Review: SanDisk Sansa Clip

The Clip actually feels pretty good in the hand and while it’s not a player that you’ll be using in your hand all that often, the controls are nice and stiff while having an almost vibrating feel as you glide your fingers over the directional pad. You won’t be using a click wheel like on other devices but instead get a four-way clickable directional pad with a centre button. There’s also a home button in case you get lost (in the menu) as well as a power & hold button on the left side with volume on the right.

With SanDisk recently announcing their newest mp3 player, I have (coincidentally) decided to write the review of an mp3 player that’s been with me for a couple of weeks now. A SanDisk mp3 player.

In a time when it’s hard to get by without a portable music player and every second or third person has an iPod, you might find that there is an abundance of choice on the market. You can get mp3 players in big sizes with big screens, medium sizes with small screens, small hand-held sizes with video capable screens, and even postage stamp sized mp3 players for when you need just a little bit of music.

It’s that tiny “fits in your pocket” stamp sized mp3 player that doesn’t offer a lot of choice. Companies like Apple, iRiver, and Creative have been offering the USB key candy-bar players for a while and now that the Apple iPod Shuffle has been redesigned to be literally the size of a stamp (but thicker), companies are racking their brains to come up with a way to stand up to the Shuffle.

Presenting the SanDisk Sansa Clip, an mp3 player that takes the size of the Shuffle and makes it a bit longer. OK sure, it’s not a perfect square like the Shuffle is but for the extra size, you get a very usable black & blue OLED screen. So unlike most of the other pint-sized media players that rely on you memorising what each track is, the Clip provides a screen that you can actually navigate.

You also get the ability to pick up FM radio, record voice, and around 15 hours of playback time. While you can’t play Apple’s AAC or MP4 based audio formats like M4A, you can play MP3 and WMA so this is obviously more geared towards PC users.

Much like the current generation of iPod Shuffles, you even get a clip on the back, hence the namesake of this model the “Clip”. This means you can clip it to… well… anything you can clip something to. Most people will clip it to their clothes or a pocket, but you could do a backpack strap or your ear if you were so inclined.

The Clip actually feels pretty good in the hand and while it’s not a player that you’ll be using in your hand all that often, the controls are nice and stiff while having an almost vibrating feel as you glide your fingers over the directional pad. You won’t be using a click wheel like on other devices but instead get a four-way clickable directional pad with a centre button. There’s also a home button in case you get lost (in the menu) as well as a power & hold button on the left side with volume on the right.

Overall, it’s a relatively capable device.

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About the only thing you can complain about the Clip with is its volume: it’s just too quiet. Turn it up to the highest setting and you probably won’t still get a loud enough volume. I mean yeah, my ears are probably damaged beyond belief from the hundreds of guitar and bass amps that I’ve visited in my life. But if you frequent clubs, chances are yours too. If you’re somewhere between the 16 and 30-something age bracket, the Clip is just likely not loud enough. When I hit the loudest point I actually blurted out “Wait… that’s it?” because it just isn’t loud enough. Someone at SanDisk needs to watch that Spinal Tap moment where the amp gets pushed to 11.

The SanDisk Sansa Clip needs an “11”. It needs to be much louder.

But if your hearing is in good condition, you won’t have a problem. I guess what it then comes down to is what do you want in an mp3 player.

The Apple iPod Shuffle and the SanDisk Sansa Clip both do the same thing, but if you’re looking for a more fashionable item, the Clip isn’t it. It’s not bad, but it’s not a trendsetter in the way the Shuffle is. Yes, it can clip to something, but it’s not the same sort of clip. It’s also more convenient sporting a USB connection instead of a proprietary docking connector.

While the 1GB is listed with an RRP of $82 and found around the $60 mark, it’s in a price point that really can’t be beat. As someone who has tested the Shuffle (even the old one) and does like it, the screen is actually that much more useful to have on an mp3 player.

If you’re after an easy to use mp3 player for a great price point, the SanDisk Sansa Clip is certainly one to try out.

Should you buy it?: If you’re after a very small and inexpensive mp3 player that isn’t an Apple, I’d play with it at a store first.

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Product: SanDisk Sansa Clip

Vendor: SanDisk

RRP: From $82

Website: SanDisk Sansa

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