As soon as the kids opened their box from Toys R Us, I knew Wee Z would go straight for the LeapPad2. He loves playing games on our mobile phones and had seen the LeapPad2 on display on a recent trip to Toys R Us and decided he wanted one from Santa.
What is the LeapPad2? Basically it is a touch-screen console for toddlers and this is the updated version of the LeapPad1 that came out last year. The difference between them – 4GB of memory, more apps and a faster processing speed. It’s suitable from ages 3+ and it encourages children to learn whilst playing with interactive games and ebooks. You can play with just your hands or you can use the stylus pen which is attached to the LeapPad 2…handy so it doesn’t get lost! The screen is a good size and it comes in 2 colours: pink or green.
What does the LeapPad2 come with? It doesn’t come with any cartridge games, which is a tad disappointing however it does come with pre-installed apps and, when you connect the LeapPad2 to your computer with its very own USB device, you can download a game, an e-book or a video (there is about 6 to choose from) to the console to play for free from the LEAPFROG Connect site.
There is a good selection of apps – Wee Z immediately found the one for practising tracing his letters and spent a good 10 minutes completing each letter. There is also an art studio so you can draw and save your creations, a music centre with some very catchy music and an app to create your own cartoons. Miss C’s favourite was Pet Pad where she could choose her own pet and give him a bath and his dinner. There is also a built-in front and back camera (2 mega pixels) with video recording.
From sneak-peeking at some of the games, it looks like they are all age appropriate and educational, so I know the kids will be learning whilst they play.
Are there any drawbacks to the LeapPad2? It likes to eat batteries! It doesn’t come with batteries and requires 4 AA batteries. We put some good ones in and within 2 hours, they were done. Luckily for us, we have an adaptor so we can plug the LeapPad2 in. I’d definitely recommend investing in either rechargeable batteries or an adapter to use with the LeapPad2.
Is it value for money? When I look at other consoles similar to the LeapPad2 then I’d say the price is probably quite reasonable. Wee Z wanted a Nintendo DS for his Christmas until he saw the LeapPad2 and I definitely think the LeapPad2 is much more age appropriate for Wee Z right now. He is 5. It’s also much more child-friendly than say, an iPad, as it’s more robust to being flung around by Miss C. With over 225 cartridges, games and e-books planned for release by the end of the year, there will be plenty of choice for the kids!
Would we recommend the LeapPad2 to friends? Yes, definitely! We’ve always been VTech buyers here but after playing with the LeapPad2, I’d say we’d definitely convert. Apart from the battery consumptions and the lack of a cartridge game included with the LeapPad2, the kids have loved playing with the console and I think it’s a great console for those children who aren’t at an age where they are ready for the likes of Nintendo DS, Xbox360 or Playstation to still be able to play games on a console.
We give it a big 9.5/10