I love Sandisk’s Sansa line because they are cheap, use standard connectors and work on just about any OS. So when they offered to send me the new Clip Zip to review for Gear Diary I jumped at the chance. Will it be as nice as their past devices? Let’s find out.
The Clip Zip is the next version of the Clip. My friends in the Linux community have much love for the Clip. It’s cheap, supports Ogg Vorbis codecs, and it connects to your computer as conveniently as any flash drive. That means you can us any OS that supports USB mass storage. Windows, Mac, Linux and even my Asus EeePad Transformer will see this device and allow me to copy music to a flash drive, and the Clip Zip is no different. Just attach the short USB cable to the side of the Clip Zip and drag and drop your files right to the device; it’s that simple. If you have carefully cultivated playlists and rely on those, then you need to set those up in Windows Media Player or your favorite player that supports the MTP or Media Transfer Protocol. In mass storage mode, I tried to create several playlists, but I was not able to get them to be recognized by the Clip Zip itself. That’s unfortunate, as there is no way I can see to create a playlist of podcasts on the device itself. You can create playlists on the fly with music, but not with podcasts for some strange reason. I hope that they correct this in a future firmware update.
The Sansa Clip Zip ships with headphones that have to be some of the worst I’ve ever seen shipped with an MP3 player. They work fine for testing the player, and they sound decent, but they don’t fit my ears at all … in fact they hurt my ears whenever I try to wear them. I just used one of my favorite pairs of buds and was much happier.
The construction of the Clip Zip is plastic. In fact, if I had to pick one area that I could ding Sansa is that the plastic on the Clip Zip feels cheap. The casing does flex a bit and the clip also feels like it can break too. They really need to beef the clip up so it doesn’t always feel it’s about to break when clipping it onto things. Other than the casing and flimsy clip, the rest of the player feels fine. The controls work well with good feedback. Not that you’d use them that much.
The menu system is similar to the Fuze+ being full color versus a monochrome OLED display. That means that the Clip Zip can display any album art attached to the files while listening to music or podcasts.
As for sound quality, it’s not the best sounding player I have ever had but it is more than fine for my needs of listening to podcasts. If you are an audiophile, you might want to look to other devices. If you are like most people, then you probably won’t care too much about the sound quality. For a 50 dollar device, it’s not too bad.
The Clip Zip is the perfect MP3 player to wear to the gym, or give to kids who want an MP4 player. It has a screen so that you can see what’s playing, and is cheap so if you smash it in your car door, drop it or crush it while on a run, it’s not too bad to replace. Not only is it cheap, but it works well, too. If you are not an iPod person and want something similar to the iPod Nano or the Shuffle, check out the Sansa Clip Zip.
You can find them just about everywhere, including Amazon and other online retailers. Colors available are orange, red, silver, black, white, purple and blue for the 4 GB, and only black and silver for the 8 GB model.
MSRP: Sansa Clip Zip 4 GB [affiliate link] is $49.99 and the Sansa Clip Zip 8 GB [affiliate link] is $58.97
What I Like: Simple to load music to it — just drag and drop the files to the device’s folders; sounds good and is inexpensively priced
What Needs Improvement: Beefier clip and a stronger case; would benefit from the ability to create playlists on the fly for all media