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on 27 October 2011
Short version: Overall, an ideal gift for just about anyone and probably the best music player I have ever used. If you want to spend more money - don't buy another player, just invest in some better headphones and a big micro SDHC card.

Long version (because I love listening to music and can't say enough good things about this gadget):

Pros: So many it is hard to know where to start. Here are some highlights:

1. Unbeatable bang for your buck. (Except maybe if the older clip+ is sold off cheap....).
2. Physically, it's smaller (and lighter?) than a matchbox - great for always having in your pocket or bag. Secure "clip" (of course) so handy for gym, running etc. Jazzy colours are available to put you in a good mood even before you switch on. Decent and bright colour screen to display album art, so easy to see at a glance what you are listening to, which for me was a problem for me with the earlier clip+.
3. Sound quality. This is excellent. In my view, on a level playing field without using their equalizers and on the same 'phones, this player sounds better than any iPod I've listened to and better than my own more expensive Sony S and A series players.("Better" is a subjective thing - so perhaps I should say in my opinion it sounds just as "clean", "detailed", and has enough "umph" and "bottom end" compared to much dearer players).
4. Getting music on it is dead easy by drag-and-drop. No need for special software like iTunes.
5. FM radio with RDS station display. Radio uses the headphone cord as an aerial and works with other `phones.
6. Supports the common music formats, inc mp3, AAC, and FLAC, and for mp3 anyway seems to play "gapless" - nice for listening to concerts without the player inserting silence between tracks.
7. Expandable memory - up to 32GB micro SDHC card. You can also load / update the card without plugging the player into the computer.
8. Micro-USB charge cable - easy to get a replacement.
9. Good battery life on mp3. I got 13 hrs on mp3 v2, and still had a little juice to spare.
10. Earphones are pretty good ear-bud types, easily upgraded - good 'phones can make a huge improvement to how this player sounds.
11. Good volume for headphone listening. This little beast easily powers decent medium sized/quality phones like my trusty Sennheiser PX100s I use at home. The player also has a region-specific volume limit. If you set the region of the player to UK/Europe (whatever the option is when you first switch on), even to my middle aged ears the volume is fine. But this is less than the player is capable of - if it sounds too quiet, like it will if you regularly play it through a car or home stereo, re-setting the Zip and changing the region to rest of world and/or using the replay gain feature with your own music can make it noticeably louder. Personally, I have kids with young ears who mainly use `phones so the EU volume limited setting is fine for us and saves our hearing.
12. Nifty additional features, like recoding from in-built mic/FM radio, and a stopwatch.

Is it a worthwhile "upgrade" if you already have a clip/clip+?

1. Yes - if you want the album art or improved radio/station display.
2. No - if all you want is better overall sound or are hooked on the enhancements free "rockbox" software gives earlier clips (ZIP isn't rockboxable, yet). (*)

Cons: Not really disadvantages, but so you know what you're getting:

1. The software/interface has some bugs so you'll need to keep an eye on SanDisk's website. [...] SanDisk have been known to add new features to the older Clip+ in this way). Nothing much to worry about though, and updating is easy.
2. RDS station name display needed a software update from the sandisk website before it worked on my Zip. Now it is is fine. (I'm in UK). This is a great feature on such a small gadet and worth buying for this alone if you're into radio. If you're player comes with the latest software the RDS should work straight off.
3. FLAC (CD-quality) noticeably hits the battery life compared to mp3. But, it also takes up several times the space and it is debatable whether or not most of us can even tell any difference between high bitrate mp3 and "lossless" FLAC. If you want near-as-dammit CD sound quality without being hammered on battery life or file size, using the player with mp3 recordings encoded by a high quality lame VBR setting should be fine (I use v2, or v0 for my favourite albums). I can't comment on iTunes' AAC playback, though the player is meant to support DRM-free AAC.
4. If you really want something to show your photos on, or play games/videos, look elsewhere (seriously, the screen is tiny and not up to iPod/walkman resolution).
5. Boring colour choice in the 8GB size. I mean it - black and grey???
6. Feels "plasticky", but this is also part of the attraction - after all, if you lose or break it, it won't cost a fortune to replace.
7. Rockboxers will have to wait. (*)

With Xmas coming, a Zip, decent set of phones, and micro-SDHC card would make an ideal musical package for almost anyone!

