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Review: SanDisk Sansa Clip

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Quick Version: Starting at under $40, the Sansa Clip from SanDisk makes an excellent wearable MP3 player if you’re looking for something small that still has plenty of features.

Overview and Features:

  • 1.35 x 2.17 x 0.65 inches (W x H x D), less than an ounce heavy
  • MP3, WMA, WMA subscription services, and Audible file playback
  • OLED screen
  • Built-in FM tuner with 40 presets
  • Built-in microphone for voice recording
  • Rechargeable battery lasts about 15 hours
  • Pricing: $39.99 (MSRP) for 1GB storage, $59.99 for 2GB, $79.99 for 4GB, $99.99 for 8GB. You can find them online for about $10 to $20 cheaper, though.

It’s good for…

…Windows users, people who use subscription music services, people who still listen to the radio, and people who want a small MP3 player with a screen. The Clip has been (and will continue to be) compared to the iPod Shuffle and while I don’t want to get into a whole Mac versus Windows thing here, I’m happy to report that the Clip is a perfectly capable digital audio player that can be clipped to your clothing like the Shuffle yet it has features the Shuffle doesn’t, such as an FM tuner, voice recording, subscription music compatibility, and a screen.

Setting up and using the Clip is easier than falling in love. You plug it into your computer’s USB port, it starts charging, and an explorer window pops up allowing you to drag and drop files onto it. It syncs with Windows Media Player as well.

Sound quality is excellent for such a small device (bring your own headphones) and battery life is long enough that it never seems to be an issue. I’ve used the Clip on and off for the past month or so and I think I’ve only recharged it once or twice. The little OLED screen is nice to have and navigating the UI works well enough, although the buttons on the player are a tad bit confusing at first. Nothing serious, though.

It’s not so good for…

…Mac users and/or people who don’t need any features beyond basic music playback. It’s about as simple as it can get without actually being an iPod Shuffle, but you still do have to navigate the menus to get your music playing and the Clip is a tiny bit larger than the Shuffle. Not a huge deal either way, but there you have it. On its own and without being compared to other MP3 players, though, I find the Clip to be an excellent choice for the money.

I wish it had…

…the headphone jack mounted on the top of the device instead of on the right-hand side, and a flip-out USB connection. The headphone jack isn’t a deal-breaker by any means. I just found it to be kind of awkward for some reason. I do wish the USB connection was built into the Clip, though. I think Apple had the right idea with the first-generation Shuffle’s built-in USB connection — it’d be cool if the Clip had a switchblade USB connection similar to the one found on the Flip video cameras.

Finally, I like the included voice recording feature but it would have been cool to extend it to recording the radio as well, kind of like the iRiver players. Not that I’d ever actually use that feature, but some people might. Just a thought.

Recommendation:

If you’re a Windows user looking for the best bang for your buck, the Clip is a hard player to pass up. It’s definitely a good choice for working out and for people who use subscription services. The voice recording and FM tuner are nice additions, too.

Product Page [SanDisk.com]

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