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1,624 of 1,662 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon October 22, 2012
If you want a child-friendly tablet-style device, this is the best one on the market as of October 2012. But you have to understand what you're getting and why this is desirable. There are a lot of positive reviews that are a bit inflated, and many negative reviews that are simply unfair in their expectations. Here's my realistic parent-friendly review...

First, the LeapPad is more rugged and more child-friendly compared to an iPad, iPod, or Android tablet. I know parents who prefer to let their kids play apps on those more sophisticated devices, but if you go that route, you're taking a risk with a more expensive and more fragile device. You're also opening up a potential can of worms since those devices usually include unrestricted access to the internet (which may expose your child to inappropriate material or allow him/her to accidentally make purchases, etc.). The LeapPad's more durable casing allows young children to hold and carry it with less likelihood of damage. Since it has a fairly wide bezel all the way around the screen, it also offers space for a child to rest his/her palm when writing with the stylus, with fewer "false taps" that can occur when their palm or fingers touch the screen instead of the stylus. And, of course, since it is not wireless-connectivity enabled, you don't have to worry about your child stumbling across objectionable content or making accidental purchases. You control the content on the device by syncing to your computer and deciding what to install (the sync cable is included, and plugs into a standard USB slot on your computer).

Second, the LeapPad is much more responsive than any of the other child tablets we've tested. We bought our 2.5-year-old daughter a FisherPrice iXL, which was cheaper and came with 6 very basic apps that we thought would be plenty sufficient. However, after a few weeks, she was still struggling to learn how to use the apps due to noticeable lag/unresponsiveness during screen taps. The inconsistent results when she interacted with the screen made it hard for her to learn the interface. Sometimes tapping an icon would do what she wanted, but often, multiple taps would not produce the desired effect. Often, she had to ask "Daddy can you help me draw?" or "Daddy can you help me play music?" in order to access or use a program. When she tried a friend's LeapPad1, however, it was noticeably more responsive, allowing her to understand the interface MUCH better. When we purchased a LeapPad2 we were delighted to find that it's even snappier than the LeapPad1. Within a few hours, our daughter had mastered how to access all of the applications and she also understood about 50 - 60% of the more advanced functions within each program (such as choosing the small, medium, or large eraser in the Art Studio drawing program). I'm certain she learned it so quickly because the screen and stylus respond faster and more consistently (about 95% of all taps register correctly, even in the hands of our 2.5-year old).

Third, the LeapPad has a decent array of basic apps/features already included. When you unbox it, you'll need to install four AA batteries, create a new "profile" for your child, then connect to an Internet-connected computer to load on some of the apps and register the device. The applications included are:
1. CARTRIDGE: which accesses the content on a cartridge, which must be purchased separately
2. PETPAD: allows you to customize the type, color, and features of a small electronic pet, who can then be fed, bathed, or used to learn how to draw upper- and lower-case letters.
3. CAMERA: allows you to use the front- or rear-facing lenses to capture photos or videos of decent quality under ideal lighting conditions (decent enough to delight a young child, that is).
4. MYSTUFF: a consolidated inventory of MyPhotos, MyArt, MyVideos, and MyStories, all of which are created in other apps.
5. MYBOOKS: a bookshelf-style interface that links to eBooks which must be purchased separately
6. MUSIC: a jukebox-style interface that includes one album with five songs about topics like punctuation, vowels, the alphabet, etc.
7. SNEAKPEEKS: a link to various advertisements for add-on content including downloadable and cartridge-style eBooks, games, etc. (Some parents may feel annoyed to have a link to advertisements at all, but I appreciate that they've been confined to an app you must click on to launch. Thankfully, the ads are NOT displayed elsewhere on the device and do NOT intrude upon the functionality or appearance of other apps.)
8. ARTSTUDIO: a simple but decently-featured drawing program much like the basic Paint program on most computers.
9. CREATIVITY: allows you to make short 3-, 4-, or 5-section animated cartoons that include your own photos and voice if desired (this is the most complex app, but plenty accessible for children 4 and older, or with adult assistance).
10. One FREE APP of your choosing from a list of three provided when you sync and register the device. The three options were a game, an eBook, or a video. I had assumed there would already be eBooks on the device, so I chose the free video (a 38-minute tour of the "Letter Factory" that teaches the sounds each letter of the alphabet makes). Had I known the MYBOOKS app would not include an eBook, I would've selected the eBook instead.

Certainly, the LeapPad is a larger investment up front ($99) than many other similar kid-friendly electronics; however, I was pleased to find that the add-ons are lower in price that many competitors. For example, the add-ons for the FisherPrice iXL averaged $25 per title. Although each title included 6 features, the main lure was the eBook and the rest were mainly re-skinned options with very little added content for the built-in programs. That's exactly why we never bought any add-ons for the iXL. With the LeapPad, however, I was delighted to learn that you can buy an eBook alone for approximately $5 - $7.50. So we can buy our daughter three nice eBooks for the price of one add-on title for her FisherPrice iXL. There are also other apps, such as a story creator that allows you to use your own photos and voice to create your own stories, for $20 or less. Although the costs could add up quickly, keep in mind that for a young child like ours, you won't need to buy ANY additional content to keep him/her occupied for many dozens (probably hundreds) of hours. The included apps--especially the PETPAD, ARTSTUDIO, and CAMERA--will keep a lot of three year olds happy for a LONG time. Our daughter spent three hours just walking around the house snapping photos and giggling.

