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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

LeapFrog's LeapPad Explorer

I'm going to start off with a bang, this was one of the hottest toys this Christmas and it's easy to see why. My son (3 and a half) loves it and won't put it down!

This is a learning tablet recommended for users aged 4-9. In my experience a savvy 3 year old will do just fine with it as well. It comes with 4 apps and has built in memory for a multitude of eBooks, learning games, videos, etc.  Many games can be purchased in store or online as well at LeapFrog's app store where all of the software is available for purchase, 100+ learning adventures.
The retail price of the LeapPad is $100, however some online stores were selling it for close to $200 since it was in such high demand before Christmas!

The LeapPad has a touch screen which, in this era of tablets and smartphones, allows our kids to be "just like mommy and daddy" while learning and having fun with an age appropriate toy (I do NOT allow my kids to play with my iPad, iPod, or my smartphone). It also has volume control, an up/down/left/right button, and a Home and Power button on the device. The screen is 5" which is just the right size for a child's toy. It is bright and has great resolution. There are two included styluses for the screen and one tether, as well. It requires 4 AA batteries to run and they go fast. I do recommend getting an A/C adapter ($10) to save yourself some money down the road.

Getting Started & Apps
When I installed the batteries and turned it on it instructed me to connect to the computer to load my included apps, the setup process taking about 45 minutes or so. Then we were off and running! The LeapPad's included apps are: Story Studio - you can create a story about yourself; Art Studio - hours of fun creating pictures; Pet Pad - personalize a pet and then care for it; and finally an app of your choosing from the app store (however you have a rather limited selection, not all of the app store's apps are available to you...). It also has a built in camera and video recorder to provide hours of entertainment. These are low resolution but enough to serve their purpose.

The learning games, eBooks, and videos that we have downloaded so far have been great. They definitely all serve an educational purpose and are engaging and fun. The app store is really simple to use so I have no complaints there; the downloadable apps and games available for purchase are, however, quite expensive. That would be, so far, my only gripe about the product. I was happy to pay the $100 for the LeapPad but feel that paying a quarter of that for one game is a bit much. Luckily, some of the premium games can be found a bit cheaper on Amazon or on sale occasionally at Target. In the future I may review some of our favorites, but for right now the jury's still out on which those may be, we're just having fun experimenting with them all.

In Conclusion...
Overall, the LeapPad Explorer is a great value for your money and has provided my son with hours of educational entertainment. I hope this helps!

If you'd like to check out the LeapPad online, here is the link:  LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer


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