“ Manufacturer: ELC / Age: 3-8 Years „
Last year, for my daughters birthday we got my daughter a CD player from the Early Learning Centre . Over the course of several months, it proved itself sturdy and well able to handle the knocks and bumps that my six year old managed to inflict on it . So much so in fact, that we decided to get her for christmas the pink MP3 player we'd seen in the Early Learning Centre .
Don't worry about it being pink - they do a blue version too. I actually kind of dislike the ELC doing things in either pink or blue, and wouldn't have minded seeing something a little more gender neutral in colour . It cost £30, and requires 2 AAA batteries, which were not included . What was included was a pair of headphones and a cable to connect the MP3 player to your computer to transfer songs .
Getting the thing out of the box, as with many ELC toys was a bit of a palaver - I do wish they would actually make the boxes for their toys easier to open so that my daughter could do it herself, but I suppose in a way it does make sense if there are perhpas younger children about .
The first thing to do was insert the batteries - which involved hunting all over the house for one of those tiny little cross headed screwdrivers. Finally locating one, we removed the secure back panel and inserted the batteries . I like that this has a secured back panel -my daughter is sensible enough not to take the batteries and suck them, but she does have some younger friends who may not be as sensible . It also means if she drops it, the back panel won't come off and get lost, and the batteries won't be rolling all over the floor .
Now that we've got it working, lets put some music on it . Although the MP3 player came with an instruction leaflet, it was pretty much a case of plug the connection wire into the back of the pc,and away you go . Except for the fact that my computer refused absolutely to recognise this alien device . We tried it with the MP3 player on, and then with the MP3 player off - no go . I decided maybe the cable was the issue, and luckily my own MP3 player had an identical cable . I switched the cables and we were off .
Putting the songs on was a simple matter of copying files from one folder on my computer into the tempory drive that the mp3 player offered up - very simple and easy to do, and within a matter of minutes I had a playlist of some 50 songs on her MP3 player . Apparently, the memory space on this is 512 megabites, and I still have about half the space left, and I think its a pretty good size for a childs MP3 player .
Then I simply popped in the headphones and handed it over to my daughter to figure out . It had clear buttons that showed when it was turned on , and although its not very clear in the photo above, each button had the function name and symbol printed on it . My daughter, already familiar with this, had it playing along merrily within a few moments .
We then realised that the circular bit on the front was actually a speaker, and this could be used without headphones . The sound this was was a little tinny, but certainly my daughter had no issues with it, especially as the MP3 player has a clip on the back allowing it to be attached easily to a belt or a pocket, so that she could walk about listening to it .
I do have one small gripe with this (other than the non-working cable) and that is the headphones, which are the kind desig ned to sit just inside the ear . My daughter has quite small ears and try as she might she just could not get these to sit comfortably in her ears . This could be a problem for other kids too- even as an adult I find these quite fiddly to use . However, a cheap pair of over the ear headphones from the pound shop, and she was happy .
I like this MP3 player . It kicks up a decent volume, but nothing too ridiculously high, and is very simple and easy to use . It is quite sturdy in design, and has been dropped and even kicked a couple of times without sustaining so much as a scratch . The batteries are holding out so far, and I like that they are safely secured in the player .
I was dissapointed with the cable not working - however I took the cable back to the ELC, and explained that I didn't need a replacement as I has an identical cable at home, and they very kindly gave me a few packs of batteries instead so that my daughter can happily carry on listening to music for a long time to come .
I think for children of 5 upwards, this MP3 is brilliant . Simple to use without being babyish, sturdy, and with a respectable amount of space, I think it was well worth the £30 is cost .