Leapfrog Leappad 2 Explorer Review

We already own the original LeapPad so when I was sent the LeapPad2 to review as part of my role as a ToysRUs Toyologist, I was interested to see what the differences were between that and the new LeapPad 2.  If you are new to LeapPad’s let me talk though the set-up process first.
The first thing you’re going to need is batteries – 4 x AA. These are not included in the box and my advice would be to invest in a set of good quality rechargeables as you’re going to need them.   What’s in the box?  You get the LeapPad2 with 4GB of memory, there are two built-in cameras and a video recorder, quick start guide and USB cable. There are also five applications included. These are the LeapFrog Learning Song App, Pet Writing App, Carton Creativity App, Art Studio App and you get to choose a Free App download out of a selection of five or so. You need to connect to download the Leapfrog Connect software before you can register, update and download these applications but this is easy to do and the LeapPad guides you through this.  If you already have a LeapFrog product then chances are you will already have used this software and you don’t need to do this again, it simply adds the new product to the account.
The immediate differences I noticed between the LeapPad2 and the older version was that you no longer need to use a penny to get the back cover off and the batteries are way easier to get in and out! I know, it’s the little things that please me though. Aside from that the size and design seem pretty much the same however there are now two cameras rather than just one with one on the front which provides hours of fun for my two small children and the resolution has been increased.  You don’t get a spare pen anymore however they have handily tied it to the side of the new LeapPad which means it no longer gets lost down the sofa.
One of the big stand out features of the new LeapPad2 is that it feels a lot faster (it has more memory and a faster processor) than the old one which at times felt a bit sluggish and slow to react when you compare it to other App-playing products on the market.
The big plus point for me is that all the Apps, whether they be games, videos, books etc all have an educational slant to them and these are listed so you if you wanted to help your child with phonics or spellings you can see what games would encourage these skills. 
I am a big fan of the LeapPad Connect software as it indulges the spy in me. The software tells you all about your child’s progress on each application, and which skills there are excelling at and where they need a little bit more help. You can set the level depending on your child’s age so if they’re excelling at everything, you can move them up a notch to a more difficult level.  There’s also plenty of choice of apps with a over 250 to choice from in the App store.
A great thing about LeapPads is that there are so intuitive and easy for children to operate. They have clear instructions and are designed so that children can work them independently.  The LeapPad2 seems quite robust too, although I’ve not dropped it to test that…! 
All-in-all the LeapPad2 is a good improvement on the original LeapPad. If you’re looking for a fun, interactive and educational toy for your child then you’d wouldn’t go far wrong with one of these!  
The LeapPad2 retails at £89.99 and is available from ToysRUs.
Review by Mrs M from At Home With Mrs M

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