Sunday, 13 January 2013

Leappad Explorer 2 Review

I was sure I hit publish on this one but apparently not.

   Kyler's main gift at Christmas was the Leapfrog Leappad 2. We purchased just the tablet and asked family to buy extras for it. Most people didn't in fear of getting him the same thing but that leaves us with multiple gift ideas for his birthday too. Anyways, we have been on a couple of longer road trips since Kyler got the leappad and has been used quite a bit so I thought I would do a review.
   We purchased the Leappad from Best Buy during Black Friday week sales for $89.99 CAD (it's usually $109.99 CAD). The tablet comes with a 4GB memory, an attached stylus,  5" screen, headphone jack, USB port, power adapter, and 5 apps Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs, Art Studio, one app of your choice and Cartoon Director app, which lets you create, direct and narrate your very own movies. It requires 4AA batteries which are not included or there is the option to buy a rechargeable battery pack for $39.99 CAD. Depending on how often you are using the tablet I would suggest getting the battery pack. We did a trip to our local ski hill (1 hour trip one way) and a trip to Vancouver (4 hour trip one way) and we had to change the batteries part of the way home so I would say it was used for a total of 10 hours (including use down in Vancouver) before the batteries died. The battery life is really my only complaint with this device my only other slight complaint is that I wish they had more games and more affordable games (most games are in the $25 range however there are some apps from $5-$30).
Rechargeable Battery Pack
   Other than battery life and the lack of affordable apps I have nothing bad to say about this product. It is designed grow with your child so is good for a child ages 3-9, starts up quickly, age appropriate apps, has 2 cameras for taking pictures, and is motion and sound sensitive.
   Kyler is 2.5 years old and knows how to navigate the tablet with very little help. Anytime we get a new app we have to teach him how it works otherwise he knows how to turn it on, sign into his profile, and select and play his apps. He loves the painting app, the pet shop game, the story book reader, taking picture, Hampster Music, and his Chuggington Videos. The apps that we have downloaded are geared for his age group but there are more challenging apps for older kids as well. As your child gets more involved in the games they can earn badges which tracks their progress. When plugged into a computer parents can then track this progress and see how well their children are doing.
   Speaking of apps I like that the recommended age for the apps is correct. I find a lot of times that when something give a suggested age group it is usually geared to the older age group than the younger age group. Most of the younger kid apps are geared for ages 3-5. Kyler is 2.5 and loves all of his apps and knows how to use them but his older cousin who is 4.5 also likes all the games that are on the Leappad. So the suggested age ranges are actually correct which is nice, you don't have to worry if the app is going to be appropriate for your child.
   Another one of my favorite things I like about the Leappad is that it starts up really quickly so Kyler doesn't grow impatient with it loading. We are still working on patients with Kyler to a timely start up is important to keep his attention.
   One of Kyler's favorite features is the cameras. It has a front and back camera which take both video and pictures. Kyler like that he doesn't have to ask us to use our camera, that he can just grab his "puter" and can take his on pictures. He loves running around the house and taking pictures of EVERYTHING. For being a toy the camera does take pretty good photos and Kyler loves showing off his pictures to grandparents.
   Lastly another neat feature to the Leappad 2 is that it is motion and sound sensitive. There are racing games that involve you moving the tablet in certain directions in order to steer the vehicle. They also have games like Pet Shop where you have to take care of your pet. One thing you have to do is wash your pet which includes drying your pet. To dry your pet you have to blow into the microphone in order to activate the hairdryer. Kyler loves washing his "pet."
   All in all we love our leappad 2 and so does Kyler. It kept us sane on our road trips because instead of having to bring multiple items Kyler was able to read stories, watch videos, play games, color, and take pictures all in one. We didn't have to constantly keep changing out DVD's in the portable dvd player or find all the dropped crayons when he was done coloring it was all packed into this one device. It captures Kyler's attention and gives him hours of entertainment. I would give this product a 9/10 only because of it's low battery life.

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