Customer Review

57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and will only get better with Rockbox - also see for low-volume fix!, 19 Nov 2011
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This review is from: SanDisk Clip Zip 8GB MP3 Player with FM Radio - Black (Electronics)
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:

Good:
- 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.

Bad:
- 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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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 24 Nov 2011 21:15:29 GMT
To get around the slow transfer you could do what I do, ignore the internal memory and just use the card (I've got a 32gb). You can pop the card out and sync to it using a card adapter. This has the added advantage that if you use multiple devices for music you can swap the card around and your entire music collection is transfered.

Posted on 18 Dec 2011 20:40:13 GMT
Monica A. says:
Hi,
Thanks so much about the low volume problem!, I went for a run today and had it on maximum volume, not very loud at all! I don't listen to music a lot but, when I do, specially in the gym, I like it loud as it motivates me to keep on running. I changed the settings to rest of the world and, magic!, loud. I was about to return it too and I had bought one for my sister too so I didn't really want to do it but I was disappointed with the volume. You've made my day, thanks so much.
Monica

Posted on 31 Aug 2012 21:52:54 BDT
E. Schilling says:
Great review, thanks!

Posted on 13 Feb 2014 08:50:28 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Feb 2014 08:51:18 GMT
Used it for the first time today and all I got was cars drowning out the nice young lady reading Hound of the Baskervilles. Changed to Rest of World. Thanks for this :)
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