Ideal for use when exercising or on the move, Sandisk's latest flash-based MP3 player, the Sansa Clip, offers a basic but fairly impressive portable music solution. It doesn't do anything mind-blowing, but the audio quality is excellent, the design is convenient and the interface is intuitive, making for a great all-around product. Also note the price tag, which thanks to Sandisk's heavy involvement in the flash memory market, is extremely low.
- Great interface, screen allows for easy navigation, good sound quality, low price
- AC adapter is not included in the sales package
Sandisk's Sansa Clip is a great value for money MP3 player. It has an intuitive display, great audio quality and a low price tag, as well as a clip that helps hold it in place making it ideal to use while exercising.
One key advantage the Clip has over competitors such as the iPod shuffle (Updated 2nd Generation) is its display. Even though the screen is barely 2x1cm it gives the advantage of easily browsing through your music and recordings. Thanks to the great interface which sorts perfectly by ID3 tag and track number (a feature that is surprisingly absent from many cheaper, flash MP3 players), the Clip is a breeze to use that even MP3 novices should have no trouble moving into the digital age.
The design itself is slightly larger than that of the iPod shuffle (Updated 2nd Generation) but measuring 56x36x13mm it is still extremely tiny. The clip that sits on the back of the unit and lends it its name also makes it ideal to attach to a belt or pocket and ensures it will stay in place even during vigorous exercise.
All the basic features you'd expect are here, including equaliser presets, shuffle and loop mode. The FM radio antenna picked up good reception in our offices and allows you to both store presets and record directly from a station to MP3. Meanwhile the voice recorder, while not outstanding, does the job for basic tasks. However, we'd recommend a proper dictaphone if you're going to regularly record lectures or something similar.
The quality of the audio produced by the Clip was very impressive. Flash-based MP3 players are typically a mixed bag when it comes to sound quality, with some (like the older iPod shuffle) producing excellent audio, while others have come up lacking. The Clip's sound was nicely balanced, with a rich mid range, powerful bass and sparkling highs. We tested using a high quality pair of headphones, because, as usual the default ear buds were less than inspiring. We'd recommend upgrading them if possible.
With a gloss black colour scheme and blue LEDs surrounding the simple control system, the Clip looks fairly smooth without being too fancy. We still prefer the style of the iPod shuffle (Updated 2nd Generation) but the Clip's aesthetic is fine too. Our first reaction when using the circular control wheel was to try scrolling (curse you iPod!), but once we worked out it was just a regular directional pad everything clicked into place. The buttons are a little stiff at times, but not terribly so and there are switches on either side to handle functions such as volume and hold.
The unit connects to a PC via a standard mini-USB cable and appears as a removable storage device once plugged in. This means you can simply drag and drop files onto the Clip, rather than fiddling with any software. That said, if you prefer you can synchronise it with Windows Media Player 10, allowing easier sorting if you have a large music collection. WMV, WAV and MP3 files are supported, which is a fairly small list. We'd have liked to see a few more options such as AAC, FLAC and audible.
The AC adapter is not included in the box, instead the Clip charges through the USB connection. The battery life is rated at 15 hours.
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