Fourth, the LeapPad interface is very child friendly. The physical buttons are minimalist and positioned well out of the way. They include a POWER button for turning the device on/off, an INCREASE and a DECREASE button for controlling the volume, a four-way NAVIGATION button (presumably for games or navigating menus, but we haven't had to use it at all yet), and a HOME button for returning to the main page. The buttons are sufficiently recessed or placed so that accidental button-presses are very rare. This is important because few things are more frustrating for a child than having their e-activity interrupted because they leaned on a button that returned them to the home screen, or some other such issue. Instead, most of the buttons they'll actually use are on-screen and controlled with the stylus. There are very few redundant buttons (some apps have a virtual home button, despite the device already having a physical button for that purpose) and many response options are standardized (to "accept" an option is always a green checkmark, and to "reject" or "close" an option is always a red X). This is good because it minimizes confusion related to the interface, and it also shows that Leap Frog has invested a lot of care and thought in the design of the apps. The LeapPad also has a built-in gyro to reorient the screen as you tilt/turn the device, as well as to play certain motion-sensitive games.

Fifth, the LeapPad has a very large (2.5"W x 4.5"L), bright, colorful screen. The one major shortcoming here is that it really isn't very suitable for use outdoors in bright sunlight, which washes it out so badly it can't really be used. If you're in shade or normal room-level brightness, however, it is very clear and colorful. Although it is not incredibly high resolution or high contrast, it is definitely crisp enough to provide a very pleasant user experience. Shapes, animations, and videos all render very clearly, without annoying jagged lines or pixelation. Watching the letter factory video we installed for free, there was a slightly muted color cast, much like streaming a video at mid-resolution on Netflix, but the animation was still very colorful and impressively smooth. I don't know if the slight lack of crispness was due to the limitations of the screen or the quality of the video file, but either way it did not detract from the viewing experience.

Sixth, the sound is quite good. Since the front-mounted speaker is aimed directly at the user, the lowest volume setting is still quite audible without being likely to annoy others nearby (It could be fairly described as "airplane friendly" even without the use of headphones!) At the highest volume level, it projects sound well enough to fill a small room, which is great if your child likes to turn on music for a "dance party" with friends or family. There are eight steps in the volume besides mute, so finding an appropriate sound level should not be a problem. One of my greatest complaints about children's electronic toys is usually the lack of sound control, but not so here. Well done Leap Frog!

DOWNSIDES? There are few things to complain about here because, compared to other toys in the $99 range, I suspect this will be one of the best investments (in "dollars per hour of enjoyment") you can make, and it should prove modestly educational as well. However, here are the shortcomings most likely to annoy parents...

1. No batteries or included charger. Right out of the box, you'll need four AA batteries. You can expect about 10 hours of use out of a set of batteries (my estimate based on actual use), which is certainly respectable; however, that will go quicker than you think if your child uses the device often. It would be nice if Leap Frog included rechargeable batteries and a charging cable, which would've made this a killer value. As it stands, you'll have to purchase those separately--and I definitely recommend doing so.

2. No included eBooks. Given Leap Frog's reputation and marketing as an education-centered company, I really think the LeapPad ought to include one or two eBooks, which would further justify the $99 price tag, but also send a powerful message about the importance of reading (a message getting increasingly lost in our digital-tool obsessed society, which includes people likely to buy this kind of device). It's sad how many kids' parents don't read to them consistently, but Leap Frog could at least make sure those kids have one or two books that they can have this device read to them. I'm a college professor and I will tell you, hands down, there is no more cognitively beneficial experience in early childhood than to be read aloud to by, and to read with, parents (or some other guide) as often as possible.

3. On-device advertisements. As I noted above, I respect Leap Frog for at least confining the included advertisements to an app that must be launched in order to view the ads. That is infinitely more preferable than having ads that intrude onto the rest of the user experience. So I'm fine with this, even though I know my daughter will watch the ads on her own and then ask me to purchase some of the add-ons. (If she asks for eBooks, I'll probably say yes.) Nonetheless, I mention it as a negative here because I know many parents will wish that no advertisements appeared anywhere on the device. They will also be frustrated to learn that a very few features (in particular, the "treats" and "supplies" for the virtual pet in the PETPAD app) are designed to run out so that you need to sync to the computer to replenish them. I suspect this allows Leap Frog to update the advertisements and to retrieve usage statistics about the device. Again, I realize this could be annoying, but I am grateful that it is not entirely mandatory. If you do NOT sync to a computer, the apps all remain usable, and about once every three days, some of the pet supplies will naturally reappear. However, if your daughter is dead set on having a strawberry to feed to her virtual dragon-dog-sheep pet, you should expect to be asked repeatedly until you sync to the computer to replenish the supplies sooner. :)

[4. Some add-ons, such as the Ultra-eBooks we've tried, are high in production value, but designed in a way that seriously detracts from their educational benefits. See my review of the "Ultra eBook Learn to Read Collection: Fairy Tales" for a detailed explanation that wouldn't fit here. --ADDED 10/29/2012.]

All in all, the LeapPad2 is an outstanding device for its intended niche. More affordable, more durable, and more child-friendly than more sophisticated Apple or Android tablets, considerably more responsive and enjoyable than competing kid tablets, and richly featured enough to provide a tremendous amount of entertainment and education for the cost.

