Why is this so badly designed for audiobooks?

My fifth Clip Plus just stopped working (after a month and a half), so I tried a Clip Jam, but the Jam has a bizarre feature - when I use the forward or back button, I’m tossed into a new book!  Why would I want to skip from book to book?  The Jam is like the Zip in that the buttons are designed to constantly get hit by accident (i.e. so big that they go all the way to the edge), but at least with the Zip, if chapter mode was turned off, then a quick press of the forward or back button didn’t do anything.  Given how easily the buttons get hit, no change is much better than jumping to a new book.

[One bright spot, though:  when you get slammed into a new book and then use the back button to return to the earlier book, at least it goes back to where you were.]

Also, it cuts off book titles so that, in many cases, I literally am not allowed to see which part of a multi-file book should come first.  For my current book split into three parts, I watch for a gut-wrenchingly long time as the title plods past at a snail’s pace, and when it finally gets to the end, it says Part         - and then it starts over, so I still don’t know if it’s Part 1, Part 2 or Part 3. Moreover, I can only see that much of the title after I’m already listening to the book - while scrolling up or down the list, it always, always, always blanks out and stops scrolling long before I 've seen most of the title.  How am I supposed to read the entire title?

When I get to my list of audiobooks, it’s no longer ordered by book.  A book split into three or four parts is no longer grouped together - each part is  listed separately.  This is especially problematic given that we’re not allowed to read the entire title in order to see which is Part 1.

And why is the menu set up so it takes even more steps to get to my books?  I can get rid of other stuff on the menu such as Music and Folders, which is nice, but once I pick Books, then every time I have to select Audiobooks, and then Audible, just to finally get to the list.

The timing of moving forward or back within a file has changed, and I’m not sure yet whether it’s better or worse.  With the Clip/Clip Plus/Clip Zip, the forward/back button had to be held down a long time to move just a tiny amount, but holding just a bit too long led to an unexpectedly large jump (I call that the hyperleap function).  With the Jam, holding the the button down just a short time moves you quite a bit, so that it doesn’t appear possible to relisten to just the last sentence or so.  Based on a few tries of each, the same length push seems to move farther by a factor of 10 in the Jam relative to the Plus (at least for short distances, before the hyperleap kicks in on the Plus; the forward/back on the Jam seems more linear).  So, rather than making it easy to move around within a book, it will now be hard in a different way than it was before. 

What I would really like is a button like the one on my Tivo remote that lets me jump forward or back by 30 seconds with each push.  It would be even better if we could program whether we wanted the forward/back button to move us, say, 10 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute or to a new chapter.

There’s an underserved market here.  I hope that Sansa will discover it and come out with a Clip Book version - every version since the Clip Plus has been worse for audiobooks.

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Thank you so much for your review.  It will prevent this couple from buying the Jam, at least until some of these issues are resolved.  My first Sansa Clip had a few problems with audiobooks, but, overtime, firmware updates corrected most of them, and we each keep two Clips going with audiobooks.  Replacement time is here.  Fortunately, a few old models remain available–at twice the price.  With luck, they will give Sansa enough time to cleanup its faulty software.  I can’t believe the audiobook market isn’t large enough to justify getting the software right. 

Many are listening to Audibooks on Android phones. The mp3 player market seems to be going in two directions. Tiny and cheap like the Sandisk Clip players, and audiophile, very expensive, and short battery life. There seems to be little midground. 

Bump. Seriously. How come the clip + was way better for this?

The Clip+ and Zip had completely different hardware inside. The Sport and Jam are limited feature & function players.

This brings up the question - why did they stop making the Clip+?  If they couldn’t come up with something better, why not at least continue with what we had rather than offering only something strictly worse?

The longer I use the Jam, the more disgusted I am with it.  It’s unbelievably slow, and designed so that it’s very hard to feel which button is which.  I should be able to go more than a week at a time, with daily use, without ever once having to read the screen - with the Clip +, I only needed to read the screen when I finished one book and wanted to choose another.  With the Jam, I constantly have to try to figure out what the heck it’s doing now, or did it lock itself again?

Apple devices are designed for worshippers - people using both hands to control their devices while they gaze directly at them.  I just want a light-weight clip on player where I push a button and it plays.  The more often I need to stop and stare at the postage-stamp-sized screen, the more flawed the basic design is.  And why the weird contortions just to turn the darned thing on?

“This brings up the question - why did they stop making the Clip+?  If they couldn’t come up with something better, why not at least continue with what we had rather than offering only something strictly worse?”

Apparantly its main processor was being discontinued. 


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Thank you!  It helps to know that there’s a reason.

I’m still hoping that someone will recognize the large potential audiobook market out there.  As annoying as the slow processing is on the Jam, the device might be tolerable if the buttons weren’t so badly designed (couldn’t they at least have kept the outside of the Clip+?), and if there was a way to make the screen scroll faster so that we were actually allowed to see the entire book title before it blanks out again.

Strangely enough, the feature that I was most bothered by initially is now my favorite feature on the Jam.  If the forward or back button gets pushed without being held down long enough, it jumps to a new book.  What I like is not being thrown into a new book, it’s being able to go back to exactly where I was.  Finally, no instant destruction if forward or rewind doesn’t work the first time (although I would still prefer that it simply work easily, without a lot of effort)!  

With the Clip/Clip+/Clip Zip, if I accidentally jumped to a new chapter, there was no way to get back to the old place.  The Jam’s weird hopping into a different book at least allows me to hop back again, so that there’s no permanent damage.

I just had to mention one more thing I hate about the Clip/+/Zip/Jam, and that’s the way it suddenly runs out of battery with no warning whatsoever.  It just happened again - I’m listening to my book whille doing laundry and suddenly, the thing is just dead, with literally zero advance warning as I was listening.  

Yes, I realize that there is a visual warning, which would make total sense if this was a visual device, but it’s a listening device.  I don’t stare at my listening device, I listen to it!  Why is there no audible warning that the battery is running low?

As I said earlier, it’s a design flaw if I have to look at my listening device more than once per book.  I should be able to push something and it plays, and then push again and it stops, or if I push a different button, it goes forward or back in a predictable, reversible way.  Oh, and it should play sections of a book in the only logical order.  With the Jam, I’ve been very careful to load the three sections of a book in order, yet for two separate Audible books, it has ordered the sections Part 2, Part 3, Part 1 even though I was careful to load them 1, 2, 3.  This is especially problematic because I’m not allowed to see the entire book title once the files are loaded, so I have to listen to the beginnings to figure out which part is which.

The lack of a low battery audible warning was a design flaw on the Clip that should have been fixed by the very first Clip+.  Instead, they’re leaving in place all of the bad features, and taking away anything good!  It’s not rocket science to order files 1, 2, 3 rather than 2, 3, 1 - the earlier versions of the Clip were able to at least get that much right.

Interesting idea, to have an audible warning for low power–never really thought about that before, but it makes sense!   :slight_smile:

"Interesting idea, to have an audible warning for low power–never really thought about that before, but it makes sense!  "

It makes sense if it is user adjustable, and the user is also capable of disabling it. 

Pretty much this. I just bought a Clip, and I have the same concerns. The clip + was so much better. I am not opposed to the Jam but they really need to fix the glaring software issues with firmware updates. 

Limits to what can be done, due to a limited computer chip inside.  All very depressing.

My Apple Nano  says low battery and so do my hearing aids. It wouldn’t be too much to expect the same from Sansa.

Oh how I miss my Clip +, my very favorite device.