* EDIT 7.12.11: Since posting this, it has become possible to run "rockbox" on the zip. Rockbox isn't supported by sandisk and people who try this do it at their own risk. I won't be trying it as I'm giving this zip to my daughter as a present and don't want to risk ruining it or voiding the guarantee. There are several internet forums discussing pros and cons of "rockboxing" which are easy to find. I've no connection with either sandisk or the rockbox developers - just think that as it comes, the zip is a really tidy little gadget.
*EDIT 21.6.12 With the latest firmware, RDS now works in UK. I've changed my review as it didn't work when I first bought my Zip.
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on 27 December 2011
73 years young, love music, heard of MP3 of course but never used it or imagined just how good it could be. If you wanted to listen to good music when I was a lad it came all packed into three hundredwieght of Honduras Mahogany, and NO! you couldn't take it jogging with you. This Sansa is a wonderful little gadget not difficult to get used to, I can even operate it in the dark now. But the performance! After I reset it to "Rest of world". and bought a set of Reid and Heath earbuds, the quality of sound just blew me away. Simply fabulous. A big thank you to the young Techies and sound engineers who put all this gear together and place it well within reach. Seven star stuff really
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on 19 November 2011
I'll start by saying that I very nearly returned this immediately as completely unfit for purpose: apparently some beancounters in Brussels have decreed that for our own protection, the maximum volume output by any portable audio player sold in Europe must be slightly quieter than a mouse farting. Luckily after a quick Google, I found that circumventing this is a simple matter of changing the player's region from 'Europe' to 'rest of world' (you'll need to do a factory reset and reselect when it prompts you) and voilà; additional volume on tap, up to really ear-splitting levels should you so desire!

I wanted a replacement for a 2nd generation iPod Nano that was never quite the same after getting soaked during the Great North Run. I have a 160GB iPod Classic which pretty much lives hooked up in my car, and a HTC Desire HD w/16GB that I always have on me and onto which I throw a few tunes for when I'm at work or out and about. Neither is particularly portable so I also need a small, sturdy device with the sole purpose of playing tunes in the gym and when running.

Even as a non-Apple person, I must say my old Nano was bloody fantastic. However the new one is way overpriced and the tiny touch screen is infuriatingly fiddly for big man-hands to try and operate when running (I borrowed the missus's once...), so I went for the Sansa Clip Zip.

Three things immediately appealed to me:
- Micro-SD slot to expand memory (put that unused 8GB card out of my phone to use).
- Wide range of format support (Mmmmm.... FLAC ;) )
- Rockbox support coming soon.

So after a week of usage and tinkering, I offer the following observations:

- Excellent audio quality: all my lossy music is MP3 @ 320kbps and it sounds flawless through my Shure SE215 IEMs. Not tried any FLAC yet.
- Battery life appears to be very good, and pretty much spot on that quoted by SanDisk
- File navigation is quick and powerful. I would like to see an 'all files alphabetically by file name' browse option, but that's nit-picking.
- Standard micro-USB connection and no bloated software required - just appears to the OS as a removable drive.
- Value proposition is absolutely epic! Same price as an iPod Shuffle with 4x the memory and a usable screen, or less than half the price of an 8GB Nano.

- UI is a bit quirky and lacking a few basic things like song time played/remaining - uh, seriously guys, this is DAP interface 101 stuff...
- Copying files is sloooowwww - internal memory writes at ~3MB/s, SD card ~2MB/s (same card in my phone writes ~10MB/s)
- Playback of VBR AAC/M4A files encoded by iTunes is sketchy: stuttering and slowdown are evident.
- Skipping through tracks takes too long - it feels like you're holding down the fast forward button for ages.
- Bundled earphones are predictably useless. Surely everyone has a good pair of earphones already: at this price point don't bundle any at all and knock a couple of quid off instead.

Overall 4* - The good points of the Sansa Clip Zip /FAR/ outweigh the bad. AAC playback issues may be a problem for some (I only encoded stuff down to ~160kbps AAC as a necessary evil to fit twice much on my 8GB Nano) but in my opinion it only narrowly misses out on being a 5* product, mainly due to slow file copying and the fact that the UI feels a little unfinished. Rockbox will be along shortly to rectify the latter, and at that time the player will become damn near perfect.


