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Prizefight: Apple iPod Nano vs. Sansa Clip+

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Prizefight: Apple iPod Nano vs. Sansa Clip+

4:12 /

It's a battle for bragging rights between the top two clip-on MP3 players. Will Apple's touch-screen player be a game changer? Or will Sansa continue its reign as king of the Prizefight ring? Let's get it on!

What's up, Prizefight fans. I'm Brian Tong and this is an MP3 punchout between the top two clip-on MP3 players. It's a takedown shakedown between the sixth generation iPod Nano and the Sansa Clip+. Our judges for this fight, our senior editor Donald "Save By The" Bell, senior associate editor, Jasmine "Knock 'Em in the Pants" France, and you-know-who, Ring-A-Ling-A-Ding Tong. Now we'll take all three judges' blind scores and average them out to the nearest tenth each round. The final Prizefight score will be an average of all rounds using the same decimal system. We all know looks matter. Round one is design. The redesigned Nano looks sleek and its screen pops but being pretty is only part of it. The small touchscreen makes it a pain to navigate. Its clip is awkward to use and when one of the judges gives it a 1, you know it has issues. It's pretty much like a Shuffle with a screen and that's not a good thing. The Clip+ is no sexy beast but its tactile controls for a clip-on player make it more functional than the Nano. Its clip is easier to use but the monochrome screen needs an upgrade. The bottom line, Sansa knows what an MP3 player this size needs and its buttons. The Clip+ gets a 3.3 and the Nano gets a 2.7. Round two is features. The new Nano has lost features like video playback and audio recording, but still brings an FM tuner that pauses live radio, a fitness pedometer, Nike+ compatibility, and Genius mixes that I actually use. You can view pictures and album art but having multitouch to rotate the screen isn't really all that special. The Sansa Clip brings an FM tuner with presets for gym TVs, a voice recorder, and micro SD card slot for expansion. Donald misses the album art but these are features that are practical difference makers. Sansa takes this round with a 4.3 and the Nano gets a 3.7, so after averaging two rounds, the Clip+ leads by six-tenths of a point. Next round is compatibility. Not all of us are fans of being locked into iTunes to use the Nano. The dock connector allows the Nano to be compatible with the entire iPod accessory ecosystem. It supports most common audio files but it doesn't support higher-end formats. The Clip+ supports almost every file type including FLAC and OGG, but there's no AAC compatibility for iTunes. It also syncs with Rhapsody's music subscription service and if you don't want to use any software tool, just drag and drop your tracks on to the device on a Windows and Mac. Sansa takes the third round in a row with a 3.7 and the iPod Nano gets a 3. Next round is sound and science. Apple's iPod Nano is a solid sounding player and has improved from the past but it's limited to the standard iPod EQ settings. The difference in this round is the Clip+ that has a fuller and richer sound compared to the Nano and you can even hear it with players this small. It also includes a five-band custom EQ if you like to dabble with that. Sansa takes round four with a 3.7 and the Nano gets a 3.3, so after averaging four rounds, the Clip+ still holds the lead by six-tenths of a point. The final round that decides it all is value. The Nano starts at $149 for 8 gigs and if you really value it for its size, then that's pretty much what you're paying for. The Clip+ starts at $49 retail for the 4-gig model and $69 for the 8-gig model and its by far the best value in portable audio when you stack up its features. Can you guys guess who takes round five? It's Sansa with a perfect 5 and the Nano gets a 2.3. So let's average out all five rounds and this was a clean sweep by Sansa with no surprises. The Clip+ takes this battle 4 to 3 and is your Prizefight winner. None of us expected it to be a landslide victory for Sansa but it looks like Apple really needs to go back to the drawing board and figure out the identity of its clip-on Nano. I'm Brian Tong, thanks for watching, and we'll catch you guys next time on another Prizefight.

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