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Digital Audio (FLAC/MP3/etc) Players (DAPs) item created by chinarep, Aug 31, 2011
Pros - Cheap, small, portable, will last a long time.
Cons - doesn't sound any better than my phone or an iPod.
My reviews are usually long winded and detailed, but in this review im keeping things short as this is not a high-end product by any means.
I have had the Sansa Clip since June of last year, and it has served me well ever since. It is uber-convenient and portable. This thing is small, and i mean really small. I take it with me basically everywhere. It has survived through a lot of sweat and water in the gym or when working out, i also dropped it a couple of times. This little thing has been through a lot of abuse and it can take it. Usually with my cheap, budget-oriented gear, my use is rough and i don't think the Clip has a problem with that.
Almost entirely made of plastic. Doesn't have much weight to it which does give the impression of cheapness but as i said previously, this things can take some pretty heavy abuse. So yes, its made out of plastic, but who's to complain, it costs less than 30 bucks.
Very easy to use and navigate through, however some of the settings are a little hard to find (such as EQ) but thats ok. There is some slowness and lag when switching through songs quickly or moving through the UI too quickly. This is probably a good time to mention that my Clip is NOT rockboxed.
Now this is the part that surprised me a bit, and not in a good way either. From reading the glowing reviews, I figured these would at least be as good as an iPod or a smartphone in terms of sound. But no, these sound worse actually. I don't know, is my unit defective? Have my ears been spoiled by my higher end gear? Or is this unit simply overhyped in terms of sound? A lot of people here say that the sound is comparable to an iTouch or to a decent-sounding smartphone, but i simply disagree. I honestly don't understand what all the fuss is about. Following is a brief description of the sound and comparisons with other DAPs i have tried.
The Clip is not neutral whatsoever. It has a kind of dark, smooth sound with the a hint of warmth. I have found the Clip to be lacking in dynamics. This is especially noticeable when paired with anything that isn't an IEM. Even my easy to drive, low impedance JVC S500's sound like they lack some punch and impact. Its weird the way this DAP sounds, it not thin, but it feels weak. I hope im getting my point across. Simply put, the sound doesn't feel authoritative. Initially, i thought this had to do with the low volume i usually like to listen to, so i cranked the volume up. However, the problem still persisted.
The bass on this DAP is, well, not so good. The sub bass extension weak and midbass feels like it lacks impact. There is a nice amount of upper bass though. Bass definition and tightness is meh.
Midrange is decent. Vocals are leaning towards the dark side which sometimes equated to loss of clarity but i really can't complain much here. Instruments sound okay. Nothing special here, but nothing bad either.
Highs are rolled off. I think they are the worst part of the spectrum. They lack detail and extension, and don't sound clean at all. They are smooth though, which was nice for long listening periods.
Soundstage is also meh. The Sansa sounded very closed in and congested to me. Kind of has some "wonkiness" in the soundstage. Instrument separation is not that great either.
Compared to my old iTouch: (not sure which gen, but i think its 3rd or 4th gen)
The ipod had a much cleaner sound and sounded a lot more authoritative. I didn't like the treble on the iTouch as it sounded splashy and uncontrolled, but i did like the bass. Extension and texture was
great. Basically everything was better than the Clip. Same comparison applies to my phones (Xperia Z3) though my phones is a bit better than the iPod. These comparisons are just for reference so you can see how the Clip compares to popular DAPs.
As you can see, im not very fond of the way the Clip sounds. And im not even a harsh critic. I just don't understand how people compare it to products from Apple and such.
Everything else though, is brilliant for the price.
This was my own, subjective review of the Clip through my own, imperfect ears. So take it with a grain of salt.
And as always, YMMV
Pros - Small, great sound quality, expandable storage, rockbox compatible, durable
Cons - Menu button lost its responsiveness but only after years of usage
This little player can take a beating. I am not careful with this device and I've dropped it many times on all types of surfaces and it keeps going. I have had my player for nearly 3 years now and the menu button now requires a harder press to respond. Headphone jack will be looser with wear and tear, it should be fine if you do not change headphones much or if you don't tug on the headphone cable to pull the clip zip out of your pocket.
This player has a OLED screen, which is immediately apparent when using it at night as black does not emit light.
Sansa clips have measured well historically in the past and this is no different. It has an output impedance of less than 2 ohms which is great for low impedance headphones as it does not change the frequency response of my headphones. I pair this up with my Westone UM2 and it sounds great. You do not need to spend a lot for great sound; only if you are driving something that is likely not very portable for outdoor usage. I do not feel compelled to buy anything else until this thing is dead. I don't need a multi hundred dollar "audiophile" player to improve my UM2. My UM2 sounds just as good out of this player compared to my desktop O2+ODAC combo.
I also installed rockbox. I cannot think of a better player for the price that has rockbox compatibility let alone expandable storage (I am using a 64GB card) . Having rockbox makes this player very flexible in terms of settings. This makes the player superb and greatly improves its usability from its basic stock UI. I really like the settings to change the screen time out length as well as where the player loads to when powered on; I chose to go to database. I never changed the volume by accident in my pocket when it is not locked. My microsd card stays in just fine, never popped out by accident and I didn't tape it in or anything.
I think I wish I could do is remove the clip part as I usually just leave this player in my pockets.
They've dumbed down the new clip sport to support only 4000 files (2000 from sd and 2000 from internal) which is more reason to buy another clip zip! Also the new clip sport is not rockbox compatible!!
I will be glad to buy this player again without hesitation.
Pros - Size, sound, price, not an ipod
Cons - Headphone jack
I love my little clip. It is so small it fits anywhere (It fits perfectly in the free space of the case of with whatever cans I am bringing with me that day), my only complaint is the headphone jack and some QC issues. My first one the jack lost a channel in less than a month, luckily it was under best-buy's warranty, and I was able to get it replaced at the store, unfortunatly the second one did not have a working SD card slot, so back to the store where I returned it for #3. I now keep the little source cable with the right angle connector running to my amp on it all the time do minimize use and stress on the jack, and no problems yet. While I admit alot of the problem is probably the stress my lards 7506 jack caused to the little port, they could have made it a little stronger, maybe even a metal jack, and moved it to the top so it would not get stressed by large plugs on that side exit. I highly reccomend using a right angle connector or adaptor with this player to keep the headphone jack going. That all said, for the price, I can't really complain.
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
*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!