Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Leappad Review

We are now the proud owners of not 1, but 3 Leappad Explorers. Santa graciously got one for each child to minimize the arguing. I have to tell you that they are really worth the money. My kids love them and have been playing with them non-stop. With that being said, I thought I would post a list of pros and cons after having had them here a couple of weeks.


  • Apps means that there are no lost cartridges. You connect the Leappads to your computer via USB and then download the apps that the kids want. I was able to find the app cards buy 2 get 1 free right before Christmas, so I was able to get $60 of apps for $40. What that is equivalent to is 2 interactive books and 2 games.
  • Apps work on up to 2 Leappads! That's great if you have more than one. Let me tell you, though... if you have 3, you might just have to go and buy some apps a second time or else your kids will draw blood.
  • All Explorer cartridges work on them. I know some people who upgraded their Leapster Explorers to Leappads and are happy that they can use the same cartridges. Us, not so much, but it still is great that the systems that people bought a year ago don't go completely to waste. Plus, the games I got on clearance work on the Leappads.
  • There is a built in video and still camera. Katie likes this especially. She has taken soooo many pictures of things. I actually think it is funny to see what she has taken a picture of. There are parts of her day that I didn't even know happened and now I have a pictorial memory of it. For instance, Kate was supposed to be taking a nap, but instead she took pictures of her feet, her room, her toys, and the tea party she was pretending to have....
  • They come with a few built-in apps and then one of your choice. However, the one you choose has to come off of a short list and can only be put on that one Leappad. There were still some really fun options though, so it didn't really matter.
  • Batteries are very easy to replace compared to the older model Leapsters. You just use the stylus to pop off the cover and then pop out the batteries. Super easy... you don't even need to carry a screwdriver. That's going to be really nice for our upcoming plane trip in the summer.
  • There is a built in headphone jack!!! YAY!!!! No more needed to be said...
  • They run through batteries like CRAZY!!! Recently, I was sick and really not feeling well enough to do much of anything. My kids had a lazy day and spent the day playing computer games, watching TV, and playing their Leappads. By the end of the day, I had to replace the batteries twice in Katie's and once in the boys. We have decided that we are going to get the power cord so that if the kids are just sitting and playing, they can be plugged in instead of wasting the batteries. We are also looking into rechargeable batteries since that is what Leapfrog recommends.
  • We had communication issues between the third Leappad and the computer at first. We tried everything in the help files and then sent an email... they responded telling me to try the help files, even though I specified that I had already done that. I was able to figure it out eventually after trying to connect it to my Mac instead of the kids' computer. The Mac mentioned something about it having an IP address. Evidently, each one of these devices has a "fake" IP address that has to be specific to that Leappad. I went in and manually changed it (thanks to a help file on Leapfrog about IP addresses, which they did not tell me to check) and voila! got it connected. It was really irritating at first, but now it isn't an issue at all. I have a feeling that it wouldn't be an issue unless you owned more than one Leappad, but I don't know if I would have been able to figure it out unless my Mac gave me that random error.
  • The apps are expensive.... but I guess that they aren't as expensive as the cartridges. Just don't expect them to be as inexpensive as cell phone and tablet apps. The cheapest ones are $7.50 and are usually for games. The interactive books (which are really cool and VERY useful for us for reading comprehension), are a full $20. 
Overall, I highly recommend them. I also recommend getting the cases for them. The cases store the cartridges, an extra stylus (which comes with it), and offer padded protection for trips.  We are trying to teach our kids to be very responsible for them. In fact, the reason that we decided to get our boys these for Christmas instead of DSes is because they are horrible with their old Leapsters. They would often leave them in the car in extreme temperatures, drop them or throw them, step on them when they are on the floor and leave them around for little kids to destroy. We are trying to be strict with making sure that they put them away (and the cartridges) when they are done with them and to never ever put them on the floor. Since they each have their own, it is very easy to see whose is whose and who is not taking care of theirs. So far, so good. 

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