SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip is a budget iPod shuffle, but better

For just $50, you could get a 4 GB SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player with a built-in a micro SDHC slot and a color display that can do everything from play FLAC files to double as your voice recorder.

SanDisk's newest Sansa Clip Zip MP3 player may look like an elongated iPod shuffle with a color display on top and a clip on the back, but is actually packed with so many features that it makes you wonder why anyone would hand $50 over to Apple for a shuffle.

For the same price as the 2 GB shuffle, you could get a 4 GB Sansa Clip Zip that comes with a micro SDHC card slot expandable to 32 GB, a 1.1-inch color display for cover art and a graphical interface, and a music player that triples as a stopwatch, FM radio and voice recorder. The SanDisk player is also available with 8 GB of internal storage for $70.

Audiophiles would be pleased to know the Sansa Clip Zip supports FLAC rather than Apple's proprietary Lossless file format. Other music and audiobook file formats that it supports include: MP3, WMA, secure WMA, Ogg Vorbis and AAC compatible (DRM-free iTunes). So rather than spend time googling for tips and converters to get your non-M4a files to play on an i-device, this MP3 player simplifies the process of getting the files you want to your device.

While the Sansa Clip Zip is thicker than the shuffle at 0.58-inch and measuring almost twice as tall at 2.25-inch, it is still relatively light and portable for strapping onto belt hoops. Its internal rechargeable battery is good for 15 hours of use, according to press materials. Even though a dedicated MP3 player seems out of place when most phones already double as music players, it still has its uses. For students facing a long commute who do not want to drain their phone's battery just by listening to music, or athletic types who need their own personal soundtrack while hiking but don't want to risk dropping their phone on the trail, the Sansa Clip Zip is an affordable player to use, worry-free.

Taking a page from the shuffle, the 4 GB Sansa Clip Zip comes in seven different colors, while the 8 GB model is only available in Black or Grey. Both the 4 and 8 GB SanDisk players are available in the U.S. and Canada now for $50 and $70 respectively, with a rollout to Europe planned for September.

[Source: SanDisk press release]


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