I have been using my second generation iPod Shuffle for years now. I primarily use it running and during tasks that would put my Touch in harms way. My Shuffle has truly been a trooper… I have dropped it, washed it, sweat on it, etc. It continues to keep putting along. That said, I tried out the third generation Shuffle for about a week when it first came out. My oh my, did it disappoint me. However, the experience did get me thinking about what was out there that could tempt me away from my trustworthy running companion. My searches led me to the SanDisk Sansa Clip, a small, lightweight mp3 player with a boatload of features, an actual screen and great bang-for-the-buck price point.
The Sansa Clip is relatively small, seems like SanDisk could have packaged it in a quarter the volume.
- Sansa Clip MP3 player
- USB 2.0 Cable
- Quick Start Guide
- Installer CD
- Clip Attachment
|Capacity:||1GB • 2GB • 4GB • 8GB|
|Colors:||Black, Pink, Red, Blue, Silver|
|Battery:||15 hours of playback|
|Headphone Jacks:||standard 3.5mm|
|Radio:||FM tuner/40 presets|
|File Support:||MP3, OGG, FLAC, secure WMA & Audible files|
|Dimensions:||2.17″ x 1.35″ x 0.65″|
|Screen Size:||1″ landscape|
For a plastic device, the Clip is well made, a quality device. On the front of the Clip there is the main control wheel, center button, and a small home button. The control wheel looks like it should have scroll functionality (like on the iPod) but clicks in four directions; up for play/pause, down for the menu, and left/right for reverse/forward skip. The center button clicks whatever is selected on the screen. The home button is an excellent feature that allows you to quickly get to the main screen if you are lost in the sub-menus.
The left side of the device has the standard mini-USB port and power/lock control switch. Both of which are great features that SanDisk engineered into the Clip. The non-proprietary input/charging is a definite plus with all the mini-USB cables and chargers I have in my world. The lock function is also nice so that the device is not accidentally tweaked while I am running or working out.
The right side of the device has the volume control and headphone jack.
The only item to mention on the top and bottom of the Clip is the tiny microphone hole on the back-top of the device.
The Clip’s clip is made of plastic and the spring is stiff enough to keep the device attached to your clothes. The clip is the most breakable part of the little mp3 player. Thankfully, the clip is replaceable in the event that happens.
The earbuds SanDisk includes with the Sansa Clip are good enough for exercising and (at least) on par with the standard iPod earbuds.
With its small but effective screen, large capacity, and great overall functionality, it seems like the Clip’s design could easily have been the evolutionary path of Apple’s 3rd generation Shuffle.
I am fairly certain I could not break the Clip by crushing it in my hand (although, I am not sure it would pass Julie’s creak test). The Clip probably could not take as much punishment as the Shuffle but is hardy enough withstand the riggers of most situations. While its not as tough as the 2nd & 3rd generation Shuffles, it more than makes up for this in features and functionality.
Considering its size and relatively low cost, the Sansa Clip is incredibly feature rich. The little screen does not support photo or video files but does provide you a great deal of information and control. The one inch screen is relatively large (considering the size of the device), bright, and very clear.
Along with its screen, the Clip has a built-in FM radio tuner with support for up to 40 preset stations, a built-in mike and voice recorder, ability to make on the go playlist, and an adjustable five-band equalizer.
From the Mac side of the house….
The Sansa Clip is both Mac and Windows compatible. On my Macbook, the device appears as a external hard-drive and allows you to easily drag & drop mp3 files into the Music folder. This makes getting files onto the mp3 player a snap but does not allow you to create playlists to keep the 4gb of music organized. I consulted the internet to see if there were any suggested applications that would enable me to make this happen.
I tried XNJB and iTuneMyWalkman to name a few. Some of these applications got me part of the way to my objective and a few failed completely. I was becoming pretty frustrated with the whole process wishing for the simplicity of iTunes and my Shuffle.
The only thing that saved me was trying to connect the Clip to Windows 7 running in Parallels and use Windows Media Player to manage my music and playlists. This worked relatively seamlessly. The music and playlists synced with the player perfectly.
Running with the Clip….
Now that I had all my running tunes on the Clip, it was time to take it out for a test drive. I prefer running with an extremely lightweight music player, so it is not noticeable and doesn’t bother me during my workout. I ran with a Nano for a while but definitely thought the Shuffle was an improvement in terms of weight and experience. The Clip meets my running preferences as well as any other player I have ever used. Plus, it has the huge benefit of being able to select which song I want to play next (via its screen) and keep music types organized (via playlists). Using the controls while running took a few outings to get used to, but after that they were as easy to use without looking as the Shuffle.
Other than lack of AAC support, I have nothing but praise for the Sansa Clip. This feature packed, tiny little music player is an incredible bang for the buck. The 4gb version of the Clip can be found for three quarters the cost of the most recent Shuffle. The 8gb version (of the Clip) goes for the same $80 that Apple is charging for its button less, screen less player. If you are looking for a small, inexpensive mp3 player, I highly recommend considering the Sansa Clip.