Pros: Small, cheap, compact, what isn't to like
Cons: Battery life, screen size & res
Best player you could probably buy under $200. Sell your ipod, and buy one of these. Native .flac support and expandable memory. Threw a 32gb micro sd card in straight when I got it, copied some music onto it. Loved the experience.
At $50, what more can you expect. Construction feels pretty solid, especially for plastic. The screen is small, and it's resolution is only 96x96, but for $50, it's ok. I would've much preferred the yellow and blue screen from the clip+ as it seems a bit more fitting. I just don't feel the colour screen belongs on the Zip.
Battery life seems on the low size. Sandisk claims 15hours of battery life, I feels as if it were 10. Clip is resilient, feels very "springy". Buttons feel good and have good feedback. Recording the radio is a great feature. All features in the Zip actually seems good, and something that you may USE. Rather than players that are stacked full or useless crap, advertise them as if you'd ever really use them.
UI is very simple. Doesn't mean it's bad; still excellent and simple. Sound quality is excellent, and the custom EQs are a great feature. There are 5, and are fully customisable which is great no matter who you are. Love the Zip, will keep using it :D
*I understand this is a terrible review, but it was meant to be quick*
EDIT: Installed Rockbox...IT'S AMAZING! User interface is a little trickier to navigate, but it's definitely worth it. Thought I bricked my Zip, but just a very long press of the power button solved it. UI goes down to a 3-3.5/5 which sounds harsh, but there's no colour, and it isn't intuitive to navigate, nor does it look very good. Still love it, getting used to the UI but i love features such as charging and playing music simultaneously, but obviously you cannot copy an new music over while this feature is being used.
Got a Clip+ theme, which makes me very happy. Music playback no longer has album art, but that doesn't bother me. All original features from the normal Zip firmware is still here, but there are some added ones. I feel as if the battery now last longer, but haven't done a continuous play of music to test it.
Another thing to note about the UI, I like it a lot while it's black and white, but I'm sure others won't appreciate it, which is why i gave it a low rating.
BUY IT, IT DESERVES YOUR MONEYZ! :P