SanDisk has made a name for itself in the MP3 player market. The early Sansa range of players offered good value for money, good sound quality and the extraordinarily consumer-friendly ability to have their internal memory augmented via microSD cards.
SanDisk continues to make small format portable music players, and its Sansa Clip range has just been updated with the Clip+. The Clip+ comes in three capacities: 2GB, 4GB and 8GB, priced at £37, £45 and £62 respectively. Each can be augmented with microSD or microSDHC memory cards allowing you to add up to 16GB of storage at current card size limits. The card slot is easily accessible on one edge of the device.
The Clip+ is small, like its predecessor. We measured ours at 34mm wide, 55mm tall and 15mm thick. The reason for that thickness is the clip that takes up the whole of the back of the casing. This allows you to fix the unit effectively to your clothing. We clipped it to our running pants and it survived there happily. We’d have preferred the headset connector to be on the top edge rather than the side, though, simply because we feel it would be less liable to damage there.
The display screen is pretty small, though we found it large enough to give us the information we needed when navigating menus and playing tracks. On the front is a D-pad style arrangement of control buttons with a central select button and a separate Home button which takes you back to the main menu listing and doubles as a hold button, making all the front buttons inactive until it is pressed again. On the left edge there is a volume rocker.
Getting music, podcasts and audio books onto the device is simple. You plug it into your PC using the provided USB cable, and then have access to its folders for file copying. There is a folder for Audible ebooks too. There is a potential problem in that the USB cable SanDisk provides is just 23.5cm long: if you need longer you’ll have to hunt around in your ‘box of bits’.
The Player supports a goodly range of audio formats including MP3, WMA, secure WMA, Audible, Ogg Vorbis and FLAC. There’s an FM tuner included too. This has 40 presents and you can tune them manually or automatically. The info delivered on each station is minimal: just the frequency. You can record from the radio and a microphone allows you to record the spoken word too.
The Clip+ also supports slotRadio, a US service offering pre-loaded microSD card. You can’t buy the cards in the UK, but SanDisk has not removed the playback capability from them. There is more detail at www.slotradio.com.
The ability to delete songs from the device by holding down one of the front buttons to get into a song-related menu could be handy. Via this menu you can also rate songs, add them to your GoList (an on-the-fly playlist), and make shuffle and repeat settings as well as accessing the equaliser.
Sound quality through the provided headset is quite good, and the equaliser even caters for a preset setting. The flat in-ear buds won’t suit everyone – they didn’t stay in our own ears very well – but as the connector is 3.5mm you can use your favourite headphones easily enough.
SanDisk claims 15 hours of battery life. We set it off playing tunes one morning and when we came back at the end of the day it was still merrily playing away, so we can’t argue with that.