When SanDisk decided to update its extremely popular Sansa Clip, it could have mangled a perfectly peachy player. Luckily, SanDisk knew a good thing when it saw one and created the Sansa Clip+, a fantastic follow-up that builds upon the great foundation of its predecessor.
The player continues to offer an ultracompact design complemented by useful features and solid sound quality--and all at an unbeatable price. The Clip+ is available in 2GB, 4GB, and 8GB options for $39.99, $49.99, and $69.99, respectively.
The SanDisk Sansa Clip+ is very similar to its predecessor in design, which means you still get an ultracompact shape (2.1 inches tall by 1.3 wide by 0.4-inch thick), light weight (0.9 ounce), and a superhandy built-in belt-clip on the back of the device.
That said, there are some notable--though very minor--differences between the physical aspects of the Clip+ and its predecessor. First, the player's control pad is square rather than circular, though it is the same five-way configuration, with play/pause, track FF/RW, and a contextual menu button surrounding a center select key.
Perhaps the most obvious change to the Clip+ is the overall body design, although this, too, is relatively slight. The player is less blocky, with a slightly curved, brushed, black plastic back plate that wraps slightly around the edges of the front. The colors--black, red, and blue at release--are relegated to just face of the device.
Those who are familiar with the Clip will be glad to know that the interface of the Clip+ is nearly identical, with a small menu addition to accommodate the MicroSD card slot. As you can use SlotMusic and SlotRadio cards as well as cards formatted with your own music, SanDisk has thoughtfully created a separate menu option for SlotRadio that allows you to access that content directly.
Diving into the music submenu will let you navigate by artist, album, genre, and playlist as well as a folder-tree option. This is also where you'll find dedicated sections for podcasts and audiobooks. The only issue: the display is quite small (1 inch diagonally) and thus the tiny, monochrome text may be difficult to read if you don't have perfect vision.
For such a small player, the Sansa Clip+ has an impressive array of features: support for MP3, secure WMA (subscription music), WAV, FLAC, OGG, and Audible; a built-in mic for voice recording; an FM tuner with an autoscan mode and 40 preset slots; an MicroSD slot that takes SDHC cards; and Rhapsody DNA.
The Clip+ features the same audio chip found in the Clip, meaning it offers a signal-to-noise ratio of 92dB. In layman's terms, that means this player is capable of providing great sound quality--if you swap out the included cheapo earbuds for something decent, that is.