Now that the home entertainment market has moved towards streaming video services and Blu-ray content, there has never been a better time to convert DVD collections to digital.
Sandisk Sansa Shaker
- Good sound, Easy to use, Two headphone jacks, Supports SD card memory.
- No rechargeable battery, Limited appeal, Distortion in speakers at high volume
The Sansa Shaker is a great introduction to the world of portable music and will no doubt keep kids and pre-teens amused for hours.
Price$ 79.00 (AUD)
It's hard to know what the kids of today are into, just writing the phrase "the kids of today" makes us feel a little older than we would like. However, when the Sandisk Sansa Shaker MP3 player came across our desk, we somehow didn't think "Shaking" was the new craze. This is a very basic MP3 player that, while having good sound, is nothing more than an iPod shuffle in the shape of a cutesy salt shaker.
The device is very simple to use and shouldn't be too technologically advanced for young kids. The box suggests an age bracket of 8+ for this player and based on using the device we would think it may not appeal to ages over about 12-13 due to its childish audio interface. Performing certain functions, like turning it on/off is accompanied by a "wacky" tune or sound which, while amusing, would get annoying to anyone with an attention span. For kids, it's a great fun toy and allows them to join in on the MP3 music craze.
The unit has two headphone jacks which are great for kids who want to sit in the back of the bus and share their music with a friend. It also has a speaker on the top of the unit which delivers better sound than we expected. However, there is a fair bit of distortion at high volumes and even at the highest, which isn't loud enough, but for its target market, it is satisfactory.
The shaker functionality is used to skip forward a track. The instructions state that you use it to "randomly skip songs" but it is not actually a shuffle function as it only jumps to the next song.
The best aspect of this unit is the storage space. While the paltry 512MB of memory is not all that impressive, the fact that the memory is in the form of an SD card is. This means that the device can potentially store a whole lot more than what it originally comes with. Currently there are SD cards on the market with sizes up to 16GB with a 32GB card just around the corner.
The biggest disappointment with regards to this MP3 player is the lack of a rechargeable battery. Since it uses a USB connection to transfer music, we assumed that it would be able to trickle charge, but this wasn't the case. The Shaker uses one AAA battery instead which means that you will either need to continually replace it, or buy a rechargeable. Either way, it's an additional expense that could have been avoided.
It comes preinstalled with stellar tracks that will undoubtedly thrill very young children such as Farmer in the Dell, Wheels on the Bus and Three Blind Mice. However, older kids and even teenagers will most likely delete these in favour of something a little less embarrassing.
The Shaker is a great introduction to the world of portable music and will no doubt keep kids and pre-teens amused.
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