Customer Review

712 of 766 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Didn't play Audible -- does now -- and some audiobooks require workarounds, September 4, 2011
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This review is from: SanDisk Sansa Clip Zip 4GB MP3 Player, Blue With Full-Color Display, MicroSDHC Card Slot and Stopwatch- SDMX22-004G-A57B (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Electronics)
The Sansa Clip Zip sounded like just what I wanted -- a small, inexpensive, clip-on mp3 player to use while I exercise. I was wrong. I listen to audiobooks while I exercise, and despite Sansa's product description the Clip Zip doesn't do that.

When I manually load audiobook mp3 files on the Clip Zip, it classifies them as songs on different albums by one artist. If I select "artist" it plays all the 'track #1s' in sequence and then all the 'track #2s', etc. If I choose "album" it plays that set of files but then I have to search around for the next cryptically-named "album" in the book. That works, sort of, but who wants to stop exercising to fiddle around with an mp3 player for 10 minutes searching for the next section of a book?

When I use Windows Media Player to make a playlist of an audiobook's tracks and then sync them with the Sansa, the process fails -- no playlist is on the Sansa and the book is organized exactly as it was using drag-and-drop.

Same thing happens with iTunes, except iTunes itself crashes half the time too.

Audible.com books? Sorry, the audible format is not supported.

If you want to listen to music on a cheap mp3 player, buy the Clip Zip. If you want to play an audiobook, forget about it -- it's useless.

Addendum:
Several people have offered comments and work-arounds that have been very helpful. First of all, the problem with Audible compatibility apparently belongs to Audible.com, not SanDisk. Second, Windows Media Player does work with the Clip Zip. Third, even without built-in Audible support, you can manually add Audible books to the Clip Zip.

I've added one star to my rating. It's OK as it is now and when Audible.com (an Amazon subsidiary, BTW) changes the Audible Manager it should move up to "pretty good" rating -- actually a "good for the price" rating.

Second addendum (December 15, 2011):
1) I'm told that Audible.com now supports this device.
2) There's a workaround for the problem I had with playing mp3 audiobooks. Both Andy Sexton and John R. Ridley came up with the workaround and posted it in the comments to this review. Quoting Mr. Ridley: "If you put audiobooks into the audiobook folder, or set the genre in the MP3 tags as "AUDIOBOOK" the Clip Zip will handle them properly, with proper resume points and no need to make playlists or anything." Thank you Andy and John!

Third addendum (April 26, 2013)
Apparently here are workarounds for the mp3 file order problem that I experienced.
Fred Langa with WindowsSecrets.com says: "There are other tricks and workarounds, too, that enthusiasts have developed for copying and playing audiobook chapters, MP3s, or other media files in a specific order. For example, see the AnandTech forum thread, 'Tell Windows the order in which to copy files?' ([...] or the MurrayMoffatt.com article, 'Sort MP3 files on MP3 player' ([...]"
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Comments

Tracked by 18 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 110 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Sep 4, 2011 4:24:12 PM PDT
Audiobooks downloaded from the library (Overdrive) are listed under "Music", but they play in correct order. Sansa and/or Audible.com need to work on the compatability issue, which I believe is underway.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 4, 2011 4:44:54 PM PDT
M. Herbst says:
Yes, got it -- and thanks. You're right, I can get the Sansa to play each "album" in the correct order, so that's something. But for multi-disk books, when one CD is finished I have to fumble around to figure out which CD "album" comes next.

I could also change each mp3 file's ID-tag to define the order of play, but I don't really want to bother with a device that needs me to edit each file one by one. That's what playlists are for.

