* Prices may differ from that shown
The Sansa Clip+ really does offer a serious bang for your buck.
I am bit of an Audiophile, having already owned a Cowon Iaudio7 and an Sflo2, but the Sansa clip+ out matches both of these in terms of configuration options and performance.
Installing the open source software called Rockbox opens up a world of possibility with this player and allows for really advanced EQ settings and support for a lot more audio formats. It also adds features like seamless transitions between songs.
Expandable memory was one of the main reasons I purchased this player. Coupling it with a 32gb micro SD card gave me just short of 40gb to store my music on. I stress alot about having high quality files and outright refuse to buy from Itunes or any online music distribution service. Instead I buy CD and convert it to variable bitrate .OGG format. .OGG allows me to keep the quality of my music high whilst maintaining a lower file size. Thanks to Rockbox I can play all of my .OGG music allowing me to carry my entire music collection with me on the go. (2,099 tracks 5 days 12 hours and 18 minutes of music) Other supported formats include: Flac, WMA, MP3, WAV, AAC, and Monkey Audio. The Sansa Clip delivers a sound quality that greatly surpasses Apple Ipod, and is more in league with Cowon and Iriver it terms of quality. As good as this device is, I do have two criticisms. 1. Transfer speeds over USB are incredibly long. I recommend using a card reader to write directly to micro sd (if you use the sd slot) 2. The USB slot feels fragile. Every time I have to plug and unplug the device I get incredibly worried that I am going to the connector out, or that it is going to snap or break. Again, using a micro SD will circumvent the need to bother with the USB port and will be faster anyway. Even with the two issues stated above, this is still my player of choice and will be for a long time. It doesn''t look as flashy as an Ipod, or have a super LED screen, it doesn''t feature touch screen controls, but it''s small, easy to control, and has an amazing sound quality that you will not match for the price.
Sometimes, when I'm either out and about, exercising, or simply want to take my mind away from the hectic life I have somehow found myself leading, I like to push earphones into my ears and let my favourite music tracks wash over me. Those tracks being a variety of genres depending on what I'm doing and where I am, from tracks such as Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody to more gentle music such as Johann Strauss's Tales from the Vienna woods.
But what ever music I'm listening too I like to make sure that I'm not disturbing others who may not like to hear Oasis's She's Electric taking away their peace and quite. And this is where a magical creation called a personal music system comes into its own. Or, as technology have evolved, these days it's no longer a walkman portable CD player strapped to your belt so you can listen to 16 tracks using more AA batteries than you can afford. These days the personal music systems come in the form of what is called MP3 Players or ipods, if you are well off and can afford to splash out on such 'i' products. But if you're like me, then an MP3 player it is, and the cheaper the better as far as I'm concerned. I mean, I only want to listen to music through them I don't want to do anything else, so why spend a fortune on something that is going to sit strapped to my side, or in my pocket.
This is why I don't spend 'i' product money when I can spend a fraction of that and still listen to music.
One particular music device, MP3 player I am using at the moment, and have been for a while now, is from a company that I have used products from before, including MP3 players. This company being Sandisk, with this particular player being the Sandisk sansa clip MP3 player with the built in radio, as a similar player does come without the radio
* So, what does this MP3 Player look like then..
It is a tiny black rectangular box really, being no more than 180mm high, 130mm wide and 31mm thick, weighing in at a feather weight 25grams, with a set of controls on the lower half and a small screen on the top half.
The control panel is a simple cursor type circular button surrounding a button in the centre. There's also a single 'home' button just above and to the right of this cursor control so you can go straight to the home page with one press instead of going around the houses.
On the top of the player there is a power button, which when pressed and held for a few seconds, turns the player either on or off.
On the right side of the player, there is a slot, this slot is for a micro SD card so that you can slap in a bit more memory. I've got a 16GB card in and it reads it nicely.
Above this lot there is the earphone socket, which is your standard 3.5mm jack so that you can use your favourite earphones with this player instead of the ones that come with it.
