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SanDisk Clip Zip - Interface, Sound Quality and Verdict

Andrew Williams

By Andrew Williams



Our Score:


The SanDisk Clip Zip uses a simple interface that doesn't have the flashiness of a top-end Sony or Apple player. Each feature has its own "page" on the horizontally-scrolling main menu, and the music navigation style is entirely standard. You can browse by artist, album and other tags or sift through any recently added picks.

SanDisk has done its best to make the interface look friendly and fun, using plenty of colour, rounded fonts and animated transitions, but the blocky screen ensures it never looks particularly good. It is intuitive, however, and although the front buttons feel a little cheap they're positioned well-enough to make browsing through your music comfortable.

SanDisk Clip Zip

The player's audio output is clean and sound quality is good. However, it restricts volume to an unusually great degree. If you have earphones or headphones that are difficult to drive, like the Phonak Audio PFE 012, maximum volume may be required.

There is a way around this, though. Perform a factory reset, tell the player it's in the US - rather than EU - during setup and the volume limit disappears. Without the limiter maximum volume is much higher than most, and there don't appear to be any drawbacks to telling the player it's a yank.

There's an inbuilt equaliser nestled within the settings menu, but sound customisation is not a forte of the Clip Zip. 10 presets are included, as well as a custom option, but all are based on a ham-fisted 5-band EQ. Without the subtlety of the system fitted into players like the Cowon J3, it's not much use.

SanDisk Clip Zip

The SanDisk Clip Zip is a good budget choice for audio nuts, though, because of its support for the lossless FLAC format. Not all similar players from the big names - Sony, Apple, Samsung - offer it. However, while wide-ranging, format support is temperamental, with some files causing the player to hang.

A little patience is required, but the number of features SanDisk has packed into such an affordable player is impressive. It's small, its storage potential is impressive and although the interface isn't flashy, it is easy to use. Similarly-equipped music players from better-known names tend to cost at least £20-30 more.

There is one issue that turns us off the Clip Zip a little, though - battery life. At 12 hours, it's a lot lower than the current standard. They may be a little larger, but the Philips GoGear ViBE, Apple iPod nano and Samsung YP-Q3 all double that figure to around 24 hours.

This limitation and the unimpressive screen make the SanDisk Clip Zip work best as a second, or perhaps sport, music player rather than your prime music source. The low price makes this work as a proposition, though, especially as you can snag the cheaper 4GB model and make up the difference in storage with a microSD card for a few pounds.


Low cost, good format support and expandable memory team up to make the SanDisk Clip Zip MP3 player a solid choice if you're strapped for cash. It doesn't look or feel expensive, but its rear clip is sturdy enough to grip onto clothing reliably. Looking for a primary MP3 player? We'd recommend considering a slightly more expensive player with longer battery life. But as a second or sporty music source, it's a winner.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Design 7
  • Features 8
  • Sound Quality 7
  • Value 8


February 16, 2012, 4:58 pm

Why on earth is there no comparison to the Clip+? This is in fact the 3rd generation of this product line so it's hardly a "new contender" to the Nano. I'm very wary of making any decisions based on stuff I read here anymore but the only differences between this and the previous model (Clip+) appears to be a slightly tweaked button layout, larger colour screen and micro USB instead of mini. Personally I wouldn't bother with the Clip Zip, especially when the 8GB Clip+ can be had for just £30 including an additional 8GB SD card.


February 16, 2012, 5:29 pm

Hi Kingosticks,

The Clip models are all part of the same family, and as you say there's little difference apart from the minor tweaks you mention.

The comparison was there to address whether it's worth spending more than SanDisk's offerings. Whether you want a Clip+ or Clip Zip is simpler - how much do you care about a full colour screen? Pretty much covers it.


February 16, 2012, 5:56 pm

Thanks for the reply. I agree, how much do you care about a full colour low resolution screen? But that's completely missing from your review, the extra comparison would have been more useful for someone looking at a Nano alternative.


February 16, 2012, 5:59 pm

I'll add to the review. You make a fair point!

WAgile Guru

February 16, 2012, 10:07 pm

This comment system is somewhat confusing, no? Must be some free Open Source code to save costs I'd imagine...


February 16, 2012, 10:12 pm

Oh that it were. We actually pay for this.

WAgile Guru

February 17, 2012, 3:39 pm

Ouch! I hope you kept the receipt... ;op

Philip Angell

February 17, 2012, 8:26 pm

I have the Clip+, and as far as I remember it had much better sound quality than anything below the much more expensive Sony players. However, it didn't support AAC files which is a pain if anybody else who might want to use it has never changed the default ripping format in their iTunes! If the Zip's sound quality matches that of the Clip+, it sounds like it could be a really nice little player.


February 20, 2012, 2:10 am

Third hit in a row for the Clip range but they've insisted on exactly the same problem as twice before : I have to get the lower capacity to buy the colour I want. It's a stupid strategy since the one thing the Nano has going for it is an expansive colour range. Give me an 8GB orange one and I'll snap it up in a heartbeat.


July 29, 2012, 4:48 pm

So let's get this straight. You do a review of an audio player and the full extent of your review regarding the quality of sound it produces is 'The player's audio output is clean and sound quality is good.' That's a little too concise for those who actually buying an audio player for, you might find this bit strange, playing music. There's only one word for the omission a full audio review. Imbecilic.

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