Posted on Sep 6, 2011 8:36:40 AM PDT
Laura says:
I have the previous Sansa clip, and it plays Audible files fine. I use the audible manager and sinc up the Clip and download through there. Have you tried using the audible manager and found it doesn't work either? I would be very frustrated if this new version does not. (more than frustrated honestly) Glad I saw your review.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 6, 2011 9:42:01 AM PDT
M. Herbst says:
Yes, I've tried to use the Audible Manager with the Sansa Clip Zip; it says that the Clip Zip is not a supported device. I presume SanDisk is working on that, but it's astonishing to me that they didn't set that up in the first place.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 7:01:03 AM PDT
jomojomo says:
It supports playlists.

fyi, when any brand new electronic device or piece of software comes out, there are always bugs and fixes. It's the nature of the beast. Apple probably has the fewest problems of any manufacturer or software dev, but even they have issues and they don't make a music player with expandable storage. If you don't want to deal with bugs etc, wait a minimum of 6 months before buying so the bugs and kinks can be worked out.

and changing tags on multiple files is a snap with mp3tag (it's free).

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 1:40:49 PM PDT
Ripping Audiobooks from CDs always leaves a mess on the wma / mp3 tags. I use TagAndRename to rename all the files, then rewrite Author (if necessary), Album title, track title and track number. I can make the changes in about a minute or two and then everything plays in proper order.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 1:48:53 PM PDT
M. Herbst says:
Ooh, that's good. I hadn't heard of Tag and Rename before.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 2:27:55 PM PDT
M. Herbst says:
Thanks. I'm aware of the Clip Zip's playlist support. I was trying to tell other buyers that syncing playlists from WMP and iTunes isn't seamless.

Agreed that bugs and fixes are a part of life. However, SansDisk advertizes the Clip Zip's audiobook support even though Audible.com -- the company that vastly dominates the audiobook market -- isn't supported. That's not a bug; it's misleading.

I don't mind if version 2 of a product is better than version 1, but I do mind if version 1 doesn't do what the vendor says it does. Rather than waiting 6 months before buying, hoping the vendor will have fixed any defects, I prefer to use a consumer review system like Amazon's. Letting others know how products work -- and don't work -- encourages vendors to release products only when they're actually ready to go.

Thanks for pointing me to mp3tag. I've used the open source Mp3 Tag Tools, but I've had it scramble tags -- maybe my user error.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 7, 2011 2:52:11 PM PDT
Sansa's description says it plays audiobooks and I agree that this is very misleading. Their reply to my complaint, "I would like to inform you that the Audible manager does not support the Clip Zip. We are working with Audible to have the manager updated however we do not have an ETA for a fix at this time." Did you guys know that Audible is a subsidiary of Amazon? See http://www.amazon.com/review/R2I83SXQE1EDC/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R2I83SXQE1EDC

I got the Clip Zip because my Clip+ is acting weird, so I hope they get the zip to work with Audible ASAP.

In reply to an earlier post on Sep 11, 2011 7:57:10 AM PDT
mikerman says:
Having dealt with Audible techs. at length yesterday, the Audible audiobooks/Clip Zip issue is with the Audible Manager (not the Clip Zip), which needs to be updated by Audible to be able to transfer Audible files to the Clip Zip; Audible is working on it.

In the meanwhile, though, an EASY solution:

1. Use the Audible Manager or the Audible Download Manager to "activate" the Clip Zip, just as you normally do to use any new device with Audible.

2. Once that has been done, simply copy and paste your Audible book files (just like you do with regular files on your computer) from where they are stored on your computer to the Clip Zip's Audible folder. (If you are not sure where the Audible files are stored on your computer, the Audible software indicates the location--typically, in a downloads folder stored under an Audible folder under My Documents.)

And then, voila! The Audible books now are on your player and can be listened to. I actually even prefer this simple copy and paste method over having to fire up the Audible software to transfer files--it's faster and easier.

In the alternative, you can use Windows Media Player (WMP 11 worked for me) to sync Audible files you choose to the Clip Zip. WMP itself even will ask if you want to activate the Clip Zip for Audible files (which you need to do, as noted above) in the process. Again, simple to do.

And then, hopefully soon, Audible will update the Audible Manager, offering a 3rd alternative. In the meanwhile, verified that each of the above methods works, and that the Audible files then play just fine on your Clip Zip. Again, I say: viola!
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