Sandisk Sansa E260 Rockbox Review
Features of the original firmware
For a review with the standard firmware, please take a look at engadget.com, as I haven’t used the original firmware long enough to say something about it.
Additional features of rockbox
Rockbox comes packed with an overwhelming amount of additional features compared to the standard firmware. I’ll pick out a few and explain them in detail.
Installation is quite easy, just get yourself a copy of sansapatcher for the operating system of your choice, run it and copy the .rockbox folder to the root directory of your sansa.
Even easier with RockboxUtility, but as far as I can see, not yet that stable.
The current version of the bootloader is 4.0, coming with sansapatcher 0.6. It features a lock for the database reload of the original firmware, which still has to be used to transfer files to the sansa, as the software USB stack is not yet ready, only charging should work at the moment, but even this does not work for me, as rockbox instantly reboots the player when connected via USB.
One of the best selling point for rockbox is it’s format support. You’ll be delighted when you read the list of supported codecs, among the are MP3, Vorbis, Musepack, FLAC, Shorten, Monkey’s Audio, MIDI and many more.
As some of you might know some of the advanced features good software audio players like foobar2000 offer, rockbox supports AlbumArt, Replaygain, Crossfeeding, Dithering and is even able to write a log file of the songs you listen to which later can be uploaded to last.fm!
The default user interface is a bit unimpressive at first sight, but the extremely flexible ‚while playing screen‘ system and the respective tags enable you to do whatever you can think of.
If you dont want to tinker with all of this, there are a bunch of already available themes, which can be found here.
For file transfers Sansa users still have to use the original firmware as the current mp3 players don’t include a dedicated usb chip (presumably to save a few cents..) this has to be implemented in the firmware. Work is ongoing and should be ready soon ™. At least its coming and this will make rockbox even greater.
Small games, a gameboy emulator and other nice things add even more functionality to the devices, albeit not really needed.
While not yet feature complete (think file transfers) rockbox beats the original firmware in every aspect except playing DRM’ed wmas if I’m right on this. I don’t have any of them, so I can’t say for sure, but I doubt there exists an open solution for this.
For me, rockbox impressively demonstrates the power of open source development, beginning with reverse engineering rockbox has made a great impact on future consumer choices. Creating what the original manufacturer should provide, rockbox adds additional features which are useful and nice to have, especially eliminating the need to reconvert my music to a format supported by the device. On some devices battery life is already better than with the original firmware!
This time no bling or images, but if someone wants to have some images, just ask!