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Sandisk Sansa Clip vs iPod Classic

After much nagging and cajoling by Bro Mark, I bought a 40 GB iPod Classic MP3 player back in 2004. It cost $483, including shipping.

iPod, spare batteries, remote control and SanDisk Sansa ClipAlmost immediately, I discovered that the battery wouldn’t carry it through a long ride, particularly if I hadn’t charged it completely from the ride the day before. Bro Mark turned me on to woot.com, which had special twofer deal going on a Nyko iBoost Battery Pack for iPod for about $20.

These puppies added some size and weight to the Classic, but they also meant that I rarely ever ran out of juice. And, if I did, I could pop on the backup battery pack and be back in business.

iPod remotes were getting hard to find

I rode with the Classic in the MP3 player pocket on the back of my CamelBak MULE, with the remote cord plugging into my Active Tunes iRide Pro speaker. The only problem was that the remotes were getting hard to come by and my last one was starting to sound like it might have a short.

My kid loved his SanDisk Sansa Clip

SanDisk Sansa ClipA couple of years ago, Woot ran a special for the SanDisk Sansa e250 for about $20. I bought one for Son Matt and he loved it. It was small, the battery life was excellent and, with an external speaker, it was great on the bike and in the shower. He’s a big fan of podcasts and it did a good job on those. It also had an FM radio built in.

He was whining the other day about one of the speaker channels dropping out, so I started looking for a replacement for his Birthday Season. CompUsa had a refurb 2 GB SanDisk Sansa Clip for about $30 that was comparable to what he had, so I snagged it.

Audiobooks and Nitrous Oxide

Clip and iPod remoteThe more I looked at his, the more I was intrigued. The whole shebang is barely bigger than the remote control on my iPod. Sure, it doesn’t hold 40 gigs, but I don’t really need to be able to play a month of music without repeats.

I make do with about four playlists and that’s it. (I also keep an audiobook handy for the trips to the dentist. An audiobook and nitrous oxide makes the hour go fast. I’ve devoted one mystery audiobook to the dentist and I’ve been listening to it for two years. I may NEVER get to the end of it.)

I decided I wanted the 4GB SanDisk Sansa Flip

If 2GB is good, then 4GB has to be better, right?

CompUsa had them online, but not at the local store. BestBuy had a new, not refurbished, Clip in stock for not much more than I would have paid for a refurb plus shipping. Better yet, it came with a 12-month warranty. That pushed me over the edge. I got it for about $60. WAYYYY better than $483.

What I like about the 4GB SanDisk Sansa Flip

  • SanDisk Sansa Clip on CamelBak below cell phone and i-Ride Pro speakerI loaded in a playlist I built in Windows Media Player that contained 188 songs and still had 2.4GB of free space.The built-in rechargeable battery will play for up to 15 hours
  • It charges through a standard USB mini plug, the same connector as my flash card reader, Olympus WS-500M Digital Voice Recorder, portable hard drives and Garmin nüvi 760 GPS.
  • It has a built-in FM radio tuner which works surprisingly well.
  • It’s tiny: about .7″ deep, 1.4″ high and 1.4″ wide. Like I said, just barely bigger than the remote control for my iPod.
  • Four-line OLED display that’s really bright.
  • Reasonable intuitive controls. All I need are pause, skip and volume when I’m on the bike.
  • It connects to my Active Tunes i-Ride pro with a standard miniplug.

Past reviews of MP3 speakers

I’ll post a follow-up review after I get a few more miles on it.

4 comments to Sandisk Sansa Clip vs iPod Classic

  • The Sandisk Sansa e250 was a wonderful piece of hardware for less than $30.

    Unlike an iPod, which costs triple-digits, the e250 was nearly disposable. I had no problem leaving in in plain view in my car because no one was going to steal the unit.

    I was also none too careful with the MP3 player. I’ve dropped it any number of times while riding my bike. It bounces and keeps on going. I used to say it was indestructible but the right stereo channel gave out a couple weeks ago after a bad drop. If I squeeze the unit, the right channel comes back on so I’m sure it is just a loose solder joint.

    In any case, Dear Old Dad replaced the e250 with the Sansa Clip. It has the same amount of disk space (2GB) but is a fraction of the size. The interface is very similar and there was no learning curve going from the e250 to the Clip.

    Some differences between the Sandisk Sansa e250 and the Sandisk Sansa Clip…

    * The battery life of the Sansa Clip seems less than the e250. That’s probably because the Clip is a quarter the size of the e250. Point goes to the e250. (The e250 would go about 20 hours between charges. The Clip seems to get 12 hours.)

    * The e250 always reset to the middle volume setting when powered off an on. I found this really annoying because I usually had the e250 plugged into my car stereo and needed maximum volume to drive the stereo. The Clip stays at the volume setting where it was last left. Point to the Clip.

    * The Clip feels small and can be hard to adjust through a bike jersey pocket. The e250 was larger and felt more substantial. I’m wishy-washy on the size. Most will like the smaller Clip size. I’m getting more comfortable with the Clip but I still prefer the form factor of the e250.

    I much prefer either Sandisk Sansa unit over the bottom-of-the-line iPod Shuffle. At a half to a third of the cost, the Sansa is much less expensive and both Sansa models have a display while you’re flying blind with the Shuffle. Also, the Shuffle doesn’t come with a built-in FM receiver.

    For a total music nut, the iPod (my wife has a Nano) is still a must-have. If you just want good audio at a great price, the Sansa units are awesome.

    Cheers,
    Matt

  • Interesting. Sounds pretty nice. I’m so brainwashed by Apple, all I ever consider buying is another iPod :) My husband uses the shuffle for running and that thing is super duper tiny.

  • mark S

    The shuffle is GREAT for biking. I use the clip on version (it easily stays put on the bottom of my bike jersey where I can reach the control if I need to pause it, or change the volume. I run the headphone cord up the inside of the back of my jersey so the wires are not in the way and when I pull the earbuds out they don’t fall down to the ground that way. Nonetheless, it does NOT have a radio tuner in it. But that is exactly why I have a playlist, so I don’t have to listen to commercial radio dribble. You can’t beat the price of the SanDisk compared to the Ipod (whichever size you choose) so no arguments there.

    Bu then again, I drank the Apple Kool-Aid a long time ago, so my loyalty to a great brand runs deep.

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