Let's be honest: a plastic MP3 player with a $40 price tag with kid-specific features is probably not going to be a top contender in the sound quality competition. However, the Sansa Shaker really doesn't sound half-bad. I listened to a selection of tracks through a set of Shure SE310s and was frankly impressed by the warmth and clarity of the music. High-end detail was also quite good, though bass was predictably lacking. I could detect some light static in bass-heavy and minimalist tracks and rock tracks sounded a bit muffled, but hey, is your 7-year-old going to be bumping jungle and blasting punk rock? Probably not, and the rousing rendition of "This Old Man" that came preloaded on the Shaker sounded just fine. You can certainly do worse for your children's ears than this player. The rated battery life of 10 hours for an AAA battery is pretty shoddy, but perhaps the player will surprise us in CNET Labs test results. Check back soon for that info.