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ARCHOS Clipper 2GB MP3/WMA Music Player – Small and Light Clip Device for Audio Playback

Today many of our mobile phones include some form of built-in music player. This is certainly a handy feature, however there are times when even a mobile phone can be a hindrance on your travels. If you visit the gym with any kind of frequency or like to exert energy by jogging or running, then a piece of hardware that is small, light and capable of playing your favourite tunes to help pass the time is certainly a welcome one. One of my fears is dinging, damaging or even dropping my far from cheap fancy touch screen phone while exercising. Even walking over the tricky English countryside can be littered with perils and one slip could result in disaster.

Introducing the ARCHOS Clipper, which is an extremely portable music player with 2GB of internal memory and support for both MP3 and WMA audio formats and priced below £20.

So let’s take a look at some of the features…

Design

I remember a time when the so called ‘portable music players’ were still quite large in size as they would need to cram in an Audio CD, which certainly aren’t the smallest of music storage media. The hardware therefore always had to be at least the size of an audio disk, but now thanks to new technologies – you can enjoy a larger storage space in a diminutive package. With the included 2GB of internal memory, you can store around 1000 tracks of music and by connecting it to your computer – easily drag and drop any audio files to and from the device. Of course you can also listen to podcasts (audio show recordings) as it isn’t all about music you know.

The ARCHOS Clipper is essentially an audio player, but it is a minute one. It isn’t the smallest on the market, but actually it is nice to have something fairly substantial that you can actually locate with less chance of loss. The buttons as a result are nice and large and there are selections for increasing and decreasing the volume, skipping to the next track or a previous one, while slap bang in the middle a play and pause toggle. Unfortunately the buttons don’t have any raised markings that can be felt, which could identify the operation without actually looking at the device, but this is really only a minor criticism. One last switch is found on the side allowing you to ‘lock’ the buttons so you can’t accidentally trigger an operation.

It is a very pleasing device to hold with its soft to the touch feel and useful built in clip. You see this is where the ‘Clipper’ name originates and with this feature, you can ‘clip’ the ARCHOS to your clothing, belt or strap – knowing it is secure and accessible.

There is no display to inform you of which track is playing so you will need to rely on your ears for this one, but what do you expect for less than £20? You can still ‘shuffle’ the tracks if you wish, which results in the ARCHOS Clipper randomly selecting the next song from the selection in its memory.

The audio quality stands up well compared to other similar offerings, providing a decent portrayal of the original tracks. The maximum volume level though seemed a little on the low side, which might become problematic in noisy environments. The included earphones as you might expect are adequate, although the more serious audiophile will possibly consider purchasing a higher quality set.

Audio Formats

I am sure many of you will have heard of the term ‘to rip’ when applied to copying music tracks off an Audio CD. The audio information is often compressed to very small file sizes compared to their original heft and can be stored in various formats.

MP3 is one such format – an audio codec that has been widely accepted by the industry and consumers – compressing music and offering immense compatibility with all kinds of audio players. Another is WMA (Windows Media Audio), released by Microsoft that has an improved quality at higher compression levels than MP3, however lacks the same widespread compatibility. The ARCHOS Clipper supports both of these popular formats so you can enjoy quite a bit of flexibility.

Specification Highlights

  • Internal Storage: Available in 2GB
  • Compatibility: Windows or Mac and Linux (with mass storage support)
  • Computer Interface: USB 2.0 High Speed
  • Battery: 11 hours music
  • Music Playback: MP3
  • Physical Dimensions: 2.04“ x 1.06“ x 0.47“ – Weight: 14 grams, 0.49 oz

Final Thoughts

If you wish to avoid damaging your precious mobile phone, having a lightweight and compact music player in the form of an ARCHOS Clipper is one good possible answer especially when it is priced at under £20. It is small enough to be portable yet has enough size to it so it doesn’t become lost within your pocket. The clip works well attached to either your clothing, belt or strap and you feel secure in the knowledge you have a wondrous selection of music without all the bloat and is extremely simple to use due to its minimalistic operation, fitting nicely with your daily exercise.

Features I loved:

  • Incredibly lightweight
  • Nicely sized buttons
  • Good audio quality playback

Features that lacked a little:

  • A fairly low maximum volume

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