The SanDisk Sansa View returns

So you might remember that earlier this year SanDisk introduced, and then somewhat abruptly cancelled, the Sansa View, a new widescreen flash-based portable media player. At the time they said they wanted to "re-scope the product" and "develop a PMP that will meet the needs of the market." Well, the result is the all-new Sansa View, a completely different device that seems more like a proper successor to SanDisk's much-loved Sansa e200 series than a follow-up to the product we played with at CES back in January.

The result is a smaller player that less video-centric, but does improve on the e200 series in lots of important ways. They've upped storage to 16GB (there's also an 8GB version coming out), made it thinner (it's about 8.8mm at its thinnest), added better video codec support (it handles MPEG4, WMV, and h.264), increased the screen size and resolution (to 2.4-inches and 320 x 240 pixels, respectively), eliminated that dedicated voice recorder button which we were always accidentally pressing (yes, we should have disabled it in the preferences), and replaced the sub-par music control buttons with a clickable scroll wheel (which we're hoping is as good as the one on the Sansa Connect). There's also an FM tuner, integrated digital voice recorder, a microSD memory card slot that can handle microSDHC cards up to 8GB in size, support for playback of MP3, WMA, and WAV audio files, and enough battery life for playback of at least 30 hours of audio and 6 hours of video. Should be out sometime early next month, with the 8GB model retailing for $149.99 and the 16GB model going for an extra fifty bucks. Click on for a gallery of high-res images.