A final word of CAUTION: As someone who has taught college for over a decade and is extremely well read on the cultural and cognitive impact of digital technology, let me warn parents that, despite what they've undoubtedly been told by marketers and educators, it is NOT healthy to allow too frequent use of digital screen devices. Mountains of data show that frequent use of screen-equipped devices like the LeapPad (phones, iPods, computers, etc.) has a very detrimental impact on concentration, memory, precision of thought, patience, and other vital aspects of intellectual growth. In fact, the average teenager of the digital generation is likely to experience withdrawal-like symptoms (akin to substance abusers!) when denied access to some kind of screen for more than 20 minutes! Let your child enjoy the LeapPad, but do NOT let it become a replacement for a LOT of other, traditional developmentally-vital activities, including a LOT of traditional book reading, outdoor play, socialization events, engaging conversations with older peers (including parents), slow-paced board and strategy games, and even an occasional long, boring car ride on vacation. (Yes, I know screens are the easiest way to keep a child quiet and content on a long trip, but allowing them to get bored and be forced to entertain themselves in other, imaginative ways--without the quick fix of a screen to distract them--is immensely important to their cognitive development, especially their capacity to concentrate for prolonged periods, which is a vital ability for most successful people.) I don't mean to seem preachy at the end of my (very positive) review of the screen-equipped LeapPad2; however, an astonishing majority of parents are disturbingly uninformed about how detrimental constant, repeated exposure to digital screens can be. It's not that digital screens are evil; it's that they literally train the brain to follow shorter and shorter attention cycles, as well as to depend on lights, color, sounds, and other superficially stimulating cues. This needs to be offset with at least as many hours spent on quiet reading, which is still the only known way to effectively improve the brain's ability to recognize the subtle nuances of different arguments and perspectives, to develop one's own line of reasoning, to concentrate for an extended period of time, and other indispensable elements of advanced reasoning.
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1,017 of 1,048 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
We gave the original leappad to my 4yo daughter last Christmas. She absolutely loved it. In fact she loved it a little too much, as it started to interfere with bedtime. Unfortunately I accidentally left her leappad on an airplane. She was crushed.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I saw the announcement for the leappad2 and thought this might be a way to make up for my mistake. We preordered from Amazon, and it arrived today. If you have the original leappad, here are some differences that I noticed:

* I couldn't open the box without tearing/cutting it. Leapfrog seems to have glued down every flap. I was hoping to open it, download the apps, configure it, and repackage it so i could wrap it up as a present. But that wasn't possible without damaging the box.

* It is definitely faster/snappier. The upgraded CPU is a noticeable improvement.

* The battery covers are significantly improved. With the old one, you could use the stylus to pop off the covers. The new ones snap firmly into place. There's no way my daughter will be able to remove these...

* Just like the original, you get to pick one app. But I'm pretty sure the app selection has changed. The choices now are roly poly picnic, hamster music, a leapfrog video, or an ebook.

* Unlike the original leappad, The package only comes with one stylus, which is already connected to the leappad with the included string.

* Leapfrog appears to have added a new connector for the stylus string below the stylus slot. This should help children who are lefties. (like my daughter)

That's all I can think of for now. I'll update this review as my daughter plays with it. I am certain she is going to love the front camera.

PS - I am just an average person that actually paid for this. I'm not some professional mommy-blogger that got a free 'sample' in exchange for writing a glowing review. All of these reviews that predate 8/1/2012 seem a little contrived, don't you think?

EDIT #1 (8/3/2012) - Within the leappad connect app, I could install all apps that I PURCHASED for our original leappad on to the new one. It would not allow me to install the free, selectable app that came with the purchase of the original leappad.

EDIT #2 (8/5/2012) - If you search the internet you can find two codes for two free apps, "Alphabet Soup", and "The Book of Super Awesome Stuff." I had previously downloaded these apps to our first (lost) leappad. Leappad Connect would not allow me to install these on the new Leappad 2. Not sure why. I am going to open a support ticket with Leap Frog. I've already had an open ticket regarding the lost leappad, so this might be related to that. I guess what I'm saying is that this might not be a problem for others...

EDIT #3 (8/8/2012) - One of my daughter's favorite apps is the Music app. There are 5 songs that are preloaded. She plays them all the time. She loves music, so I can't wait for the official MP3 upgrade thats supposed to come out this fall. I hope Leapfrog will not overcharge for it...

Speaking of overcharging... I was in Target the other day and was surprised to see two "Recharger Packs" for the Leappad 2 on sale. They were $40 each. $40!!! Come on Leapfrog! $30 is at the high-end of what I will pay for a battery. Replacement laptop batteries are cheaper than this. They should be more like $20. It's antics like this that will drive loyal customers to the flood of cheap android devices that will be coming in the next several months...

EDIT #4 (8/17/2012) - This is my last edit. My daughter LOVES the new creativity app. Basically it lets you create animated stories. You get to pick the background, props, and characters. From there you can add movement and action, and a dialog. You can use the camera to replace the face of the characters with a photo. I was impressed. I've also seen that many of the apps are lefty friendly, meaning it will allow you to turn the leappad over so the string isn't stretched when using the left hand. I'm happy with the purchase, and my daughter is happy too.

I have little doubt these will be a hot item this Christmas. If you are thinking you want to get this for your child, don't wait. Otherwise the scalpers will be your only option. (That, or waiting until after Christmas.
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517 of 550 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: GreenVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I was really excited to receive the new LeapPad2 because I saw the recommended age changed for 4-9 years to 3-9 years. My son just turned 3.

