Sansa Rhapsody Caveat – SD Expansion Worthless

sansarhap1.jpgOK, I love my new S250R, but today I learned something that made me love it less. Sandisk advertises the MicroSD expansion slot as a way to add memory to the device. The documentation describes a process for dragging and dropping tracks to the card.

First of all, the supposed device integration breaks down here. Why do I have to open File Manager to add tracks to the card, why not do it in the Rhapsody program?

Leave that aside for an even worse surprise. Only unprotected content can be added to the card. Sandisk tech support said I can purchase tracks from Rhapsody and move them to the card using Windows Media Player, but Rhapsody To-Go tracks can only be stored on the main flash drive.

I tried that – purchased a track, opened Media Player, and atttempted to import it. Surprise, surprise, Media Player doesn’t understand RAX (Rhapsody DNA-encoded) tracks, and it didn’t work. Maybe the Sandisk support guy meant that I can burn the track to CD, re-import it and THEN copy it over. If I wanted to do that, I’d buy another iPod.

Besides, I’ve always thought of “memory” as an increase in the overall size of the workspace or the storage area. Sandisk apparently treats it as a completely separate space, and places restrictions on what can be done there. Worse, nothing in their documentation reflects this. The fact that only unprotected MP3 and WMA files will work on the device should be written in bold letters anytime MicroSD is referenced in the manual.

This would be annoying but understandable if it weren’t for the purported tight integration between the hardware and content vendors. Sandisk and Rhapsody get equal billing on the E250R, but when it comes to memory expansion, the functionality is unchanged from earlier players.

I’ve complained to Sandisk about this and am waiting for an engineer to explain it to me. If and when that happens, I’ll post more here.

For now, though, I’d advise anyone looking to expand the E250R or any other E2xR player for anything other than your own ripped CDs or purchased content to save their money.