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Didn't play Audible -- does now -- and some audiobooks require workarounds
on September 4, 2011
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.
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' ([...]"