Firstly, we own the original LeapPad, which was a huge disappointment. My main complaint was how slow it was. The LeapPad2, I'm happy to report, is much quicker! Not as quick as an iPad, but quicker than the original version. Setting both side by side the LeapPad2 reaches the main screen and loads games much quicker. Also, the resolution on the LeapPad2 is significantly clearer than the original.

Right out of the box I had to add 4 AA batteries (not included) and connect to a computer for setup; all easy enough. I was able to download some new apps for my son and gave it to him to play with the next morning.

The included stylus is easy for him to use, but he still prefers to use his finger. I imagine he'll want to use the stylus more as he gets older. I like that the games are educational and challenging. At the moment he's obsessed with Jewel Train; trying to connect the tracks so the train can make it to the station. He also likes to trace the alphabets in PetPad, and "read" his Thomas Ultrabook.

The original LeapPad used the stylus to click open the battery compartment. LeapPad2 just has sliding compartments. My son can't open it, so that's a plus. Also, the new way helps him hold the LeapPad better because it creates a raised backing for his hands.

The original LeapPad came with two styluses, LeapPad2 only one. LeapPad2 has an optional rope loop on the bottom for lefties. My 3 year old is a righty, but my 16 month old is leaning towards a leftie; since they'll have to share this it's good to have the option.

The front and back camera is a nice touch. My son isn't into using it yet, but I love that when he is, he can click away on his LeapPad2 and have fun.

As a parent I like LeapFrog's Learning Path. When you plug in your child's device on your computer it will tell you what games your child has played, how long they have played them, and how successful they were. It's a nice touch.

My only problem at the moment is that not all of our games are showing. All of the games I purchased are there, but the games that automatically come with the LeapPad2 are not (any advice?). For instance, we should have Roly Poly Picnic. I saw it before I added my son's account to the device, and now it's not there. We have plenty of memory space, so I don't know where it went or how to get it back without paying for it. Also, I think the MP3 Player app should be included, and not have to pay an additional $3.75 for it. One thing to know, is when you buy this device, don't expect a user manual, it doesn't come with one.

- I wish the LeapPad2 had an internal rechargeable battery.
- I wish it came with the required 4 AA batteries.
- I wish it came with a wall charger.
- I wish it came with 2 stylus' in case we loose/break one.
- I wish it had rubber around the sides for less chance of slipping out of a child's hand (though you can purchase a Gel Skin for it).
- I wish the apps were cheaper.
AND...
- I wish I had a case.

Overall this is a great educational product for little kids and keeps my son off my iPad. Really love it and recommend it. Certainly something my sons will grow with. I'm giving it 4 stars out of 5 because I'm always going to wish it would respond quicker when starting and loading, and the apps were cheaper. My son would give it 5 billion stars because he likes it so much.

And just so you wont have to search for these, here are two FREE app codes:

The Book of Super Awesome Stuff (e-book): 5813 1140 1518 1413
Alphabet Stew (game): 5813 0790 4610 4973
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The manufacturer commented on the review below
255 of 270 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 2012
This is a nice toy, and they've made some improvements since LeapPad 1. The front and back camera option is especially nice. I was very excited to see that this bundle came with a Disney theme. But now that I've gone through setting it up and testing it out, I'm really not that impressed. With it's price tag being what it is ... in hindsight I wish I'd just bought a regular tablet for my daughter - like the Kindle fire.

First, a note ...

STICKERS: Like someone else mentioned, I also thought the stickers were missing and was disappointed. THE STICKERS ARE THERE! Just as I was taking all the packaging out to the recycling bin, I found them. MAN! They are hidden WELL, but they're there. There are two problems. First, the sticker "sheets" are probably much smaller than what you think you're looking for (they're only about 2"x3"-ish), and second ... they're HIDDEN! They're inside one of the many, many folded cardboard compartments and sealed up with tape. Honestly, it's a terrible place to put them - I'll bet half of parents will throw them away not knowing where to find them. But if you read this -- keep looking! They're there.

Now, some issues ...

1) TOUCH SCREEN: It's not all that receptive/reactive to touch. You're better off using the stylus, but for the younger crowd, that could get a little frustrating. I was buying this for the touch-screen aspect, so this is disappointing.

2) THE CASE: Yes, the case could use a redesign. It's CUTE, but ... there's no strap or elastic for the pad, so when this thing is unzipped by little hands, the LeapPad is undoubtedly going to fall out. The other side of the case is designed for a spare stylus and cartridges. If you, like me, are going to download the apps from the app store and have no intention of using cartridges, this will be useless for you. I'd rather they included a place for headphones. Also, if you have a younger child (3), note ... the case is not super easy to zip/unzip. It's not impossible, but ... the stiff zipper might be a little tricky for tiny hands.

3) BE PREPARED - THE APPS ARE EXPENSIVE: If you're expecting $1.99 apps (like on iTunes), don't. The cheapest app I've seen was $5 and the "good" games are about $25 each. It's going to cost you some cheddar to fill this thing up. After selecting just a few apps to get started, I viewed my cart and saw I was already over $100 ... which made me wonder if I should've just sprung for an iPad mini. Also, note, with this bundle when it says you get to pick an app, you don't get to choose any app you want out of the app store. You must pick one of four specific apps.

4) LACKLUSTER VIDEO QUALITY: For $7.50 each I downloaded some video apps of Nickelodeon shows (Fresh Beat Band, Dora, etc.) I just tried them out ... ugh! I'm not pleased with the resolution / screen quality. I mean, it's okay - but ... not great. I was hoping the LeapPad 2 would be a little nicer in this area. Not so much.

