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SanDisk Sansa Clip
Convenience is the name of the game when we’re discussing DAPs. They have to be compact and lightweight, offer decent sound quality, be intuitive to use... and, importantly, they should be easy to carry around. The Sansa Clip is a player that fits most of these parameters, so let me give you a rundown on how well it does what it purports to do – and where it fails to deliver.
The Sansa Clip is a lightweight player with a small OLED display in front. It has a 5-way Nav-pad and a small 'Home' key that returns you to the main menu. On one side of the device is the volume control and 3.5mm earphone socket, and the other side is where you’ll find the Power/Hold slider switch.
The USB port is located just above. What I like about the player is the clip itself, which is extremely convenient for portability. Although it may seem a bit fragile to be clipped to your clothes in a crowded train, it’s perfect if you’re working out in a gym or jogging.
Features and Performance
The Clip doesn’t really offer much more than what you’d find in other DAPs in the same range. The menu is simple but due to the small screen it may appear a wee bit cramped. It has an FM radio that takes about 20 seconds to scan and preset all available channels. Unfortunately the reception is not too great. If you’re stationary you would be able to get decent reception, but only in certain areas. While commuting you’ll hear more static than the RJs ramblings. The Clip’s voice recorder, on the other hand, works fine and has good range.
Getting to the main feature – the music player – I was impressed with the total sound output the clip is capable of dishing out. The earphones are comfortable; I even used them with other players to check their sound quality (which was not bad at all). The player itself, on the other hand, tends to be a bit sharp on the ears when it comes to high frequencies. With regard to the bass, there’s a pleasant enough thump that will keep your head bobbing.
To handle the issue with the high frequencies you can adjust them via the EQ presets available in the settings. If you happen to be a stickler for personalization, there’s a manually adjustable five-band EQ setting. Once you’ve managed to adjust the levels to your preference, there’s nothing to stop you from enjoying a good audio experience. It may not be a great experience, but it’s quite good. The Clip is loud enough to block out a lot of the ambient sounds at a volume level a little short of peak, and that’s a good thing.
Where the Clip seriously lacks is the accessibility of the music. I absolutely abhor players that expect users to always have ready playlists, or require users to create a playlist on the fly. For those of you who have Windows Medial Player 11 and use playlists to listen to tunes, it’s not too difficult, but not easy either. I followed the instructions directly from the user manual and I still couldn’t get the playlists to transfer to the player. For skeptics, it could be a fault with this particular piece, as this is not the first time I’m doing this, but what if it were and/or I didn’t have Windows Media Player 11? A first-time user could have a problem. On the plus side it does have a built-in playlist creator called the Go-List. You can simply click and store your favorite tracks under this on the go.
I can’t understand why a player with USB v2.0 transfer speeds that allows users to copy/paste files can’t simply let you browse your music in folders that some users would store them in. It lets you browse tracks by Artist but not the folders that you have created, so in case you haven’t tagged your tracks and are looking for one in particular, you’ll have to search through the entire list. At least they’re stored alphabetically, but again, your tracks will need to be tagged. This is not something you can’t easily work around, however.
The battery life is not brilliant, but you’ll find that it’s not a problem either. I clocked close to 11 hours of nonstop usage. That’s not bad, true, but it’s quite unremarkable for a player of this sort.
SanDisk’s Sansa Clip is priced at Rs 3000 for the 2GB model and it's available in black and red. I’m not sure if the red one will suit everyone, but you can’t go wrong with black. Like I said at the beginning, it does manage to meet most basic requirements of what a DAP should have. The only problem is the hassle involved in accessing your music. Nevertheless, the Clip is a good deal for its price if you can do without the radio – and if you use playlists instead of folders.