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  #1  
Old 08-24-2011, 09:58 AM
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Marvin the Martian Marvin the Martian is offline
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Default Clip Zip review (updated 9/6)

So it is time for SanDisk to unveil the 3rd generation of the vaunted Clip line (formerly Clip, then Clip+)....the "Clip Zip". Well, first things first, I'm not a fan of the name, and I'm sure I won't be the only one that feels that way. But what were they going to call it? Clip++, Clip+ Jr.? I'm sure this will be endlessly debated, but hey, it's out of our hands. However, this thing has a legacy to live up to. Let's see if it measures up, shall we?

The most obvious change at first glance is the display screen, which is close to double the size of the Clip+ screen. This device has a color display, which will be welcomed by those who can't live without their album art. I personally didn't mind the smaller screen that was on the Clip+, but this new one is easier to read the text on. Just don't expect hi-res images to look very good.





My only potential reservation would be the effect that a bigger screen can have on battery life (which is claimed to be the same as the previous model.) There have always been people that complained about the battery life of the various Clips, but I have always been of the opinion that I didn't want the player to get any bigger and heavier for increased battery life. I believe that the device's portability is one of its greatest assets. The time is now displayed on the screen, available in either the 12-hour or 24-hour format. This was something I personally never cared about, the time on the screen, but there have been users asking for this, so it is good to see the company listening.


If you've used a Clip+, the menus will be quick to navigate through and figure out, but there are a couple of surprises that you don't see right away. The categories appear in lowercase on the menu, which has a font that appears childlike to me, but is easy to read....it appears reminiscent of the Fuze+, from what I have seen of the Fuze+ in web videos.

The categories in the menu are:

Music - The ever-popular folder browse mode is still there, but one thing missing is time elapsed/remaining during playback. They are present during podcast playback, so they should be here as well. Another new addition is alphabet browsing. If one scrolls through a music list, be it artist, album, or song, then the first letter appears on the screen, to show you how far you have scrolled through your list. Nice, yes? Well, it gets better. Double-tap the center button, and the letter or number comes up and you can short-cut through the library without having to scroll all the way through it. This will be especially handy for those who load up 32GB Micro SDHC cards in their Clip Zips. (sadly, internal memory is limited still to either 4GB or 8GB) Also, in addition to MP3, WMA, secure WMA (DRM stuff), FLAC, and Ogg Vorbis, the ClipZip now supports AAC files that are not saddled with DRM. So file extension M4A, yes but M4P, no.

Radio -RDS info is supported. So some FM station names show up, and perhaps in some areas with bigger stations, song titles might too.

Books - for audiobooks and podcasts. I would personally prefer that they be in separate sub-menus because I do podcasts but not audiobooks, but that's just me.

Voice - record, playback, delete. Simple.

Card - If you want to navigate just from the card, there is a folder browse mode in the music menu with separate submenus for internal and external memory. I am really not sure why this is here....seems redundant.

Sport- a stopwatch which can do lap times too. This could be useful to many who use the player while exercising.

Settings- all the usual Sansa stuff is here, but there are two new additions in the system settings....menu looping, which wraps it around if you've scrolled to the end (the Clip+ did this already by default, but now you can turn it off if you so desire); and Customize- you can turn off the main menu items you don't wish to have displayed in the main menu, so as not to have to scroll past them. Brilliant!

The only things I liked about Creative players were this feature and the alphabet browsing, and now they are here in this unfortunately-named Sansa.


The Replay Gain still works as advertised, keeping all properly RG-scanned-and-tagged tunes to a fairly constant volume level, which is invaluable when using shuffle mode, especially if you have music on your player that ranges from older recordings to today's "loudness war" recordings. There are standard EQ presets, most of which I have never found useful (and this applies to all brands of players I've tried) . The Custom EQ gives you 5 bands to adjust the sound. When you adjust one of the sliders, the player volume drops a hair, which happened with the prior models, but besides that the custom EQ works acceptably well. It's not Rockbox-caliber, but I've used worse. If your headphones are truly well-balanced and you don't need to use any EQ, then you'll truly see how well this player performs.

