We recently received a LeapFrog LeapPad to try out and share with friends. I haven’t seen it much since it arrived in the house and the kids took off with it, but I had a little time to test it out for a proper review. I’ve got my thoughts below. In addition, my son (who will be six at the end of the month) has his own opinion:
- A great size and shape for little hands.
- Comes with two stylus pens and an optional strap for attaching them to the device.
- Backwards compatible with Leapster Explorer Cartridges
- Can hold up to three profiles plus a guest option
- Able to take pictures and video
- 2 GB memory
- No rechargeable battery
- Creative content is available across profiles
- Apps are pricey
Creating a tablet for kids can’t be easy. It needs to be sturdy and functional, but maintain a price point that is comfortable for families. LeapFrog has done a nice job with the LeapPad, which has many of the features people appreciate in tablets (5-inch touch screen, motion sensor, camera, video) while coming in at $99.99. It should not be confused with an earlier LeapFrog product, also called a LeapPad, as this device packs a lot of punch for a device that’s intended for young kids.
We were immediately taken by the nice graphics, responsive touch screen and great features. Kids who are used to a more sophisticated device may find it a bit sluggish in terms of loading time, but they quickly move past that once they delve into the features. The LeapPad comes loaded with a handful of apps, including Art Studio, Pet Pad and Story Studio (demonstrated in the above video). You can select another app for download when you first connect your device to your computer. Additional apps will cost anywhere from $5 to $25 and will feel expensive for anyone used to the $0.99 collection in the iTunes catalog. Cartridges retail at $24.99. Both cartridges and App Center Download cards can be found discounted, either on sale or at retailers like Amazon.com. The good news is that the LeapPad can play any of the Leapster Explorer games so long-time LeapFrog users won’t have to rebuild their libraries.
Overall, LeapFrog has done a phenomenal job with the device. It’s portable and light, but so much fun to use. The kids have been taking videos, playing games, and creating artwork. It’s the first LeapFrog device that is really suited to creating things and it truly encourages the kids to use their imaginations. My kids are doing an OK job of sharing, but I anticipate needing another LeapPad before long, just because they love it so much.
My biggest complaint about the LeapPad is one that I hope can be fixed with a firmware update. Creative content created in one profile is fully accessible in any of the other profiles. Not only can my kids alter each other’s content, they can delete it. After an initial snafu, they have been instructed to only delete things they have created, but I suspect we’ll see problems going forward in this area.
The LeapFrog LeapPad gets a big thumbs up for encouraging creative play, and providing educational content. The LeapPad is available now .
Disclosure: We received a LeapFrog LeapPad from BSM Media and LeapFrog for the purpose of holding a house party.There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions contained in this post are my own and that of my son. There are affiliate links in this post.