Small and cute

Recently an interesting package was delivered to my office and it turned out to be San Disk a Sansa Clip mp3 music player.

The most striking thing about the player was its tiny size (I’ve seen bigger postage stamps) and the fact that it offers a playing time of 15 hours from what must be a very tiny battery indeed.

The Sansa Clip can store and play music in a number of formats and also audio books, of which there are apparently a huge number available. By searching on Google for ‘free mp3 audio books’, I found a sample chapter from a classic book, which I was able to download and play successfully.

There was a leaflet in the player’s box about where you can find and buy any number of modern bestsellers for you listening pleasure. I was put off by the high prices on that particular site but I’m sure that, if you shopped around, you could get audio books far more reasonably.

I was a little surprised to find the Sansa Clip didn’t have any bundled software for use in ripping music from compact disc and transferring it and other files from computer to the player.

I guess the designers thought that most people would already have an application to manage their sound files and that including their own proprietary software would be gilding the lily.

I have been using Windows Media Player (WMP) for my needs which are, it must be admitted, pretty meagre when it comes to playing sound through my computer. I found that WMP recognised the Sansa Clip when I plugged it into my computer.

Copying music to the player was as easy as selecting the albums I wanted from WMP’s music library and then using the program’s synchronise feature to copy them over to the Sansa Clip.

Using the player is easy enough and I soon managed to find and play the albums I had copied onto it. The FM radio and voice recorder were likewise quite easy to use and, if I ever had any trouble finding my way through the menus, I could just press the Home button on the front of the unit to be taken back to the beginning.

The sound quality provided by the player is not bad at all, in spite of the fact that I chose the maximum compression setting when converting albums to mp3 format. The sound is not going to compare to what you’ll get out of a decent set of headphones and a HiFi but, then again, you’re not going to be able to clip the HiFi to an armband or your top pocket.

At only ,92 of an ounce, whatever that might be in metric, the Sansa Clip is very nice and light and easy to carry. It seems to be decently made and the only slight worry, on the unit I played with at least, was that the USB socket was quite tight and required a bit of force whenever I wanted to plug in the cable to recharge it.

The unit I had was the 1Gb version which could probably store something like 25 albums, going by my experience. Those should be available for about R620, with the 2Gb version costing about R780 and a new 4Gb version on the way.

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