I mentioned the screen before as the first and most obvious visual difference, but it is not the only one. The buttons all appear to be metallic and the layout on the front in particular has evolved slightly. Interestingly on the front of the player, it now says "SanDisk", as opposed to "Sansa", which appears on the clip on the back. Another welcome improvement is that the Micro SDHC card is pretty much flush with the exterior when inserted, unlike the Clip+ where it stuck out a little.
Clip+ view....


And Clip Zip view....


The player appears to be just a tiny bit bigger than the old one...a little thinner, but longer and wider, which you see also in the shot of the back of the two players earlier in this post.





One change that will have potentially mixed reviews is the new USB cable which is micro-USB, as opposed to the Clip+ mini-USB. A lot of us already have multiple devices with Mini-USB cables, so continuing that would have been nice for those of us in the US, at least....but Micro-USB has become a standard overseas, and it is making its way here on various devices, such as my Nook Simple Touch.


It was a welcome surprise for me to find out the two devices shared a cable, since the cable supplied with the Clip series players is still way too short, unless you are plugging it into a laptop. Thankfully, the one with my Nook is nice and long so I am mostly using that one.

I've been battling an ear infection, so I haven't been able to do much back to back listening with the Clip+, but I think they are pretty close, if not identical sounding.

As opposed to the universally reviled oft-criticized Fuze+ of last year, this Clip Zip was instead updated in a more conservative manner, and I think for the most part it is a job well done. My only real disappointment was that it doesn't have more capacity available than the previous model.

Battery life results found here http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...8&postcount=66
and here http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...&postcount=110 and here http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum/showpost.php?p=572830&postcount=221

Database refresh time test results....http://www.anythingbutipod.com/forum...&postcount=149

Update: found out today the Zip supports album art up to a maximum filesize of 100KB. So no hi-res stuff here, but on a screen this small, that's not a surprise.
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Last edited by Marvin the Martian; 06-11-2012 at 12:57 AM. Reason: update

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  #2  
Old 08-24-2011, 10:07 AM
skip252 skip252 is offline
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Nice job. A couple of questions. Responsiveness when fully loaded and refresh time. What's your experieence with those?

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Old 08-24-2011, 10:13 AM
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Marvin, very nice review and good read thanks. Hows the UI, can you expand on it ...
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  #4  
Old 08-24-2011, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skip252 View Post
Nice job. A couple of questions. Responsiveness when fully loaded and refresh time. What's your experieence with those?
Well, when I just unplugged both Sansas after adding one song to each, the CZ refreshed quicker than the C+, even though its memory was a little more full....however, the C+ has more total songs on it in a little less memory, so it's not an exact comparison.

I've only been using the CZ with the internal memory, as my only spare card was a 1GB that I only put in for the sake of the photos. But full internal memory certainly doesn't slow it down at all.
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  #5  
Old 08-24-2011, 10:30 AM
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Nice review, thanks. I like the updated version and more on-board memory would just drive prices up as NAND is still too expensive compared to external memory cards. Which Sandisk also wants to sell a lot of.

More memory would be nice though, I agree. Say a 32 gb version for $ 89,-....not gonna happen though, lol.

Edit: Even though I like the updated screen the button overhaul looks kinda retro compared to the Clip+ and that color has got to be the worst. If I ever get it I'll make sure not to get in that puke brown/gray.
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Last edited by razorblader; 08-27-2011 at 01:19 PM.

