Fischer Price FP3 Player = Headaches for dad.

As a follow up to my previous rant about the Fischer Price FP3 player, here’s an overall summary review of the product. I’m posting this here in hopes Google can pick it up and warn any unsuspecting geek parents.

First, to be fair, the pros: It’s a nice piece of industrial design. It’s rugged, which is a big plus. It also has very large buttons that even our 2 year old has figured out  (when he can steel it form his older brother). The nicest feature, IMHO, is that the volume is limited, so the young’uns can’t blow out their ear drums quite yet. In terms of the device, FP did good.
Now, the con. Can you guess what it is? (This is me afterall…that should give you a clue): DRM. Really nasty DRM.

For starters, the software comes on a CD with the player. This is the *only* way to get the software. You can not download it anywhere. If you loose it, you pay $5 to have FP ship you a new one. Secondly, Windows only. Third…both the software AND the FP3 player can only be registered to ONE machine. That means if your brother was gracious and installed it on his machine at xmas to transfer some songs to the player that your son has since then fallen in love with, you now have to explain to him why you have to delete them completely so you can connect the player to your home machine.

Finally, this biggest headache: you only have two options for getting music onto the device: Buy from Fischer Price online in FP3 format or re-rip the songs from CD into FP3 format via the software.

That means none of the song you’ve already ripped to MP3 or have purchased online via iTunes or the like can be easily put onto the player.

So, long story short, here’s the process I had to go through after I casually promised my son a few weeks ago that we could put a few new songs on his player for him:

  1. First spend an hour looking for the disk only to not find it.
  2. The next day, pull out the credit card and call customer support
  3. Wait a week for the mail to come
  4. install the software
  5. reformat the FP3 player
  6. Take the songs you want to add and make a new playlist in iTunes
  7. Burn a CD
  8. open the FP3 software
  9. Rip the CD
  10. re-enter all the song titles and artis information
  11. copy files to the FP3 player
  12. repeat steps 6-11 if you want to fill up the other half of the 128mb space on the FP3 player
  13. Enjoy the new drink coasters.

Bottom line advice for anyone stumbling upon this thread researching this as a gift for their child: skip the toy store and walk over the the Apple Store and grab the iPod shuffle. It’s only about $10 more but will save you more than half the headaches.