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Sansa Clip+ Review: A Review of SanDisk's Clip-on MP3 Player

Sansa Clip+ review (4GB, Black): A review of SanDisk's Sansa Clip+ MP3 Player

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 3 Star Rating (3 Reviews)

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Sansa Clip+
Photo - © 2010 Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Update: This model has now been superseded -- read the Sansa Clip Zip review for more information.

Introduction

When we reviewed the SanDisk Sansa Clip, we were impressed with its features and sound quality considering its low cost. SanDisk has now released the Sansa Clip+ which comes with new and improved features -- the most visible addition being the MicroSD card slot.

But, has SanDisk improved on their original portable enough to stay competitive in the growing budget MP3 player market?

Pros:

  • microSD card slot expands the players capabilities
  • Superb sound quality
  • Improved set of features
  • Excellent value for money

Cons:

  • Still comes with a very short USB cable
  • Control pad not illuminated

Before You Buy The Sansa Clip+

Minimum System Requirements:

  • Windows XP SP2, Mac OS X 10.3, Linux
  • Windows Media Player 10+.
  • Internet Access
  • USB 2.0 port
  • CD-ROM drive

Style & Design: The Sandisk Sansa Clip+ comes in a range of colors and storage capacities:

  • 2GB Version (black).
  • 4GB Version (black, ice blue, and burgundy red)
  • 8GB version (black).

Just like its predecessor, the unit is very small and the included clip on the rear of the MP3 player makes it practically wearable anywhere. Interestingly the clip on the back is now a fixed feature and can't be removed as you could with the Sansa Clip. The unit's design has also been improved and is more aesthetically pleasing - the case is more rounded and sleeker looking. Overall, SanDisk have done a great job of tweaking the Sansa Clip+ in terms of style, ergonomics, and build quality.

Package Contents:

  • Sansa Clip+ player
  • Earphones with foam covers
  • CD containing software for Rhapsody
  • USB 2.0 cable (for charging and file transfers)
  • Quick start guide.

The package contents are virtually identical to that offered with the original Sansa Clip -- even down to the very short USB cable! Unfortunately this hasn't been improved upon and so if you haven’t got USB ports on the front of your computer, or a USB hub, then transferring files and charging the unit could be inconvenient.

Getting Started

Sansa Clip+ PackagePhoto - © 2010 Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

Charging The Battery: The SanDisk Sansa Clip+ has a rechargeable battery that is charged via the supplied USB cable (mini-USB). According to the specifications, you can expect to get up to 15 hours of playing time from a full charge.

Earphones: SanDisk has packaged a decent set of earbuds with the Sansa Clip+. They are comfortable to wear and give a good audio response. The 3.5mm jack plug is gold-plated and there is a generous length of wiring that also acts as the aerial for the built-in FM radio.

Transferring Music: The Sansa Clip+ supports two USB modes for transferring audio files; these are MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) and MSC (Mass Storage Class). In MSC mode the device acts like a normal removable drive; MTP mode is useful for subscription services that use DRM protection. During testing, the Sansa Clip+ was detected automatically without any problems (Windows Vista). If you use a software media player (Windows Media Player, Winamp, etc.), you can then synchronize your music with the Sansa Clip+.

Device Features

Controls: The main user interface is almost identical to the original -- the unit now sports a square 4-way control pad, rather than a circular one as before. However, one downside to the new design is the absence of a back-lit control pad. This was a great feature in the original unit that gave you visual feedback every time a button was pressed. Overall, the controls have been improved upon. The multi-function slider switch (on / off / hold) has been removed in favor of a more user-friendly on/off power button; the controls are also better positioned.

Menu System: For the menu system, SanDisk have kept with the intuitive interface that made the original Sansa Clip so easy to use. As before, each of the menu items have animated icons and a description, these are: Music, slotRadio, FM radio, voice, and settings. SanDisk have made a number of additions to the menu system such as the new Replay Gain feature (useful for volume normalization) and the inclusion of the slotRadio menu to enable you to play audio from: MicroSD, slotRadio, or slotMusic cards. While playing a music track, the screen displays battery level, album, track title, and artist. Other useful information includes, track playing time, playlist number, and progress bar. Pressing the select button (located in the center of the control pad) displays a real-time 16-band graphics equalizer which is a nice 'eye candy' feature. SanDisk has done a great job of improving on the original menu system while keeping it user-friendly.

Screen Display: The Sansa Clip+ sports the same back-lit 1.0 inch color OLED screen as the original. The colors used to displayed the text and graphics (blue and yellow on a black background) makes using the display easy on the eyes. Screen brightness levels are also good, but this can be changed in the settings menu.

microSDHC Card Slot: This is probably the biggest single improvement that makes the Sansa Clip+ so expandable. As well as using your own microSD or microSDHC cards, the device is SanDisk slotRadio and slotMusic ready -- purchasing a slotRadio card for example instantly gives you an extra 1,000 songs.

Sansa Clip+ 3DPhoto - © 2010 Mark Harris - Licensed to About.com, Inc.

FM Radio: There are 40 presets for you to store your favorite radio stations and you can even record what you hear by pressing the down button. This is a useful option if you want to record for later playback.

Microphone: Not all MP3 players double as a voice recorder and so this feature adds value to an already feature-rich portable. On testing, we found the voice recording to be surprisingly clear.

File Formats:The SanDisk Sansa Clip+ is compatible with the following formats:

  • MP3
  • WMA and WMADRM (WMA secure)
  • WAV
  • FLAC
  • Ogg-Vorbis
  • Audiobook Files

Sound Quality: The Sansa Clip+ produces crystal-clear sound. Bass sounds are tight and punchy, while high-end frequencies reasonably detailed.

Conclusion

Is it Worth Buying?
With the addition of new features such as a microSD card slot, more supported audio formats, and enhanced menu options (i.e Replay Gain), the Sansa Clip+ has once again impressed us. The unit's design feels more solidly built than before, and the controls are easier to use. The most notable upgrade though has to be the microSD card slot that is also slotRadio and slotMusic card ready. Although it's hard to find fault with the Sansa Clip+, there are a couple of minor annoyances: the very short USB cable; and the absence of a back-lit control pad. However, these two minor annoyances don't overshadow the fact that the Sansa Clip+ is still a gem of portable that offers a great set of features and above all -- superb sound.

Disclosure: Review unit provided by SanDisk Corporation. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
User Reviews

Reviews for this section have been closed.

 2 out of 5
Disappointed, Member rayjim17

Read several reviews and I think the Clip is way overrated It has no bass to speak of and is harder to download than say the RCA Pearl for less money, This one is going in the trash for 40 bucks I can come up with allot better and I'm only giving It 2 stars because It did turn on.

4 out of 62 people found this helpful.

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