an option to use a AC adaptor, but that’s an extra accessory.

Overall, I can only give it a barely passing mark.

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