Friday, August 20, 2010

Sandisk Sansa Clip+ review
A review of the Sandisk Sansa Clip+ 4gb mp3 player.

Over the last year or so my taste in music has changed dramatically. From a lot of pop, rock and country I've shifted to classical, opera and jazz. A taste in music that my old player, a Creative Zen V plus, could not cope with well. So it was time for a new device.
Last of a dying breed?
At least, so it sometimes seems to me. Look around in any shop and you will see multimedia devices in abundance, capable of playing videos, games and who knows what else? Devices dedicated to playing just music are becoming a rare breed.

Sandisk? Don't they make memory cards?
Yes they do, good and expensive cards. But they also make a series of fine mp3 players. I found this particular model trough a lot of searching and settled on it after reading this:

So, what do you get?
Well, for not quite 50 euros I got a player, a set of cheap earbuds and a standard look usb-mini usb cable. Oh, and a manual in just about every European language.

What does it look like?

Tiny. A very prominent screen, slot on the right for a micro sd card, the same card used in almost all mobile phones, headphone connector. Tiny powerswitch on top and that's it. Oh, and a clip of course, integrated in the player.

Using it
Well, that's what's important isn't it? If you bought it for the looks you should have bought an ipod.

At first power-on it asks you the language you want to use and the region of the world. If you select Europe then you will get a volume limiter to prevent hearing damage.
There's a few free tracks included which I wiped immediately.

Transfering data is a matter of hooking it up to your computer, waiting a few moments and that's it. After that you can either use mediaplayer or another specialized tool such as mediamonkey or you can simply copy/paste with a file manager like windows explorer.

I loaded the device with a mix of medium and high quality mp3 files and a few flac files, plugged in my trusty sennheiser pmx-60, fiddled briefly with the album selector and settled down for a good listen.

OK, wow! Or WOW! Now, this bit is hard to describe. Clarity, pureness, depth. Suddenly a 192kb mp3 file sounds a bit mediocre, higher bitrates sound a lot better but with FLAC it really shines. This unit can easily give the kenwood set in my living room a run for it's money.

I compared this with a current generation Ipod touch. It's very close, mainly a matter of taste. Personally I think the Clip+ sounds just a bit better, crispier.

Sound quality aside, there's more to like. The clip is designed very well, you will not loose this, even in the gym. The control buttons work, providing just enough feedback. The screen is readable enough in the sun. The player charges with every standard mini-USB charger. Unlike the creative players which force you to buy a special charger this works with everything.

Costing only 40% of an ipod touch the Sansa Clip+ brings impressive sound quality in a very manageable package. If you just want to listen to your music and you value sound quality more than buying the same mediaplayer everyone else has then this is highly recommended!

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