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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 29 August 2016
This little mp3 player has served really well over it's time.
Best uses:
* Don't want to risk damaging your phone in the gym/workout session
* Save battery on your phone/tablet

Very lightweight
Offers ability to use MicroSD for more storage
Durable (still working..)
Screen is handy for comfort usage.
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on 2 March 2017
Great little mp3, but it's finally given up after a lot of use, think the internal battery has finally gone. Just off looking to buy another
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on 1 June 2014
Bought because of majority of good reviews. Would have preferred different colour. Only issue is the earphone jack, specifically with the provided ear phones ( and even my own new Sony earphones) music keeps cutting out now and again when you are in motion. Made sure earphones were all the way in as well. Will keep using item for now, just by a slim chance that things sort themselves out. Quick delivery by the way.
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on 3 April 2017
I love it. Had it for a few years now. All good, although the battery holds less charge just recently.
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on 9 March 2017
it's all fine
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on 18 October 2014
so very disappointed in this mp3 I have had many sandisk mp3s before but this has very poor volume. when out walking the traffic noise drowns out the mp3 and the volume won't go up any higher!
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on 18 May 2017
Bought this about 5 years ago and it's still going strong :O)
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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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