The ubiquity of digital audio players is becoming more evident as companies venture into younger demographics. SanDisk does just that with an MP3 player targeted at the tween and possibly even the toddler demographic. Enter the Sansa Shaker. Doused in gender specific colors of pink and blue, the Shaker resembles more of a toy than an MP3 player.
The Shaker cannot be taken as a serious digital audio player; it is definitely intended for the kids. However, I can see this being used as an inexpensive podcasting device with its practical internal speaker. And at around forty bucks, it is a great way to introduce your kids to digital audio.
Inside the Box
In the box, you will find everything you need to get started. They’ve even preloaded kid tunes. Inside you will see: the player, earbuds, a standard USB cable, a carabiner clip, one AAA battery, and stickers that will probably end up on your walls or furniture. Also included is a preinstalled but removable 512MB SD card.
The player is made of plastic with a rubberized base to keep if from vibrating off the table. The build quality is very toy-like in feel; however, it also possesses a kid-friendly ruggedness.
What is really nice and will keep your kids from fighting are the dual headphone ports, which not only allow both kids to plug in and enjoy the tunes, but also enable you to keep your sanity by not having to listen to repetitive nursery rhymes or the newest Raffie album. (But really, they will still find a way to fight over it, so just buy one for each kid.)
Operating the Shaker is very simple. The top white band twists to the left or right to control the volume. The bottom band operated in the same way will skip tracks forward and backward; holding it down will scan through the songs. On the front is the pause/play button that also acts as a power button when depressed for a few seconds. Finally, what makes the Shaker the Shaker: the shake control. To keep the player from skipping tracks from accidental shakes, you must hold down the pause/play button before giving it a little up and down shake.
The Shaker is a standard MSC device, so it will show up as a drive and can be used on any modern operating system (Linux, Mac, and Windows). To load music on the player, you can either plug it in directly to the computer via USB or remove the SD card and insert it into a card reader.
Music plays back in alphabetical order and can be organized into folders. The files play alphabetically by folder, then alphabetically by tracks inside that folder.
The internal speaker is decent and will fill a small room with sound. The quality is what you would expect from a single 1” or so speaker. Nothing impressive, but the kids won’t really care.
I think that this quality is where the Shaker can cross over to the adult demographic. The Shaker would be a great way to listen to a podcast while sitting at your desk or doing some work around the house by simply clipping it to your belt loop.
Does it really matter? Will your kids really care? No. But if you must know, it’s pretty much unmoving and flat. Nothing you want to plug anything more than the standard included earbuds into.
The Sansa Shaker is not intended for the person reading this review, but rather for their children. If you are an adult considering this as a legitimate audio player, there are better choices, with better audio quality, sold in the same price range. Although clearly aimed at children, I could see this player used by adults as a quick and easy way to listen to podcasts without headphones. For around forty bucks, the Sansa Shaker is a great way to get your kids started early with technology. The Shaker is a kids’ toy with the durability and fun factor that will keep them entertained.