5) NON-REMOVABLE ADS!?!? Okay, I bought this thing, I paid through the nose for apps ... why is there still a "Leap Frog Sneak Peaks" ADVERTISEMENT permanently on the screen for my daughter to click on??? Seems wrong. I'm annoyed by that.

6) ON THE HEAVY SIDE: I put the four AA batteries in this and ... it's pretty heavy. Not terrible, but - I have a feeling little three year old hands are going to get tired out from this.

7) CREEPY MP3 ERRORS: I got the MP3 player app so that I could load my daughter's favorite songs onto the pad. I loaded a batch of perfectly fine MP3s - all encoded the same - all of which work properly on the computer or on my own mp3 player. HOWEVER - once they got onto the LeapPad, some of them (randomly) only play SUPER slow with low low voices - like CREEPY low. Scary! Doesn't seem to be much rhyme or reason to which ones aren't playing properly. I loaded 63 songs - 22 worked okay, the other 41 have this playing slow issue. :( Also, the player leaves much to be desired. It's not graphical at all, so if your child doesn't read yet, they'll have no visual identifiers to help them find the songs they want. And even if they DO read - the screen only shows about 20 characters, so if the song title is long or shows the artist's name first, it may become impossible to identify the songs (if you've got several songs by the same artist with more than 20 characters in their name, the song titles will be pushed off the screen and you can't see them.)

8) CAN'T LOAD VIDEO? The computer interface allows you to upload mp3s (not that they actually work on the other end ... see above), but it doesn't seem to allow you to upload videos into the LeapPad. I'm guessing this is because they want to make sure you're purchasing videos from the app store.

9) SCREEN REARRANGES? I took the time to move all the tiles around so that the apps I think my daughter will like best appear on the first screen. By the way, you can't do this on the computer interface, you must move each app icon on the LeapPad itself. At any rate, I took a few minutes and did that, and about 10 minutes later (after I'd explored a few of the new apps) I noticed that some of the app tiles had rearranged themselves and moved to different screens. ? Not sure if that was a fluke. I hope it's not an ongoing thing. It's going to really confuse my daughter if the apps are moving around all the time. :(

Hope that helps! Don't get me wrong, it's a nice little toy - these are just a few observations. If I had known all of this before I purchased it ... honestly, I probably would've gone with a Kindle Fire or an iPad mini instead. I think it would've been worth it in the long run, especially considering how much the leappad apps cost. C'est la vie!
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The manufacturer commented on this review (What's this?)
Hello!

Thanks for all the great feedback, we saw a few points of confusion that we wanted to clear up for you to help your LeapPad experience and hopefully others reading as well.

The Sneak Peeks can be taken off the device by accessing the Parent Settings, press the "Volume Up" and "Home" key at the same time and at the bottom of the menu you can toggle to take them off.

For the MP3 songs playing slow or fast, we have an FAQ from LeapFrog.com on how why this occurs here: http://bit.ly/UdcaFe
The issue with fast or slow playing MP3 songs is due to the way the MP3 file was originally encoded. If your MP3 file was encoded with a different sample rate, the playback of the song will be distorted. Several free media players such as iTunes allow a user to re-encode MP3 files to standard sample rates. Once an MP3 file has been re-encoded to a standard sample rate, it can be re-synced to the LeapPad/LeapPad2 and it will now play back correctly.

Thanks for taking the time to provide this review, we are always happy to pass feedback like this along for future consideration.
163 of 178 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2012
We have both the Leap Pad original and the version two. Both are fantastic learning tools for the 3-8 age range, and yet again, Leap Frog does not disappoint. My main complaints with the original version were the easily damaged screen, the incredibly short-lived battery life and the difficulty getting into the battery compartment. With version two, they have fixed the battery compartment issue - it is now much easier to get into, but also easier to snap into place without having to wiggle it just so. It overall feels more secure. The screen is still pretty easy to scratch, even with gentle playing with the provided stylus. And after watching my two children play with it, ages 3 and 5, I can tell you that with some games, they want to attack the screen with the stylus. I think this would happen with any touch screen device, but for a game that runs over one hundred dollars, we're investing in some screen protectors to try to keep it nice as long as we can.
The battery life is still an issue. We use rechargeable batteries, and the Leap Pad 2 eats them for breakfast. We went on a road trip with fully charged batteries, and two hours in, the batteries were dead. With regular, non-rechargeable batteries, we got approximately six hours of life. The AC adapter is a battery saver!
Another upgrade is the front and back camera. My kids LOVE this. With the front-situated camera, they can actually take pictures of themselves and put in some pretty neat affects in the art studio. On that crazy road trip, I fell in love with the art studio feature!
Both versions have some pretty neat game options, and I like that the cartridges can move between the Leapster Explorer and the Leap Pad. As with all Leap Frog games we've found, there is some great educational content, for reading, writing and now more math and science oriented as well. My son despised practicing his writing in kindergarten, and with Mr. Pencil turning it into a game, his writing has improved considerably.
I also like that you can hook this up to the Leap Frog site and download games, books and movies directly onto the device. The storage capacity is much bigger on this version two than the original, and this is also a nice added touch.
I'm very impressed with the Leap Pad2. It eats batteries and the screen is not so durable, but even with that being said, it's a really neat device with all kinds of ways to make learning fun. I like the upgrades between the versions. I was not so happy with the price hike when the Leapster site says this should be about one hundred dollars, but I'm hoping that comes back down to normal as the newness factor wears off.
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211 of 232 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon September 26, 2012
I was pleasantly surprised when I received the Leap Pad 2 expecting to receive an Ultra Book for the Leap Pad. My granddaughter's eyes lit up with excitement, and we opened up the box and went straight to work downloading the new apps, as well as all the other apps we previously purchased for the original Leap Pad. Our Leap Pad came with batteries already installed, but after playing with it for only a very short while, the Leap Pad stopped working. I thought it was strange because we never heard the warning sounds you normally hear when the batteries are running low, but I changed the batteries anyhow using brand new batteries out of the package. No sooner had she turned it on, that she said, "Gramma, the batteries don't work." I knew this was impossible, so I opened up the battery compartment and found the problem -- the batteries don't fit tightly inside the compartment and "pop" out and apart from one another (so that they're no longer making contact with one another). I was able to remedy this problem by placing a piece of tape across the batteries in order to hold them in place, but this is kind of a nuisance, and shouldn't be (and it's still not fool-proof, as they came loose several more times). I see that there is a rechargeable battery and charger available for the Leap Pad 2, so I will likely buy this & hopefully, this will fix the problem. Ironically, I always thought the battery compartment of the original Leap Pad was too tight (I sometimes struggled to remove the batteries when they need to be replaced), and it seems like they tried to fix this problem by removing the little plastic piece that sat between the batteries, only it took it to the other extreme, and now they're too loose & don't fit in there tight enough.