Just like to make a quick edit to this review to say that I just accidentally put my Clip Zip through the washing machine and now that it's dried out it still works perfectly. If that's not a ringing endorsement then I don't know what is! :)
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on 21 November 2011
Perfect little device. Immensely small but quite sturdy. Perfect for Audiobooks. It took me quite some time of research until I found this perfect solution.
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on 7 January 2012
Well thanks to a kind Amazon user responding to my previous damning review I have now unlocked the European volume limiter. This little unit now works fine connected to my hifi. It works really well. The screen is a little small and I havent yet sussed out getting the album covers to show but it is easy to use. For any future potential purchaser that have difficulty with low volume, go to settings, factory reset, pick English, then "rest of the world", this unlocks the ridiculous Euro volume setting.
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on 31 October 2011
I'm not going to spend too much time on this, as the first review is an excellent summary of this product.
Anyone who owns/owned one of the previous models will feel right at home with the clip zip - navigation is similar (but improved with a dedicated back button), design is still attractive, quality good and it is as small and convenient as ever.
One of the new features is that the player is now capable of displaying album art. This is a nice addition, even if the picture quality turns out to be a little disappointing. I actually had a hell of a time getting art onto the thing, I use "Music Bee", not media player, and its is great for 99% of tasks but I ended up putting album art on manually. (Opening each album folder on the player whilst it is connected to my PC, and saving a picture of the album art from the net into each album folder, naming it folder.)
The stopwatch is a good addition, although not sure if I will use it much its good to have it there.
The Clip zip also displays the time in the top left, unless I am just a fool, the clip + never did this and it was lacking.
Very attractive, better looking than the last model, I got red which looks great but I'm sure all colours do.
Micro SD is a great feature- I would actually recommend buying the 4gb model, even if you want lots of space, and buying a 16gb card for less than £20.
Start up is a little slow but no big deal.
As always setting location as EU brings a volume limit, this can be reversed but I like to protect my ears, so I resist the temptation.
The handy Clip is obviously still there and works well, although I am going to be gentle as I broke it off the last model by messing around.

All in all the best alternative to apple products, and a loveable little machine.
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on 3 February 2012
Since my only experience of mp3 players was from way back when, when the things were a novelty, I was pleasantly amazed when this popped through my letter box. Impressed doesn't even come close to describing it! And it is so diddy. For something that packs such a wallop it is amazingly minute. It is smaller than, and almost the same colour as the Complimints sweet mints tin, retailed by a popular high street German discount supermarket, that provides ideal protection when not in use and stuffed into a pocket or what-have-you. It would even look small, almost, in a 2-years-old's hand. Though a 2-year-old would never be able to remove it from its packaging!

The first thing I did, having recovered from the trials and tribulations of unpacking it, and enthusing over its size and sturdiness, was connect to, using the minuscule (c 8") usb cable that came with it, and update the software. Plug and play as easy as pie. Paying attention to the reviews I had read I selected the 'rest of the world' for better sound options when given it during set-up. (Once set-up is complete there should be no reason to return to it so the fact that it never returns is not an issue to operation so too fiddly my foot!)

Then I installed the extended memory I had bought to go with it and uploaded a weeks worth of audio books, plays and music tracks, plugged in my headphones (I didn't bother with the earbuds so cannot comment on them) and was swept away by the quality of playback.

Switching to radio I wasn't quite as impressive but I do live in a poor reception area so can't really blame the zip for that, after all the radio is an added bonus anyway. As is being able to record a program.

The microphone for the voice recorder is another amazement. In keeping with the minusculity of the unit as a whole, the hole can hardly be seen yet the quality of recording, even at arm's length, belies the truth.

The menus are fairly simple and easy to work through, with options for 'music', 'radio', 'books', 'voice' 'card (the external memory)', 'sport (the timer)' and 'settings'. To get the option to add a song to the golist just press the down arrow whilst the song is playing to call up the music options, then hit the enter button to store or remove. Well that should be how it works anyway though, for some reason, when I have been looking at the podcast contents stored under 'books' it always returns to this menu instead of the music options - haven't worked out if this is a software or behavioural issue yet.

I was perturbed that the on/off button had to be held down for a long time before it started up but have since discovered that it only requires a short press and a little patience before the logo appears as if by magic.

Complaints: I bought this for its advertised capacity to play .aac files since I have a lot of these but could only play them via my pc without going through the process of converting them first. Imagine then my disappointment, having expectantly loaded them all onto my wonderful new little toy, to discover that they were not recognised never mind played. Not a one of them. Oh, I found a solution to the problem easily enough, simply opened up a dos window and renamed them all to .m4a at one fell swoop but that isn't the point. I was under the impression that I could do a straight copy and felt terribly let down on discovering that life is just never that simple. Hence the four instead of five star rating.