On the left hand side, as you look at the screen, there is what first looks like a slider button, but it's not, it's the volume button. Press the top to higher the volume, press the bottom to lower the volume. Then, above this volume control there is a micro USB port which is used to connect this player to your PC for when it comes to putting tracks onto it.
The only other things to mention is the rather fragile looking but remarkable strong clip that is one the back of this player, which is designed to clip onto a belt or your jacket, or where ever you want to slip this too.
* What about using it...
Firstly, in order to get your tracks onto this player you will need to use have certain specs on your PC. Those specs being...
Windows XP and above, also Mac OSX 10.3
Windows Media player 10 or above
A USB port for connecting the player to the PC.
You may also need...
* A CD-ROM
* Internet connection.
One of these is required in order to install the drivers that you'll need to get started with this player. But once the drivers are on you PC you don't need any of these, although the internet connection is good for downloading tracks, (legally of course).
It supports more formats than just MP3, you can also play WMA, FLAC, and ogg vorbis. It also lets you play certain e-books too.
So now you've got the drivers installed you're ready to roll.
Once you've taken this out of the oversized box you simply plug the USB end of the cable that came in the box into your PC, then you slot the other end of the cable into the player itself, into the micro USB port on the left hand side, as you look at the controls and screen that is.
Once the cable is connected up, and the initial drivers are found and installed, which needs only to be done on the first connection, then you simple open the file on your PC that says there is an external device detected, (This usually shows up as a flash type screen on your PC).
You can then go about sending tracks to and from your PC to the player, until you're happy with what you've got. This can be done using the drag and drop method, send to or copy and paste. Which ever way you choose your tracks will go where you want them too.
Once you've got your tracks on the player you then disconnect the device from your PC safely and you're ready to start ignoring the outside world and only hear the music of your choice.
To listen to your music you simply use the cursor controls to select the tracks you want to play, or you could just press 'play all' and then sit back and enjoy.
Also, within the menu section, you could choose other functions, such as the radio, which uses the earphones as an aerial. Then there's also the voice recording function which lets you listen to what you've saved in that section. And then there's the settings themselves so you can get your music to play in the best way you prefer, using the simple graphic equalising method.
It's all a simple matter of using the cursor keys to scroll through the device and then the central button to choose the option you want.
* Is the display easy to understand...?
Does a bear poop in the woods...?
The 25mm, (1 inch), screen is not a display that you may be thinking about. It doesn't show quality images or let you watch movies, it's a simple display that shows you the functions on the player, using the curser keys and the two buttons on the lower half of the player.
For its size it's so simple to understand as the things that pop up on it are basic but tell you exactly what you want to know. For example, the screen shows you the battery life left by using a battery icon in the top right of the screen, which begins to lose its yellow colouring inside the battery icon when the battery is losing charge. Flashing away when it is desperate for a bit of a boost.
Also along the top you can see the amount of tracks on the player and the number of the track you are listening too at that moment. There's also a little icon showing you which selection of 'play' you have opted for, such as repeating a track or letting the player choose the order of the tracks to play.
Then, in the centre of the display, taking up most of the screen, there's the simple to understand track and artist names, which depends on how you've labelled your tracks in the first place.
On the lower part of the display there's the timer for the track that is playing and also a progress bar so you have two indications as to how long a track is.
Then there's a little icon to let you know whether a track is in play mode, pause mode of stopped. I supposed this comes in handy when you can see a play mode icon and you can't hear anything as you can check if the volumes down to zero or your earphones have had it.
And that's the display in a nutshell. So to speak.
* Is the sound quality good..?
This does depend on a few factors, such as the earphones you are using and the quality of the tracks you have put on the player. But all in all the quality of the sound is very good indeed, even with the earphones you get in this package. I tend to stick with the 'buds' I normally use as they sit better in my ears and have never fallen out yet, so the sound quality is better through them.
So as long as you have a half decent set of earphones and you've not put tracks on that sound like someone's scraping their finger nails down a black board, (unless you're listening to Adele, Dippy Dappy or Cheryl Cole as it is sometimes difficult to tell the difference between their singing and the nail scraping), then your music listening experience should be perfection.
