Well, this is interesting. A new Sansa toy, the Clip Zip
With these features:
microSDHC card slot lets consumers instantly expand the player’s storage capacity-up to 32 additional gigabytes2 (a maximum of 8,0003 songs total between the internal and external memory).
Easy compatibility with all major music, audio book and podcast formats, including MP3, WMA, WAV, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, AAC and Audible files.
Yes, AAC is in there. And according to the user manual, it does gapless too.
Physical controls, not touchscreen. Looks like the Fuze in a matchbook size. The crucial question, of course, is sound quality. Personally, I didn’t like the Clip + sound quality. Let’s see what the reviews say.
The successor to the Fuze was the Fuze+, albeit a flawed successor.
I am curious what you didn’t like about the Clip+ sound though, given that it runs off the same sound chip as the Fuze did. I do remember that the custom EQ was slightly improved from Fuze –>Clip+, from when I had both. The one on the Zip works pretty well, although it’s not Rockbox-grade.
Basically, the only thing the Fuze has over the Clip Zip is battery life. The three players I am using the most these days are the Clip+ w/Rockbox, the Clip Zip, and my Touch 4G. I’ve been doing a lot of testing with the Zip, and thankfully am almost done with that…and listening to the C+ as always on-the-go. I use the Touch for podcasts, gaming and apps (and music if the Clips aren’t nearby) , mostly at home.
I can get great sound out of any one of the three players, but the C+ and Touch have more customizable sound than the Zip if needed. The Touch does have a little bit higher output power though, which is nice when driving speakers.
Actually, I couldn’t really say that any one of my six players sound noticeably better than the rest…they really all sound very, very good. The Cowons are trickier to use if you want/need to tweak your sound…all kinds of stuff to play with, but it’s easy to get sucked in by the enhancements and end up with an artificial sound.
Anyways, B-R, to get back to your original question, before the firmware upgrade yesterday, I was of the opinion that out of the Sansas I’ve had, assuming original SanDisk firmware only, then the Zip is tops, by a very small margin, and assuming no EQ is being used, I rate it as equal to the Rockboxed Clip+ . Since the upgrade, I’ve been running battery life tests, so I haven’t gone back for serious back-to-back testing…but hopefully the update didn’t change the sound.