Like one of the other reviewers I have also experienced the occasional bit of stuttering in reproduction but not enough to actually contemplate converting the files. Plus I'm not sure if the stuttering is indication of an inherent fault in the file since it always happens at the same point in replay - a bit like having a scratch on a vinyl record.

There is no rewind or fast forward option. Fair enough when listening to 2-3 minutes of song track but having to repeat the first 25 minutes of a chapter to catch the final 3 sentences of a book because the battery went flat goes beyond the pale!

When plugged into the pc, playback switches off so it is not possible to listen to one tune whilst uploading another or topping up the battery. And there is no warning to running out of power if you don't pay attention to the battery icon - and since the screen goes blank during playback that is easy not to do.

There seems an issue handling folders on the extended memory, for some so far unfathomable reason some but not all being renamed as 'unknown' so that isn't very helpful to organisation. And, for some reason, it lists some files outwith the folder in the top menu but not others. Maybe that is a fault, maybe it is just that I am not used to the player's foibles yet.

There is no option to rename saved radio stations rather than having to sort through a list of obscure frequencies. Having said that, being able to store the stations in the first place saves a lot of searching in future.

It also doesn't put the kettle on nor do the washing up - but then you can't have everything :-)

Complaints aside, this is wonderful piece of kit and for what you get at the price they're asking I would forgive it an awful lot more before falling out with it.
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on 23 November 2011
Having been never convinced that all things must be Apple (for now, forever...), I had been looking for an MP3 player for about 3 months. I was interested in the Sansa Clip+ as it has excellent reviews. This is the updated version of that tried & tested format, and once found, I quickly decided to take the plunge.

My criteria list included (in order of importance):
* Had to have excellent sound,
* Can take a broad variety of formats
* Was easy to use/navigate,
* Was capable of using SDHC cards for increased capacity,
* Was conforming to micro USB standards (future proof & will mean fewer propritary chargers lying around/having to pack),
* Was relivitely inexpensive so that I could take it anywhere without having to consider what if it was lost/damaged,
* Had a built in radio.

All of these are covered by the Clip Zip and has a few extra gems thrown in including:
* It is a true Plug'n'Play device (using Windows 7), and once set up is not just seen as an external drive on the PC,
* Displays Album Art,
* You can copy your playlists,
* Has an inbuilt 'GoList' playlist function (which is great for marking tracks for future playlists when on shuffle mode).

Drawbacks, for this money there are none really. It won't feel as solid as a Nano and the earphones provided do not do it justice. Just get a proper set of ear buds (I went for SoundMAGIC E10), and be amazed at this little MP3 Player.

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on 5 December 2011
This player is simply incredible and needs to be seen to be believed. Sandisk have taken all the good of the clip+ and fixed every last fault as far as I can tell. While I enjoyed the Clip+ it had several faults that annoyed me.
1. The buttons weren't great they were small and harder to press than necessary:
The buttons on the Zip are fantastic much larger and only require a light press, the volume buttons are much improved and a quick press of the power button locks the player. Also improved is library scrolling, a double press of the center button gives an alphabet search function, there's no home button anymore but instead a back button which is much more logical, as with the home button a double tap of the return button brings you to the now playing screen.

2. The two colour screen on the Clip+ was fine, but it needed another line because it displayed the track and artist but not album and this often annoyed me:
Again the screen on the Zip is fantastic, it's a decent resolution and displays album art, artist, track, album, time and play mode. Menus are excellent, it uses the same excellent layout as the Fuze+ but without the annoying controls or lag.

3. I own the original Fuze and have briefly owned the Fuze+, the replay gain function worked very well on both of these players using the "song" setting, But it just never seemed to work properly on my Clip+:
I haven't used this new Clip long enough to give a definitive answer but the replay gain function seems to work well.

Overall I was fairly pleased with my clip+ but it just wasn't as perfect as everyone made out, the Clip Zip however is probably better than people are saying. I've read a lot of reviews saying that it might not be worth forking out for the Clip Zip if you already own the Clip+. Well I have to disagree this is a far more polished piece of equipment thats an absolute joy to use, It's also the first small gym style player I've owned thats made me think I could do away my larger video capable player.
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on 10 November 2012
This is a very practically designed MP3 player which does everything it says in an easy to use way. My problem is that the headphone plug keeps coming out of the socket. I have tried 3 different headphones. I then find I am not alone in many forums. It was also a problem with the previous model too apparently. It's a quality control issue I suspect so many people get good ones and some like me don't. I will return it to Amazon and pick a different brand.
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