While I was waiting for my 8GB Clip Sport to arrive, I was reading some of the reviews under this product and was getting a little bit anxious. Being an owner of Sansa Clip+ for MANY years, I had a very good experience with Sandisk mp3 players, that's why I was surprised about some of the people's comments where instead of reviewing the actual player they were bashing it based on comparison to other Sandisk models. Now, after receiving it and having a chance to use it - I can share with you my thoughts about it.
Clip Sport arrived in a nice compact package with a front see-through display showing the entire outline of the player and a detailed list of features. I like the presentation of products, and pay a close attention to the packaging. It's always hard to judge the size of the product from on-line pictures, so I was pleased to see how compact it was out of the box, about 60mm x 40mm x 10mm (+ clip). The included accessories were a short rigid usb to micro-usb cable (finally, I don't have to deal with mini-usb and can use a ton of my smartphone micro-usb cables!!!), a set of headphones with 3 pairs of silicone eartips, and a quick start guide. Headphones have a flat tangle-free cable, a chin slider after y-splitter (helps with cable management to keep it tight), and an angled 3.5mm gold plated headphone connector, The earbuds have a soft touch outside finish and a clear external L/R marking. They are very lightweight and have a comfortable fitment with a nice seal when a right size eartip is selected. True, these are not audiophile quality headphones, but it was still nice to include these in a package. Actually the sound is not too bad, with a signature of enhanced bass and rolled off upper mids and treble. It's really not the end of the world because you can use Clip Sport EQ presets to brighten the sound. Try Jazz preset and you will hear a pleasant improvement. Though, not an accessory, I still consider built-in clip as one, a generous wide clip to attach this mp3 player to your cloth.
Now, about a player itself. From the first look, you notice that display takes almost half of it's size now. No more squinting while looking at the song title or the song artwork which Clip Sport is capable of displaying. Yes, resolution is pixilated, but what do you expect from 1.44" LCD screen? This is not a video player or smartphone/smartwatch. Resolution is adequate enough for the functionality of this player. The control buttons located on the lower part of the player with a "floating" 4-way Play/Pause, Skip Next, Skip Prev, and Menu. A multifunction button is located in the middle, and a separate Back button in the upper left corner. On a left side you have micro-usb port and dedicated volume up/down below it; and on a right side there is headphone jack and micro-sd port. Though Clip Sports is a little bit bigger than Clip+, it still fits in a palm of your hand, very lightweight, and with a solid feel.
You power it up by holding the multi-function button down, and you turn it off the same way. One thing you do need to get use to, and perhaps it will be fixed in the future firmware updates, this multi-function button needs to be held for a split second longer to register it's selection, which on a few occasions turned off mp3 player display (also stopping the music playback). So, you need to get use to it. Navigation of the player was very intuitive, don't even need to look into instructions. Scrolling through the main menu revealed selection of Music (content of the internal memory), FM Radio (with a decent pick up of stations), Folder view of internal or external (micro-sd) memory, Card view (of micro-sd card), Sport functionality (Stopwatch and Timer), and the Settings menu. I know some people mentioned about internal and external content being in two separate lists; I personally don't see a problem with that. Do you really need to integrate 8GB of internal memory with 16GB or 32GB of your external micro-sd card? I can only see it a problem for some who use high resolution FLAC files that take a lot of room and you have a big chunk of your music library spread across internal memory and external flash card - but for basic active use, in my opinion it's not a show stopper. And perhaps future firmware updates will fix that.
Sports functionality was a great addition, but I wish while Stopwatch and Timer were running I could have been able to use left/right buttons to skip between the songs. Also, hoping this will be addressed in a future firmware updates. I know a few people mentioned in reviews that library audio books were not supported; I can't comment on that since I don't use that media. All my songs are 320kbps mp3s and FLAC, and they sound great on this little guy. I actually tested it using some of my more expensive headphones to confirm sound quality of internal D/A output. No complaints here. I was also very pleased that once connected to computer, I didn't have to search for Clip Sport in My Computer folder, because it actually showed up as a logical drive letter on my laptop (for both internal and external micro-sd). It makes it easier to copy files this way.
YMMV, but I was actually pleased with this mp3 player. It does everything it claims to do. Has a great build quality and fantastic battery life (rated up to 25hr), it has a great sound quality, plays lossless audio formats, and comes with a set of headphones which can be tweaked with EQ (to boost back the missing highs). And I'm sure with a future firmware update all the little nitpicking will be taken care of. For critical audio listening, I have my bulky $350 X5 DAP, while for playing music while exercising or doing other extreme activities, I will use my lightweight compact $50 Clip Sport!