The GoodThe SanDisk Sansa Shaker features a simple, kid-friendly design and will be available in a variety of colors. The player is half-toy and shuffles up music when shaken. Fun sound effects when the player is paused or turned on and off add to its appeal. It's inexpensive and includes an external speaker and two headphone jacks for sharing.
The BadThe flap covering the ports on the bottom of the Shaker may not be durable over time, and the lack of rechargeable battery may not appeal to everyone. The player only supports MP3s.
The Bottom LineIf you want to get your children started on digital music at a young age, the Sansa Shaker provides a great way to do so: it's inexpensive, simple, and acts like a toy.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Disney is the Apple of the children's portable entertainment market. Still, as with the iPod, others will not stand idly by and let the Mix Stick and Mix Max go unchallenged. Enter the SanDisk Sansa Shaker, the latest MP3 player aimed at getting your youngster into the digital audio game. And at $40 with a dead simple design, it's definitely up to the task.
The Sansa Shaker was designed with the little ones in mind and it shows. Its hourglass shape makes it perfect for small hands, and as it's about the size of a salt shaker (3 inches tall and 1.5 inches in diameter at the wide ends), it won't be a choking hazard. The player has no screen--just a few simple controls. There's a play/pause button on the front with an LED ring that lights up when the unit is powered on. You can shuttle through tracks by twisting a ring around the bottom of the Shaker and adjust volume via a similar ring around the top. SanDisk has taken young ears into account and implemented a volume limiter feature that defaults to a safe volume every time the earbuds are plugged in, no matter how far the external speaker is turned up.
Since 2003, Jasmine France has worked at CNET covering everything from scanners to keyboards to GPS devices to MP3 players. She currently cohosts the Crave podcast and spends the majority of her time testing headphones, music software, and mobile apps.