Other than the battery issue, we are loving the Leap Pad 2. We own several other Leap Frog products, including the Tagg Reader Pen, Leapster2, Leapster Explorer, the original Leap Pad and now the Leap Pad2. It amazes me how Leap Frog keeps up with the times and keeps updating it's toys so that they remain desirable to pre-schoolers. I purchased the Leap Pad for my granddaughter last year for Xmas after I purchased an iPad for myself. She was so excited that she had an "iPad for kids"! She would spend hours playing the various games, taking care of her pet, reading along with Cinderella or Tinkerbell, listening to music or creating art work from the pictures that she took with the onboard camera.

With the Leap Pad 2, she is still able to do all of these things, plus so much more. An additional camera has been added so kids can now take pics without having to turn the Pad around, having to take a pic without seeing the image on the screen (and unlike an iPad or iPhone, or other android device, the front & rear facing cameras on the Leap Pad take pics of the same quality). The internal storage has been doubled (a good thing as the last time we purchased an App, we had to delete something else in order to make room). The image and video quality is somewhat improved, and the reaction time/speed of use has been increased, so kids aren't twiddling their fingers waiting for their games to load. The Leap Pad 2 does feel a little heavier than the original Leap Pad, which I guess is due to the larger storage capacity and additional camera. This could pose a problem for smaller children, but overall, I find the unit to be more solid and durable.

The Leap Pad only comes with one stylus, whereas the original came with a spare. Granted, we never used the spare, and maybe this is why it was discontinued on the LP2 (at least we still have a spare, in case we ever need one). One of the things I love most about the Leap Frog family of video games is that they are "backwards compatible" meaning, all the games and apps I purchased for the Leap Pad also work on the Leap Pad 2. In fact, nearly all the game cartridges we purchased for the Leapster Explorer also work with the Leap Pad (1 & 2), so we're definitely getting our money's worth of gaming/learning fun.

Overall, I think the Leap Pad2 is another winner and a product I will highly recommend to other parents/grandparents. With all the iPads and Kindles and Nooks and Android phones and tablets, it's nice for kids to have a tablet of their own that provides age-specific activities, well made and durable so that parents can allow their kids to play with it freely without fear of breaking or ruining. I'm looking forward to the next idea and release from Leap Pad (and hopefully the battery compartment on THAT device will be perfect -- not too tight, not too loose, but just right! I would have given the Leap Pad 5 five stars across the board if it hadn't been for the battery issue. I'm still hoping the rechargeable batteries might fit in there tighter than the disposable ones)
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77 of 85 people found the following review helpful
on August 29, 2012
i purchased the leappad 2 for my children for a 6 hour airplane ride. I also purchased the carrying case and the ac adapter. i have already purchased a rechargeable duracell battery system from costco so i brought that along as well. the leappad did exactly what i had hoped it would do. it is packed full of excellent apps, the art app and the pet pad keep the kids totally entertained. for our free app i downloaded rollie polly picnic and it's very cool. i really didn't want to be stuck with crazy kids on the airplane so i purchased some additional apps, honestly, i didn't really need to. after reading many reviews i purchased stretchy monkey because it is kindof like angry birds but educational and not angry, i also puchased mr. pencil saves doodleburg. from what i can tell, mr. pencil is the biggest hit but they play both. i also purchased two videos because i thought my almost 3 year old would like them but he's not really into screens at all. i purchased one e-book, the cinderella one (even though i have boys!) and they love it! the e-books are quite pricey, i felt like a bit of a fool buying it because really i should just be reading to them on the plane, but that being said i was blown away by the video quality of the book. it is also incredibly interactive... very very interesting. the whole system is very high quality, durable, the video quality is amazing. i'm so glad that i purchased this over an adult tablet or even the innotab. i've had luck with leapfrog products before, and this one certainly exceeded my expecations. i mean, if i bought my kids an adult tablet i would be concerned about them dropping it, scratching it, breaking it. the leappad is made to withstand tough kid treatment and i don't want to have to micro-manage them... kids drop things and it would be sad if a young child felt rotten and guilty for breaking an ipad or any other adult tablet. this leappad is theirs, they treat it well, it is designed to be used by young children.

