My beloved Sansa Clip+ has died. What's a good replacement?
April 7, 2016 7:03 PM   Subscribe

My Sansa Clip+ MP3 player stopped working. First it started freezing up, and now my computer gives USB errors when plug it in. Sadly, when I went looking for a new one, I was disappointed to find that Sansa has apparently discontinued the Clip+, and all I see are other models with worse reviews, and refurbished clip plus's selling for nearly twice what I paid for mine new. So the question, should I suck it up and shell out $40+ for a refurbished one on ebay, or purchase something else?

(Or I guess I could use my Samsung Note 3 phone, but I liked having separate devices.)
posted by fings to Technology (7 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, yeah, I've been there. Twice, in fact; the Clip+ replaced my dearly departed Sansa Fuze. (Why Sansa/SanDisk MP3 players get worse in each successive generation is a mystery.) My sympathy.

FWIW, the Clip Jam has multiple annoyances (stuff on the SD card is dealt with entirely separately from stuff in the internal library; there's no separate power button, and the button now used for that is too easy to trigger by accident; some folders repeat all tracks whether you like it or not, and others don't, for no discernible good reason; if it's charging, it won't turn off, even if you have a sleep timer set)... but the interface is more familiar than not, and it's an adequate replacement.

On the plus side, it uses the micro USB connector all of my other electronic devices use, and it grips my headphones more tightly than the Clip+ did. That last point explains why I haven't dropped it to the pavement multiple times since I got it, and also why my Clip+ died an untimely death.
posted by Shmuel510 at 7:19 PM on April 7, 2016

I'm holding onto my Clip+ for dear life, and I'm dreading the day it finally gives up the ghost. I've already had to resolder the headphone jack twice over the past two years, and I've got it set up with RockBox because I got tired of waiting an hour for the original firmware to refresh my media whenever I made a change to my music.

If it seems like it's on its last legs, trying RockBox might be worth a shot. It's been a couple years since I set mine up, but I remember it being fairly straightforward to install. Even with the USB errors yours is generating, there's a chance it could work. Good luck!
posted by hoboscratch at 8:15 PM on April 7, 2016

some folders repeat all tracks whether you like it or not

I bet this is due to stray M3U (playlist) files in your MP3 collection. Lots of players do this, which is why I nuke M3Us with extreme prejudice.

Re: the USB errors, this could be due to the solder joint on the USB port coming loose. The headphone jack on my Clip+ did the same thing, so I popped it open and resoldered the joint and it's still kicking today (although the battery life sucks after so many years). It's reasonably straightforward if you're a bit adventurous and have nothing to lose -- you have to pop the case open like a classic-style iPod because the clips are on the inside.

I definitely recommend Rockbox on these things. It's much better than the default firmware, and RockBox lets you reboot into stock if you want.
posted by neckro23 at 8:57 PM on April 7, 2016 [3 favorites]

I bet this is due to stray M3U (playlist) files in your MP3 collection.

Nope. I generally kill M3U playlists with fire, except for the directory I have designated for such on my PC, which is separate from those with my MP3s. I mostly run into this with podcasts, where I certainly have no playlists. It is a puzzlement.
posted by Shmuel510 at 10:15 PM on April 7, 2016

So this is a long shot, but have you tried plugging it into a USB 3.0 slot?

My Clip died when someone plugged it into a soundboard with Phantom Power accidentally turned on (phantom power sends 48 volts down the line to the microphone, so my Clip got 48v through the headphone jack ). The screen froze and I'd get USB error messages also. This went on for about a week or so. I randomly tried switching it to my USB 3.0 slot on my computer and it started working again like there was never a problem. My only explanation is voodoo.
posted by Deflagro at 7:43 AM on April 8, 2016

I lost my Sansa Clip+ a few months ago and I did some research and determined that there was no better MP3 player out there, so I just got another one off ebay for about $40. I'm happy with it. Although the battery on my new one seems to drain a little faster (still pretty good though, about 6 hours).

I went with another Clip because I had been using Rockbox for years, and I liked it. Otherwise, I may have given the SanDisk Jam a shot. Based on reviews, it seemed adequate--if not great, and you can get one on Amazon for about $35.
posted by mcmile at 8:00 AM on April 8, 2016

Response by poster: In the end, I went with a new Clip+ off ebay for ~$36 with shipping.
posted by fings at 6:53 PM on May 8, 2016 [2 favorites]

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