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Portable Mini-Clip Music Player: Is It Still Useful?

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Upgraded mini-clip music players.

Upgraded mini-clip music players.

It's been a long time since I've had one of these. Mine has long been lost since I published this post years ago. But that doesn't make it any less useful.

The truth is that not all of us prefer to take our expensive phones when we go out jogging or even at the gym. For some of us it's related to the money aspect, while for others it's purely a comfort thing.

So what happens when you need a cheap and disposable player that will keep you entertained and not have you worry if you lose it?

Enter the mini-clip music player. It's cheap, very portable and convenient. Let's start the review of this bad boy!

Advantages

I'm sure all people who've had one of those would agree that the mini-clip player is a great minimalist device. It's really fun and easy to use. There's no display and unnecessary buttons. It comes with a standard USB-mini cable and does not need the installation of any additional files management software. This means that you can transfer and delete audio files directly onto the memory card. Pretty neat!

In terms of design, the mini-clip follows Leonardo da Vinci's principle of "less is more." It's also very small and light, which makes it incredibly comfortable to carry. The clip on the back side of the device lets you hang anywhere on your clothing.

The only controls at the front is the button panel. One circle and a ring wrapping around it make up for the six control buttons:

  • Volume +/-
  • Playback >> / <<
  • Pause and play || / >

There are no additional buttons like menus, tools, settings, modes, etc. It's very straightforward. There is a power switch on the side panel and a standard 3.0mm headphone jack. That's it!

Finally, one of the best things about this player is that it comes with a slot for a microSD memory card. Many of the fancy ones at the time did not allow for external memory and only had internal storage.

Weaknesses

Unfortunately, this device has as much weaknesses as it does strengths. Most notably, it doesn't have a display. As a result of this missing feature, there is no way for you to keep track of the songs that are playing. Even worse, you can't access advanced functions like creating playlists and navigating to a specific song.

Speaking of functions, there is no shuffle mode either. You can only two directions - forward and back. In order to play the file you want to hear, you'd have to shuffle through all songs in alphabetical order until you finally hit the one you wanted.

But wait, it gets worse. There is no system memory. What this means is that when you switch the player off, everything resets to how it was. Next time you turn it back on, you're going to have to start from the first file in alphabetical order. To make matters worse, the device doesn't even have a play mode (rock, concert, club, etc.). If you need more bass, you'd have to buy more expensive headphones that have this function already built-in.

Last but not least, there may be some connection problems. Earlier, I mentioned that the mini-clip player has a slot for a microSD memory card. The problem is that very often your PC might not recognize the new device. And with the lack of a Bluetooth functionality, adding new files becomes impossible.

Summary

It's been a long time since this device was popular. Times have changed a lot since then and now the mini-clip music player is not as needed as it was once. With smartphones becoming more affordable and accessible to the world, devices like the mini-clip become obsolete.

But we shouldn't cross it off our list yet. The mini-clip makes for an excellent back-up option when your smartphone battery runs out of juice, for example. Or when you have to go out and get involved in activities where you wouldn't want to risk damaging your expensive phone.

Despite its many flaws, the mini-clip player is a useful device. It's very small and convenient to carry. It has a very minimal design with just the essential controls.

However, there's so much that it is lacking. While not having a display is not such a big deal, the missing option to shuffle through audio files is hell. I just can't use a player where I would need to listen the same order of songs over and over again. After two days of use, I'd go crazy!

That being said, there are models with a small display and shuffle modes available. They do just what is expected of them and cost $3-$5 which is really not that bad for a backup option.

PROS:

1. Models without display

  • Cheap
  • Small and portable
  • Minimalist
  • External memory support
  • Standard 3.0mm headphone jack
  • No file management software necessary
  • Acceptable sound

2. Models with display

  • Display
  • Playlist management
  • Device settings management
  • Shuffle mode (read product description first!)


CONS:

1. Models without display

  • No display
  • Can't create playlists
  • No shuffle function and play modes
  • No system memory (resets playback when powered off)
  • No buttons lock
  • Some connection problems
  • Not waterproof

2. Models with display

  • Very limited functions
  • Display is too small
  • Display is not touch sensitive (unless supported)

Verdict

If today was more than 10 years ago, I'd suggest you get one of these. But times have changed a lot since then. Now the mini-clip music players are a almost vintage collectibles.

Not many of us actually need such device. The only thing that would make us even consider it is the price. Valued at the price of a cup of coffee, this tiny device could serve as a great backup tool for situations when you don't want to put your smartphone at risk.

How I rate it

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

Comments

Abhiyan Ghimire on September 16, 2016:

Im having the problem that you have mentioned. I'm problem to connect to my laptop. Can you please help me with its solution? My laptop doesn't detect my miniclip mp3 player.

shely on May 31, 2016:

i bought one of these online. it has screen and it has bluetooth function but i don't know how to use it can u please help[ me?

Ceres Schwarz on February 24, 2014:

Good review of the Mini Clip MP3 Player. This seems perfect for those that are looking for something portable and cheap. It's too bad that it has quite a number of flaws though the positive things about it should make up for those flaws.