Note: In August 2012, LeapFrog updated the LeapPad with the LeapPad2. Read my review here.
Tired of handing over your tablet or iPad to your preschooler? The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet might be your solution. Designed for kids ages 4-9 (although that range is definitely subjective), the durable tablet offers a host of things for your little one to do, including take pictures (still and moving), watch videos, read eBooks, play fun and educational games, download apps and more. LeapFrog has said that more apps and content will be added in the future for the tablet, which was introduced in August of 2011.
Features of the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet
- 5" display
- Touch screen
- Over 100 games and apps currently available/li>
- Built-in camera, video recorder and microphone
- Available in pink or green
- Access to the LeapFrog Learning Path
- Uses rechargeable batteries
- 2GB memory
- The suggested retail price is $99.99
- The LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet is geared at kids ages 4-9.
LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet Overview
Take the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet out of the box and you'll be immediately impressed. It has a beautiful 5-inch touch screen and unlike other fragile tablets, this one feels and looks sturdy -- rugged enough to take whatever it is your preschooler decides to dish out.
Usage wise, the tablet offers a lot. While there are games and apps available for purchase (there is no wireless on the unit, you need to tether it to a PC or a Mac), the LeapPad comes with plenty built-in, including an art studio, the Disney Animation Studio and an app where kids can create their own stories and personalize them with photos. Also, if you've already purchased a LeapFrog product like the handheld Leapster Explorer (compare prices), you'll be happy to know that those cartridges are compatible. There are no third-party apps (sorry, no Angry Birds!).
The tablet is easy to operate. Kids can use their fingers on the touch screen or the included stylist. Pages on a book can be turned and shaking the unit also elicits a response. Games automatically respond to the child's age and skill level.
There is so much that I liked about the LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet -- the idea of itself as well as how nicely it is executed. It offers kids a chance to use the technology that is out there -- digital cameras, readers, access to apps and more -- but on their own, appropriate level. Smart and thoughtful, the educational games will keep them entertained and learning while giving them the opportunity to explore in a safe and controlled environment.
The durability of the unit is a big plus. Obviously you don't want to throw it into water, but it can definitely withstand a drop. Also great? Two styluses are included -- I automatically put one in a "safe spot" so we can access it quickly if we need to.
The overall intuitiveness of the unit is really impressive. This is an important when you are dealing with youngsters and both end of the technology spectrum -- kids that are used to playing with their parent's smart phones and tablets and those who aren't familiar with these types of devices. The games follow suit, they automatically increase in difficulty as your child masters a level. You can follow along with your child's progress thanks to the LeapFrog Learning Path, a system that keeps you updated on what your child's scores are on the different games they play.
The learning is all-encompassing too. If your child wants to know what a word is, they can touch it. A picture will appear as well as the entry from the visual dictionary.
Honestly? Not much. No Wi-Fi which means you have to connect the unit to your home computer. Buying apps can get expensive, but if you already have a LeapFrog Explorer, you'll have plenty to choose from, not to mention that there is a lot already built in. If your child is used to using a "grown-up" tablet, they may feel like the LeapFrog is slow in comparison (and it is) but it's quick enough. Be sure to have plenty of batteries on hand. The tablet uses 4 AA batteries and if they play with it often enough, they will go through them quickly. The upside is that rechargeable batteries can be used.