Product Type: Sandisk MP3 players
Newest Review: ... appearance of the device is not very special: It is tiny and black and got all necessary controls except the on/off switch on the front. I... more
Another Impulse Buy...
SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 4 GB with Radio
Member Name: Drewster_Rooster
SanDisk Sansa Clip+ 4 GB with Radio
Advantages: Lightweight, Easy to Set up and Use, The Clip is a handy addition, Extra Features, Price
Disadvantages: Transferring music from CD's can be troublesome, Doesn't have the same build quality as an Ipod
Over the years I've built up a reputation of being rather foolhardy when it comes to spending money. I make rash decisions on the spur of the moment and when faced with anything I consider a bargain I'm quick to part with my cash. Take for example Amazon's recent "Black Friday" sales, a week long 'flash sale' in which items were offered in strictly limited numbers at reduced prices, in 2010 I spent a small fortune on things I didn't know I wanted until they were "a bargain" and it was the same last year when Amazon re-ran the promotion. Yep, I'm a self confessed gullible fool when it comes to sales, a typical example being me spending £5.00 on 12 bottles of Crabbies Ginger Beer when I hate the taste of Ginger Beer, my reasoning? they were cheap...
Anyway, one of the products amazon offered back in November at a vastly reduced price was this MP3 player, the 4GB "sansa clip+ SanDisk" and having absolutely no need for one given the fact that I already own an iPod Nano and an iPhone 4, both of which contain my entire music album collection, I still went ahead and snapped one up.
The Sansa Clip +
Small in size, about the same width as an iPod Shuffle but a couple of centimetres longer the MP3 player comes complete with a pair of earbuds and a USB data cable. Mine is black in colour, weighs very little and appears to be made from plastic. I don't think it's as visually appealing as an iPod but it was a fraction of the price of any of the Apple products available and it does look and feel well made. You are supplied with a comprehensive start guide which I did have to refer to and I found the instructions for use easy to follow and understand.
The key features of this particular model are that it plays music in MP3 and WMA format, it has a microSD memory card slot if you want to increase its 4GB internal memory and it has an inbuilt FM radio and microphone included. When charged via the USB cable the player has a battery that lasts up to 15 hours and similar in design to an iPod the player itself has a small screen which displays the name of the music you are listening to as well as a control panel which allows you to scroll through and select what tracks you want to listen to and access any of the menus you want to explore. The 'clip' part of the name presumably comes from the belt clip that is fixed to the back of the MP3 player and this feels sturdy and of excellent quality, I have attached this to the waist band of my jeans whilst out and about walking my dog and it has remained firmly in place and I can see that this would be of benefit to anyone who might use this player at the gym or if they're out running or jogging.
The player has an on/off button located at the top of the device and manual volume controls on the side, the earbud jack is easy to find and once in place the earbuds themselves felt comfortable if not a little on the large side, they do sit firmly in my ears though and again I think this would be of benefit if these are worn whilst undertaking any physical activity as they're not prone to slipping out which is more than can be said for the terrible earphones Apple supply. To transfer music onto the device you obviously need a computer or laptop and once connected via the USB data cable the driver software was installed onto my PC within a matter of moments.
I've only ever owned Apple products as far as my music goes so all my tracks are in my iTunes folder, SanDisc works via Windows Media and it's worth mentioning here that you should have the latest release installed on your PC or Laptop if you want to be able to synch the MP3 player successfully. I've become too accustomed with the simplicity of iTunes and take it for granted now so referred to the instruction booklet when it came to synching my chosen songs to this player and whilst the process wasn't difficult I have to admit that it wasn't quite as straightforward as synching my iPod or iPhone.