  #6  
Old 08-24-2011, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Marvin, very nice review and good read thanks. Hows the UI, can you expand on it ...
Have you seen any of the videos of the Fuze+ UI? it's the same kind of fonts as that.
Here's a quick and dirty few screenshots....
Attached Images
File Type: jpg DSCN0314.JPG (157.0 KB, 315 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0315.JPG (177.6 KB, 267 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0316.JPG (170.9 KB, 241 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0317.JPG (163.8 KB, 217 views)
File Type: jpg DSCN0320.JPG (163.6 KB, 214 views)
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Old 08-24-2011, 10:51 AM
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Yes, thanks for the pics ... I was more referring to speed, button feel, etc ..., along with a comparison to the Clip and Clip +.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WalkGood View Post
Yes, thanks for the pics ... I was more referring to speed, button feel, etc ..., along with a comparison to the Clip and Clip +.
Speed going through the menus seems pretty similar to me, maybe the CZ is the slightest bit quicker. They both will scroll through long lists quickly, but of course you don't really have to with the alphabet browsing on the CZ.

The power button is a little bigger and centered at the top of the player. The select button seems a little easier found blindly, and it has more of a positive feeling of engagement. The back button also has that same slightly more substantial feel to it than the Clip+ buttons do.
The 4-way button feels nice when you press it, but it might bother some people because it goes all the way to the edges of the player, so depending on how you carry it, you may need the hold function(tap the power button once) to save yourself from some unwanted button presses.
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  #9  
Old 08-24-2011, 11:50 AM
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Congrats.
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Old 08-24-2011, 11:54 AM
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Does it have a similar output level as Clip+? Is it by any chance a bit more louder?

I hope the battery life is at least as good as Clip+.

  #11  
Old 08-24-2011, 12:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esanthosh View Post
Does it have a similar output level as Clip+? Is it by any chance a bit more louder?

I hope the battery life is at least as good as Clip+.
Output level seems to be about the same. I haven't done any battery life testing.
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  #12  
Old 08-24-2011, 01:26 PM
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my most concern was the battery life but still I like this new one
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:35 PM
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It's ugly as a butt and whoever came up with the name should be sacked, but I'm sure it'll end up being a great DAP anyway.
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Old 08-24-2011, 01:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Satellite_6 View Post
It's ugly as a butt and whoever came up with the name should be sacked, but I'm sure it'll end up being a great DAP anyway.
1+

But then it's the sound that counts a little fashion wouldn't hurt.
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  #15  
Old 08-24-2011, 02:02 PM
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Nice review. And pretty nice player, too.

While still disappointed about the battery life, I'm glad they added a color screen (yes, I can't live without my album art ).

Also happy to hear about the alphabetical music menu. I find this feature quite useful on my iTouch, and am pleased to see its here.

Don't care about 4 and 8 GB memory options, since my collection isn't too big, and I can always use a card.

Shit, now I have to choose between this and a Sony .
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  #16  
Old 08-24-2011, 02:03 PM
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a clip+ with album art, I am in. Too bad I just bought my clip+ like a month ago. the menu pages look the same as my fuze+. I like the new version.

  #17  
Old 08-24-2011, 02:36 PM
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Thanks for the review!

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Old 08-24-2011, 03:05 PM
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Ugh, I was really unhappy with the Fuze+ interface. The Clip+ had a very nice simple-and-direct menu that I liked.

And I also wish they had 16 GB models. That size with that capacity would be great.

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Old 08-24-2011, 04:27 PM
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I love sansa more and more, it seems like they REALLY LISTEN to its fanbase unlike some other companies out there.
Clip+ with album art was always a good idea, its the reason I bought a Fuze V2 (as I too couldnt live without album art)! But, of late I have found myself drifting BACK to my clip+ for its greater portability and neat size.
I think the CZ might be my idea of a perfect mp3 player, tough words I know!

Now lets get this thing Rockboxed as well
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  #20  
Old 08-24-2011, 04:36 PM
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One other thing, just for preparation reasons, what would be the optimal album art size for this player? Does anyone know if its reading the art in file or folder.jpg? Most my art is 500x500 or thereabouts, will that translate to being ok on the CZ?
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