i am an outdoorsy hands-on mom and i set limits to screen time. i'm not big on electronics but this item certainly has a time and place and my kids are learning when they are playing. i couldn't be more pleased.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on April 6, 2013
first of all I regret buying it but my son loves it. and a lot of the apps are very fun and full of great learning concepts but I don't like 3 main things:

1. the apps are too expensive - In reading reviews before purchasing this, I don't remember anyone mentioning how expensive the apps are. I can't figure out how this can stay competitive on a market like this with all the other tablet options for kids. on average most apps are like $7 versus $.99 for apps with an ipad. and you have to buy the apps constantly; actually you have to buy them like weekly because the kids go through the apps like a thirsty person drinks water in the desert. the apps should be $2-3 at the most. Some are $25! just robbery! capitalism at it's worst

2. everything you need for the thing is, of course, sold separately. it only runs on batteries for maybe 2-3 hours so either buy rechargeable ones or you are spending a lot in batteries every few days. the charger and the headphones and the case are all separate and each costs about $20 a piece. just robbery! thievery! if we are paying $100 for the gadget, everything should be included. by the time you pay for the device, the apps, and the attachments, you would have a brand new ipad. in fact, it's cheaper to buy an ipad and buy $.99 apps than buy this thing.

3. this device does not have Wi-Fi. I knew it didn't when I bought it but didn't realize how burdensome it would be to constantly download things from my computer to this game system. it's like I'm spending more time downloading the software and apps that it's making more work for me and less fun for my son.
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24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Style Name: Disney Monsters University BundleVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
With an iPad at home, it's often frustrating for everyone to share it - the kids want to play games on it, I want to get work done on it, and no matter how hard we try, invariably someone ends up getting upset. The LeapPad2 is a good starter tablet for younger kids to play with instead of your electronics. The apps on here are geared towards kids and educational, the unit is bright and appealing to play with, and for the most part it keeps our kids happily busy.

THE TABLET ITSELF - With a 5" screen that's larger than my iPhone 5, but smaller than some Samsung cell phones, the screen is a good size for kids to explore and play on. The display is bright, the sound is very clear on the unit, and the chunky feel of the unit makes it great for younger kids. The plastic is durable and will definitely survive a drop. Things I really like about the tablet itself is that the stylus is tied to the unit, so there's less chance of it getting lost, and that the battery accesses are not screwed down. I hate having to find a screwdriver to open the battery case! The stylus doesn't always stay in the stylus holder as it's held in magnetically, but since it's tied to the unit, it all good. The touchscreen of the LeapPad is also very responsive. Added bonus - there is a motion detector in the unit, so it does respond via movement like some iPad/iPhone games.

CAMERA - The resolution of the camera isn't great, but it keeps my kids happy. With a camera on the front of the unit, and on the back of the unit, it works similarly to an iPhone. The resolution is far from printable, nowhere near the resolution of my crappy old cell phone, but boy - the kids LOVE this thing. I have to note that the camera lenses are kept fairly safe as they are "sunk into" the unit, unlike your standard iPhone or iPad camera.

APPS - This unit does comes with 10 apps, but this doesn't mean that it comes with 10 apps that your kids will play with. The apps include Pet Pad, Camera, MyStuff, My Books, Music, Calculator, Calendar, Clock, Notepad, and one app of your choice. This is where things irritate me about the LeapPad. There's only 2 apps your kids will be able to play with off the bat. The remaining apps are stuff that your kids probably won't play with. To add insult to injury, most of the good apps in the app store are $20+ EACH. I did find a few $5 apps, I had to seriously search for them. That said, the gift card you have will probably not go very far. This is where the iPad seriously beats out the LeapPad. I've downloaded a good number of educational games for my kids on the iPad that cost $0.99 or are free. You'd think LeapFrog would offer a few cheaper options.

-Pet Pad: Great game for the kids. It's like a Tamagochi that won't die on you. You can feed, clean, play, and learn with your pet. There is a writing game
included in the Pet Pad that helps kids learn how to write letters correctly. You can also "earn" treats for your pets.
-Camera: The kids LOVE this app. They can take videos or pictures. There's also picture editing software, so kids can add stickers/draw on/manipulate photos.
-MyStuff: This is a folder based app that has links for your pictures, videos, stories, and art. There's no play involved here.
-My Books: If you haven't paid for any books, you won't have anything in here. Unfortunately this LeapPad comes with ZERO books. You'll have to pay for them.
-Music: If you haven't paid for any music, you'll have 4 silly songs included here only. You'll have to pay $5 to download the MP3 player if you want to load
any of your kid's MP3 collection on there.
-Calculator: Works like a calculator. Nothing too special here.
-Calendar: It's a calendar. If you click on a date, it will tell you the date. You can also enter a note on a date. It would make a good diary for kids,
however, my kids don't use it much.
-Clock: This features a digital and analog clock face. It's impossible to tell the time to minute on the analog clock face as there are no minute marks.
There's also a stopwatch button, if your kid wants to time someone.
-Notepad: This is a digital Post-It Note. My kids like to pretend they're writing letters here.
-App of Your Choice: You get to pick one out of 3 apps LeapFrog chooses for you. These are 3 generic apps - none of the Disney/Dreamworks/etc apps that your
kids really want.