For existing music that was already on my PC I was able to add these tracks to my Sansa Clip with very little problem as it was simply a case of dragging the tracks from my Windows Media library and dropping them onto the Sansa Clip icon on my computer screen. I didn't want all of the songs I already have, there isn't enough room in the 4GB memory to store every song I own so instead I decided that my Sansa Clip was going to be a dedicated player for my favourite singer - Madonna. I already had all of the albums and live shows as MP3's so these were easily transferred but I also own a large collection of remix CD's that I never got round to adding to my iPod and decided that these should be added to this player and assumed that the transference would be as easy as it is with iTunes. It isn't. What I failed to take into account was that tracks on a CD aren't MP3's (obviously) and didn't realise that when a CD is added to iTunes it is automatically converted to the supported format. With the Sansa Clip you have to manually convert the tracks to MP3 via Windows Media yourself by "ripping" them. Now this is all well and good and the process does work but it's very, very slow when compared to the process on iTunes as each individual track has to be ripped from a CD, converted and then synched to the Sansa player and I have to confess that it took me ages to complete my transfers. I know a lot of people give Apple some grief over their domination of the music market but I've never had a problem with iTunes and given the option to use Windows Media or iTunes then the latter would win hands down every time. Saying that though, this isn't an Apple product and it doesn't carry a premium price tag so compromises have to be made and to be fair to this little MP3 player once the music is finally synched it is a handy little player to have and I have grown very fond of mine.
The sound quality that the MP3 player gives is very good, it's not perfect and I don't think it's quite as clear as the sound from my iPod or iPhone but it is perfectly acceptable and I was surprised at how loud I could set the volume. One of my major complaints with my 4th Generation iPod comes down to the volume and I have moaned about it in the past in other reviews, there doesn't appear to be any 'limiters' on this MP3 player and at full volume it is incredibly loud, this is perfect for me as it allows me to set the volume at how I want it, not at the level Apple tells me and I find that I can really immerse myself into the music tracks I want to play. There doesn't seem to be any distortions when music is played loudly, the earbuds do muffle the sound a little bit but I think that's more to do with how padded they are rather than any fault with the player itself. There are a number of settings available to chose from in the sounds menu and you can alter the bass and treble to suit.
Menu and Options
The small screen on the player acts as a menu display, the on-screen writing is blue and easily seen and whilst there aren't a lot of options to chose from you can scroll through the tracks that are available, alter any playlist that you might have, rate your favourite songs and change the settings in the on-board equaliser. The menu's aren't complicated and anyone familiar with other similar devices will instinctively know how to scroll through and use the menus that are available, even a complete novice shouldn't have too many problems using the player although it sometimes is a little fiddly to manipulate due to its small size.
The FM radio is easy to work and finds available stations with ease and comes with 40 pre-set stations as standard, I rarely use this function to be honest but it's handy that it's there should I want it and its addition is a nice feature of the player. I've never had cause to use the inbult microphone so can't comment on its effectiveness but again it's there should anyone need it.
A very good feature of the player is the fact that its memory can be expanded by using a memory card and this would also be ideal if you already have music stored on one that you want to listen to. A 4GB memory should be able to hold upto 1000 songs according to the information provided, I haven't filled mine to capacity so can't comment on how accurate that is but for me 4GB is plenty for what I want to use my player for.
I paid less than £20.00 for my SanDisk Sansa Clip and think for the money it has proven itself to be a fantastic buy. It's not an Apple product and doesn't have the same high quality appearance, sheen or attention to detail that a Shuffle or Nano does but it plays the music tracks I want it to at a volume that suits me and I'm very happy with mine. I do think that this would be ideal for anyone who likes to listen to music whilst working out or running and I think its no-nonsense design and all round functionality has been designed with this is mind. it clips firmly into place on a waistband or belt and can be left alone to just play either the music tracks that are loaded onto it or the inbuilt FM radio. This would be a perfect 'back up' to an iPod I think or for use specifically at the gym, it doesn't have the same 'prestige' as an Apple device and out of the two MP3 players I own I must admit to having a preference for my iPod but that did cost me five times the amount that my Sansa Clip did so I'm bound to be a bit biased.
The only thing that let it down for me was the time it took to transfer the music from my CD collection, the process is complicated when compared to how it works on iTunes as mentioned earlier in this review but once I had figured it out and completed the task it meant that I had the music I wanted at the push of a button. It is easy to use though, the sound quality is perfectly fine and overall I am impressed enough to recommend this MP3 player to other people.
Prices tend to vary online for the 4GB Sansa Clip +, amazon are currently selling the same one as mine for £32.00 and I do think it's worth that amount. I grabbed a bargain with the price I paid but it was an impulse buy at the time, now I've got it though and can listen to my music collection whilst out and about and not have to worry about the player falling out of my pocket and getting damaged so overall I do think it was money well spent.
Four stars as a rating seems fair taking everything mentioned in this review into consideration, thanks for reading.
Summary: Sansa Clip MP3 Player, a great MP3 player without a premium price-tag
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