For someone who has never purchased a LeapPad before i truly believe it is a great product, especially for those kids who are interested in technology, like my 4 year old son who nevers gives my phone back. I brought the new LeapPad 2 from a local shop, as it was sold out from amazon, for my son as a birthday present. As he just turned four and would be starting reception i thought this would make a nice present for him to play with and learn something at the same time.
The LeapPad 2 itself comes in a box which you have to rip open as its glued down all sides, not so much of a big deal really, but it would have been nice to have been able to set it up with apps and repack it as a present. Upon opening it there is the LeapPad itself a small USB wire to conenct to the computer and some leaflet and that pretty much was it. Batteries are required to run it or for just under a tenner you can get a adapter or even better the much sought after recharger pack which inc specially made batteries with charger at £15 from amazon, but they are sold out and cost double the price direct from Leapfrog, if you are going to buy this product it makes sense to purchase the recharger pack too ! The product literally took me 5 minutes to set up, im not kidding, just make sure you have setup a profile on the pad for the child first before connecting to the computer. To get setup simply visit the leap pad website mentioned on the leaflet and download the software and plug in the pad when instructed and fill in some personal details and then let the update do the rest. It really was that simple, which i was quite surprised about. You also fill in your email details and can access reports to see progress and how the child has been doing which is a really nice touch.
The product when you hold it feels like its of good quality, sturdy and has some weight to it as you expect. Its got a stylus already attatched to it with a string in the same colour (green in this case) and has a camera at the back and front which is a real nice feature. The front is more of a matt green finish and the back is plain white but with a shiny finish with dots embedded into the plastic. The buttons are all on the front, powere on/off is the same button at the top left and a volume up and down button each on the right, the d pad at the bottom (the middle circle part of the d pad is not a button)and there is a home key at the bottome too. The microphone is on the left hand side and next to this is also where you can plug in the adapter too (purchased seperatley). The headphones socket i believe is at the top (sorry cant remember) you can purchase these seperatley but i didnt bother with them right now. The screen is nice and bright and the touch sensitivty is good but definitley not as responsive as my Galaxy S3 for example, i noticed my son had to press quite firmly for it to respond and i feel this is partly due to the fact that he was used to the sensitivty of my S3 that he expected it to pick up very light touches but he is used to it now and does not experience this problem anymore. It has a tilt function which is fun and is used to move stuff around with games and apps, this seems responsive as expected. You will find most apps require you to hold the pad landscape, which he manages to do with one hand while holding the stylus in the other. Oh and you can also blow into the microphone when neccessary and this works but be aware that you need to blow into the mic which is not at the screen, but depending on how you are holding the pad, this tends to be on top if held landscape. Overall the build looks really smart and made for kids, it doesnt seem cheap and i am very happy with how it looks.
Apps wise this is what made me purchase this instead of the Innotab2 which again similar as in what it has to offer but LeapPad 2 wins hands down with the amount of software available for it. This is compatible with all leap pad/explorer/leapster games which is great for people who have previous software, just make sure you doucble check it says leappad compatible and you should be good to go. On the LeapPad appstore the games are full price, you can get them much cheaper online for example i brought Toy Story 3 for 12.97 when RRP is 20.00. You also find offers on instore like buy one get one 1/2 price as well now and then, does deserve to shop around. The actual content on the pad itself is enough to entertain for a while but you only get to choose one free app from a selected few and then there is a creatvitiy app and pet app to name a few, these apps are rally good and if you google free apps for LeapPad you can get a couple for free ! The apps on the store are growing all the time, they vary in price from a few pounds to £20. There are different types from ultra e books to songs and videos. It would have been nice to have the ability to add your own videos and music (mp3 should be added in the near future from what i remember on the leappad forums). My son found the pet app the best as he really enjoyed the idea of looking after a pet, you end up washing him, feeding him and learning to write letters with him. The child earns stars which can be rewarded with ingame items when connected to the LeapPad.
Sorry if im boring you with so much details, i dont noramlly write reviews but i thought that this product deserved it. Overall he is still very happy with the product and enjoys playing with it which is a good sign, i will update the review if there is anythign else i can think of adding later on.
Thanks for reading !
*** UPDATE *** 24/08/12 Last night i noticed a update for the pad which now means that you can add your own mp3 files to the pad, it does cost £3.50 to do so but its a one off cost so i think its worth it, would have been better if it was free tho !
*** UPDATE *** 30/08/12 Just a heads up really about the recharger pack i ordered from Amazon, they are currently advertising a 3-5 week wait and its taken exactly three weeks before dispatch, thought i would give you guys idea on timescale based on my order. Here is the link but you will need to go to buying options to select Amazon for 14.99 at time of writing LeapFrog LeapPad Recharger Pack
Also some helpful information i have found out, the pad is left handed friendly. By that you can choose to move the stylus attatchment from the right to the bottom so it works well if your child is left handed, also for some apps i have noticed that it offers you the option to select left handed and then flips the screen so the writing is on the left for example. Thought that was a really nice feature for those who need it.
Another app that my son did not use as much til now is a creative story maker, this is a free app and is really funny actually. You get to create a story and use your own voice and faces on preset characters, there is alot of options and it does seem a little complex but with some help my four year old son was soon able to create some really good stories on his own, He was very proud when he was showing them to me of what he had done, all in all he is still very happy with the pad and he is not bored of it yet which was something i was worried about initally.
***UPDATE*** 11/09/12 Ok so its been a month since i purchased the pad now, few things to point out that may be of interest. The price of the recharger pack has gone up to 24.99, i was initally surprised at 14.99 price mark earlier especially if the charger itself is retailing at 10.00, another accessory that is a must buy is the Leappad 2 gel skin for 2.00, yes you read that right, well currently it is unless they increase that up as well. But you cant go wrong with this especially at this priceLeapFrog LeapPad Explorer Tablet Gel Skin (Green)
***UPDATE*** 24/10/12 Thanks for all the comments and helpful votes. Jus wanted to add that when purchasing this product please also purchase a protective screen sticker and also if you can (because you will) add a replacement stylus as you only get one and with kids being kids they either chew or break it especially if there is more than one child sharing ! Also the official leappad recharge kit is proving very worthwhile as it lasts a long time without charge. It lights up the on button to a yellow and then when charged the colour goes away. I have since also increased the age setting to make it more challenging and it feels like the software is brand new again, as for example there are new shapes and sounds that make it feel different and avoids the repititiveness of the software. All in all still chuffed and the price is coming down to just under £70 which is great, hopefully even less as xmas is around the corner ! These will be in demand as they were hard to get hold of when first released, also sorry for any spelling mistakes have done all this via my mobile.
***UPDATE*** 19/11/12 Something i had to mention that i encountered today, i noticed that the touch screen was not working at all today and i tried all i could and it definitley was not damaged or broken. I googled for ages til i came across a feature with the Leappad software on my laptop that i had pre installed at the start, there is a feature from settings that you can select repair and it fixes any issues without deleting any personal data or if need be you can opt for a full reinstall which does delete data if you ever needed to. This took a while, 10m approx, and now its working absolutley fine. So if in doubt if you have any issues with it not functioning like normal then please give this a go as it worked for me, i was about to call up Leapfrog about it and am relieved to find this function to say the least as i was having a little panic attack thinking my son had broken it.
A massive thanks again for comments and all the positive likes that you have all given, if you do have any questions then please let me know in the comments and i will get back to you.