Last year, the LeapFrog LeapPad made its debut as the premier kids tablet for children ages 4-9, as it was voted Toy of the Year. New for 2012 is the LeapFrog LeapPad 2, with more speed, memory, an additional video camera and a growing library of over 325 games, ultra eBooks, videos, and music.
-Age rated for kids 3-9
-5" screen size with 480x272 resolution
-550 MHz processor
-Powered by 4 AA batteries that provide up to 9 hours of play
-2 Built-In Video Cameras and Video Recorders (Front and Back)
-Compatible with all LeapFrog Explorer cartridges and apps, and LeapPad1 learning apps
-Game cartridges retail for $24.99
-Apps in the LeapFrog App Center retail for $5 and up
-Recharger can be purchased as an accessory
-Limited 1 year warranty
-4 profiles customizable with wallpaper and photos
-Accessories that include gel skins, headphones, neoprene sleeves, backpacks, display cases, and recharger packs are available for additional purchase
Tablet arrives with 5 apps out of the box that include:
-LeapFrog songs (Punc, Punc, Punctuation, Sticky Icky Vowels, The Blends Rock, Hop, Hop, Hop, ABC)
-Cartoon Director - this app let's children create and star in their own cartoons
-Art Studio - using their finger on the touch screen or the attached stylus kids can free-draw or use stamps over a blank screen or photo
-Pet Pad - kids feed, wash and design their own virtual pets, while also practicing their upper and lowercase letter formation
-Plus the ability to download your choice of one free app through an internet connection from the LeapFrog App Center that may include Roly Poly2, LeapSchool Music, Ozzie & Mack eBook, or the Letter Factory Video
- LeapFrog App Center includes over 325 e-books, learning games, videos and music
-Read a full review of LeapFrog Ultra E-books featuring characters such as Disney Princesses, Cars characters, and Thomas & Friends
LeapPad1 vs. LeapPad2
Last year, the LeapPad1 was voted Toy of the Year in its inaugural season as a premier learning and educational tablet for kids ages 4-9. It provided a whole new experience for young children to use touch screens and tilt sensor technology, while playing creative educational games focused on science, math, and social studies. A video camera allows movies and still images to be taken on the device. Intuitive Ultra E-Books encourage reading and automatically adjust the print size, sentence structure and vocabulary, based on 3 different reading levels. The LeapFrog Ultra E-books feature familiar characters such as Disney Princesses, Disney Cars characters and Thomas & Friends, that also include mini-games and allow children earn badges and awards that help them unlock additional rewards when the device is connected to the computer.
The LeapPad2 integrates all of the same amazing features of the LeapPad1. The screen sizes are exactly same size, but the LeapPad2 device is slightly thicker. They both weigh 1 lb. However, the LeapPad2 now includes 2 video cameras, 1 in the front and another in the back. The processor within the LeapPad2 device is remarkably faster than the LeapPad1. Just like the LeapPad1, the LeapPad2 will also play any of the previous LeapFrog Explorer game cartridges and Ultra e-books, allowing families to invest in a variety of LeapFrog products without fear they will become obsolete and require replacement.
I have been using the LeapPad1 for over a year watching my son and various other children navigate the device. In general, though I felt that the LeapPad1 was slow in comparison to the touch screen smartphone and iPad devices we use as adults, the children never once commented on the slow transition speed between apps and the home screen. I am completely impressed with the increase in speed between the LeapPad1 and the LeapPad2. On the LeapPad1 I counted almost 10 seconds between transitions, while the LeapPad2 is about 6 seconds. I find the touch screen calibration much more accurate with the LeapPad2 and once touching the screen with the stylus or a finger, the device reacts immediately.
I have noticed that even though the LeapPad2 is the newest version, there are still many LeapPad1 devices available for purchase at bigger discounts and bundles. Apps purchased in the App center have a 3 device license. This means that the same app can be downloaded on up to 3 LeapFrog devices at any given time. So, if you were looking to save money, the LeapPad1 may be a better option for younger children who aren't aware of the speed, or kids who generally think or react slower than others. If you are looking for a faster reacting device, than definitely purchase the LeapPad2.
The content on these devices is amazing. The LeapPad2 has been downgraded in age to provide activities for 3 year-olds. My son just turned 3 and is very easily able to find his name on the first screen and sign in. He is not able to play some of the harder games, but he enjoys flipping the pages in the ultra e-books, listening to the music apps, washing and feeding his pet, as well as watching the downloaded videos. My only frustration at this point with the device at his age is that he see's it as another way sometimes to sneak in another video episode because our device has Team Umizoomi, Sesame Street, and Little Pim videos downloaded on it. Even at a young age, a 3-year-old is pretty easily able to carry, hold and navigate the simple features of the device.
My favorite app that is downloaded on our device is the Disney Animation Artist. By following step by step directions by drawing simple straight and curved lines, kids can chose a Disney character such as Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse to draw. When they are finished, though it is time consuming, the drawing will animate.
Oolder school aged children that I have let use the device gravitate directly towards the educational games. They like using the tilt sensor features and stylus to play various games to answer questions. They also enjoy taking pictures and videos. So I have no doubt that this is a device that my son will use completely differently as he gets older and once he is able understand the value of all the added features.
For any child, make sure you know their developmental level and interests when deciding whether to buy a learning tablet such as this one. The educational content in the cartridges is perfect for children at the developmental level of a 4-7 year old. Children within this age range are generally in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. However, for an older child in the 8-9 year old age level depending on their interests and skill level, definitely consider investing in a kid's tablet with parental controls that allows more popular content to be downloaded to the device.
As a mother, the best part about this tablet is that I never worry when I hand it over to my son to use. The only deal we need to make is how much time he will be allowed to use it before we turn it off. Unlike a smartphone or iPhone, I don't have to worry that he's accessing inappropriate movies or apps, as well as making unnecessary phone calls. The LeapPad2 easily fits in my purse and it's perfect for plane, train or car travel.