byEvan Blass||April 19th 2007 at 2:04pmApril 19th 2007 2:04 pm
Ever since MusicGremlin and Microsoft released their respective innovative-but-flawed wireless DAPs, we've been jonesing for someone to get direct-to-device downloading right, and while SanDisk seems to have taken a step in the right direction with its tempting 4GB Connect, early reviews prove that we still have a ways to go before these offerings fully cater to consumer demands. On the plus side, everyone seems to be lovin' the Connect's design, controls, and GUI -- unlike the Sansa e200 series, the scroll wheel and buttons seem to be solidly-built and well-placed -- along with the ability to listen to Internet radio (just Yahoo LAUNCHcast, though) and browse one's entire Flickr collection; also getting pretty high marks were the sound quality, microSD slot, and tinny-but-handy mono speaker. However, not all is well in Sansaland, with the Connect's downloading abilities severely hampered by the limited choices available from Yahoo Music Unlimited to Go (the only service that this will work with sans PC), not to mention the fact that Mac users are once again left out in the cold. SanDisk claims that it may provide firmware updates that allow such things as a critical search function and connections to paid hotspots, but certain downsides -- like the measly 6 hour / 12 hour WiFi on / off battery life and inability to share tracks with friends (only track names, which you could just as easily tell someone) -- will probably only be addressed with new hardware or not at all. Bottom line: if you can deal with a limited selection of tracks, anemic battery life, and no FM radio, the Connect certainly sounds like a winner -- and if you wait a while longer, version two will probably be even better.