Pros: easy to use, safe volume control, tough construction
Cons: no mp3 formatted music, must be converted to FP3 file
Fisher Price FP3 is a music player for preschool age to young kids up to 8 years old. It is built to be kid tough, which means if your child drops it, chances are, it won't break. It is made of plastic and rubberized sides/front and bottom where the computer connection goes. The on/off switch is on the back side, and is a spring-slider switch. The battery compartment is on the left side of the player and has a little phillips screw holding it in place, the compartment also has a slot for a 1gb SD card for up to 18 hours of music. It has two buttons on the top. One side is volume down, the other side is volume up. It has a white button with a book for stories, and a white button with a music note for the music. It has a back arrow and a forward arrow to scroll your music, and has a play/pause button. It does not have a stop button. You can download your own music from your CD collection or online at the Fisher Price music store, which operates like an itunes. It also recommends high speed cable internet to download music.
It does not support MP3 files, and does not support Mac. In order to download music you have on your computer, you have to rip it to a CD and then download it to the FP3 software, then to the player. If you do not have the serial number that according to the manual, is printed on the sleeve the cd software came in, you will have to call the Fisher Price Customer Relations at 1-888-892-6123 and press the prompt for computer connected toys. When you get the customer service rep, you will have to tell them you need a new Registration/Serial Number. They will ask for the model number, if it is blue or pink, and then they will get you a new serial number. It is a one time use per customer-household number I was told, so there was not a problem getting a new one. It's a 20 digit number with both letters and numbers in it. I should also mention there was no charge to get the new serial number in case anyone is wondering.
It does support the Windows 2000, and Windows XP operating systems, and has a fix for the Vista. There is not going to be a software fix for Windows 7 being this is a discontinued item.
As of this writing (10/24/09), the FP3s are no longer on the market except in outlet stores or used at auction sites. You can find a brand new one if lucky at auction too. I could not find one brand new in the stores, and online like Amazon has them over $100.00, so I went to eBay. They are going for a wide range of prices. I searched until I found the best deal, which I found a Buy It Now for $40.00 and was free shipping. My order included a used blue FP3, lanyard, boom box, blue case, head phones, software and USB cable as well.
When I got the FP3 set, it had a few songs already on it, so I was able to try it out. The volume is low purposely to protect toddlers ears, but it seems to be a little too low, at least for me. For toddlers, it's more than acceptable. I did not try it with regular earbuds, so I am not sure if that volume control is strictly in the head phones or on the player. It has a clip on lanyard with a breakaway clasp for safety. When I tried it in the boom box, the volume was able to go much louder, and it makes it very convenient to be able to play the music without the use of headphones. Also, you can play the FP3 in the boom box with no batteries in the FP3. There is no connection to use an adapter type cord with both the FP3 and boom box, so they both run strictly on batteries. The case holds the player, headphones, and USB cable. It's a good size case, so I have the manual and software as well as the batteries to the boom box in it for now.
Once you download the software and get it all registered, it was pretty easy to figure out how to get the music from cd to playlist to the player. If you don't want to make an icon for each song, it will use a default Fisher Price logo. You can also draw your own design.
I know my son will love this when he gets it at Christmas. I have his already set up and ready to go. I wanted to do it before the holidays and if I ran into any potential problems. I found it a snap, and now, I am just excited to see his face when he sees he has his own music player!
He plays rough, so this will be great for him. He has the Kid Tough DVD player and that has been great as well.
My son loved getting his own "ipod" as he called it :) He likes to use it in the car, and at home he puts the fp3 into the boombox and plays his songs while playing with his toys. I showed him how to change the volume, and the controls to turn it on/off, forward, backward, and play. He found them easy to use, and also knows the buttons to listen to either stories or music.
It's too bad they removed this product from the market..they should update the program platform to support newer operating systems. It's a great concept, and is wonderful for little kids to listen to their own music rather than getting delicate mp3s or expensive ipods.