Although, the sound quality of the radio is not the greatest, in fact, I have not managed to get a clear enough sound quality from any stations as I've scanned through them all. So the radio sound quality is a bit of a let down.
* What about its GB size..?
It's comes in a few sizes, GB wise not unit wise, such as a 2GB, a 4GB and the one I have which is the 8GB, but no matter how many GB's you get in the guts of the player the functions and looks are the same.
It also comes in a few colours too such as blue, black and red, which I have the black one, but I have seen the other coloured versions and they look quite nice really, although the red one is more a maroon colour rather than fire engine red. I like boring black so it doesn't stand out as much.
* What about the battery..?
This is a built in rechargeable unit, which means that you can't replace it with Duracell.
You have to fully charge the battery at first and then it's just a matter of keeping it charged if you want constant music all the time.
To charge the battery you use the same cable as you use for transferring tracks. You just plug it into the USB port of your PC and the other end of the cable into the Micro USB port on the player, allowing the player to charge up. You can see the progress of the charging as the little battery icon begins to fill up with more charge.
A full charge, from dead to 'undead', takes about four hours to fully charge but can then give you a good 14 hours of playback.
I find that the best thing to do is just plug the USB into my PC when ever I'm using my PC, this way the battery has always got a lot of charge in it.
You do get a little CD with in the box which has a bit of software on it. That software being Sansa Media Converter software and something called 'Rhapsody Music trial' offer. But I have not installed any of those as I don't need them so I can not comment on them....
Just thought I'd let you know just in case you were thinking of installing them and wanted to know what they were like. If so then I'm the wrong person to be asking really.
* Is there anything else to mention..?
This MP3 player also boast an FM radio, giving you the ability to store up to 40 channels. Plus, there's a built in microphone giving you the option of using the player as a voice recorder.
* My opinion...
This is a tiny little thing that holds a lot of music and is so simple to use that I think my dog could get the hang of it. The controls are easy to understand, such as when you scroll through the setting, using the cursor buttons, you will see what you're choosing by the little icons and names that appear on the screen. Those icons being such things as a radio, for the radio, a set of headphones for your music choice, graphic equalizer icons for your settings and more.
I like the fact that you can list your music in a variety of ways when it comes to playing them, genre, artist, albums etc, so you can choose which method you prefer, making it easier to find you favourite tracks. This is done using the good old fashioned cursor controls, up, down and then the central button.
The little home screen shows what I need to know, which track, how long's left of it and how much power is left in the battery, and speaking of the battery, well, this seems to last for ever, even if it's not been charge up for a while, although when I remember I do stick the cable into my PC to boost up the battery of the player.
The options of this player are all easy to use, with the cursor being tiny yet not too small so that my fingers press everything instead of what I want them to press. Then, it's so easy to scroll through the option list by pressing up or down and when I've found what I want to use I then start using the left and right buttons, pressing the central button as the 'ok' option. This takes seconds and leaves me with more time to listen to music, which is what a good Mp3 Player should be about.
The actual build of the player does look basic, and it is really. But it's strong enough to withstand my every day life and it has been accidentally dropped and knocked a few times without any problems at all. So it does seem as though it has been built to last, which is good really as it's not something that is designed to be wrapped up in cotton wool is it?
The only thing that lets this down is the radio as it just has not the ability to grab a decent signal so that I can listen to radio stations without the sound of bacon being cooked in a frying pan. Even with the earphones plugged in, which is what you have to do as the earphones act as an aerial, I can't get a clear sound from any stations I have picked up. I've even tried being 'down with it' and listened to radio 1 but I thought that something had crawled in my ear and had started to dig into my brain with a small wall paper scraper.
* Is this player going to break the bank..?
Not at all, especially comparing it the some other MP3 players that do the same thing. The cost of this player will set you back about £30. Roughly. Although the smaller GB version are going to be a bit cheaper.
* Would I recommend this..?
I'd have to say yes as for the price you're getting a fine little music player that does exactly what it is supposed to do with no brain twisting complications at all.
If you want to spend more time pressing buttons and reading unnecessary stuff then go for a more expensive player such as an ipod. But if you want to spend more time listening to music then this is well worth looking into