There is also a "Sneak Preview" app that is a running commercial for your kids to want more apps. I wish I could delete this off the LeapPad. NOTE: I was able to get 2 free apps - Alphabet Stew and the eBook "The Book of Super Awesome Stuff" by googling "Free LeapPad2 Apps". You can enter these codes from your parent control panel on your computer and get them downloaded to the LeapPad.

The Book of Super Awesome Stuff (e-book): 5813 1140 1518 1413
Alphabet Stew (game): 5813 0790 4610 4973

POWER SUPPLY - This thing runs on 4AA batteries. This doesn't seem like a lot of batteries, but if you have a kid who plays a LOT, you'll be plowing through a lot of batteries. The batteries last anywhere between 7-9 hours according to LeapFrog. There is a port where you can plug in AC 9V power, but unfortunately this package does not come with the charger unit. I lucked out because I have a Bose charger (for the SoundLink Mini) that just happens to fit into the LeapPad. Check your other electronics in the house - you just might luck out. If given the choice, I would thrown down the LeapPad2 Power (priced at $99) to get the rechargeable batteries and power supplies.

THE MONSTERS INC. ADD ONS - The Mike Gel case fits beautifully on the LeapPad, and has a nice smooth matte feel about it. It doesn't seem to attract much dirt to it either, and has managed to stay clean for the past week. It's very soft and is easily applied, although I do wonder about the long term use of this case. The screen cleaner is a thin piece of cloth...my kids have already lost it. The stickers are nice, but not really necessary. I would have rather seen a battery charger instead of these silly stickers. The add on bonuses for the Monster Inc. pack were nice, but for almost $30 more, I would pass on these add ons unless your kids are really into the movie.

While it's a great toy overall, unless your kid is really into Monsters Inc, it may be a better deal buy to get the original LeapPad2. The only real differences between this unit and the original LeapPad is the case cover, which is blue and features some of the Monsters Inc characters, the gel skin that's shaped like Mike, the stickers, and the $20 gift card. Since I already own an iPad, I can safely say that in the long run that the iPad with a good protective case would be a more logical choice to get your kids. While the price tag is much higher initially, after buying a few apps, the LeapPad would cost just as much. Along with the lack of WiFi, web surfing capabilities, and more advanced apps, it's only a matter of time before we shelf the LeapPad and go back to fighting over the iPad with the kids. Recommended up until about age 6 or 7...maybe. I'll let you know if the kids are still playing with it then.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I was really excited to receive the new LeapPad2 because I saw the recommended age changed for 4-9 years to 3-9 years. My son just turned 3 (we have the green LeapPad2).

Firstly, we own the original LeapPad, which was a huge disappointment. My main complaint was how slow it was. The LeapPad2, I'm happy to report, is much quicker! Not as quick as an iPad, but quicker than the original version. Setting both side by side the LeapPad2 reaches the main screen and loads games much quicker. Also, the resolution on the LeapPad2 is significantly clearer than the original.

Right out of the box I had to add 4 AA batteries (not included) and connect to a computer for setup; all easy enough. I was able to download some new apps for my son and gave it to him to play with the next morning.

The included stylus is easy for him to use, but he still prefers to use his finger. I imagine he'll want to use the stylus more as he gets older. I like that the games are educational and challenging. At the moment he's obsessed with Jewel Train; trying to connect the tracks so the train can make it to the station. He also likes to trace the alphabets in PetPad, and "read" his Thomas Ultrabook.

The original LeapPad used the stylus to click open the battery compartment. LeapPad2 just has sliding compartments. My son can't open it, so that's a plus. Also, the new way helps him hold the LeapPad better because it creates a raised backing for his hands.

The original LeapPad came with two styluses, LeapPad2 only one. LeapPad2 has an optional rope loop on the bottom for lefties. My 3 year old is a righty, but my 16 month old is leaning towards a leftie; since they'll have to share this it's good to have the option.

The front and back camera is a nice touch. My son isn't into using it yet, but I love that when he is, he can click away on his LeapPad2 and have fun.

As a parent I like LeapFrog's Learning Path. When you plug in your child's device on your computer it will tell you what games your child has played, how long they have played them, and how successful they were. It's a nice touch.

My only problem at the moment is that not all of our games are showing. All of the games I purchased are there, but the games that automatically come with the LeapPad2 are not (any advice?). For instance, we should have Roly Poly Picnic. I saw it before I added my son's account to the device, and now it's not there. We have plenty of memory space, so I don't know where it went or how to get it back without paying for it. Also, I think the MP3 Player app should be included, and not have to pay an additional $3.75 for it. One thing to know, is when you buy this device, don't expect a user manual, it doesn't come with one.

- I wish the LeapPad2 had an internal rechargeable battery.
- I wish it came with the required 4 AA batteries.
- I wish it came with a wall charger.
- I wish it came with 2 stylus' in case we loose/break one.
- I wish it had rubber around the sides for less chance of slipping out of a child's hand (though you can purchase a Gel Skin for it).
- I wish the apps were cheaper.
AND...
- I wish I had a case.

Overall this is a great educational product for little kids and keeps my son off my iPad. Really love it and recommend it. Certainly something my sons will grow with. I'm giving it 4 stars out of 5 because I'm always going to wish it would respond quicker when starting and loading, and the apps were cheaper. My son would give it 5 billion stars because he likes it so much.

And just so you wont have to search for these, here are two FREE app codes:

The Book of Super Awesome Stuff (e-book): 5813 1140 1518 1413
Alphabet Stew (game): 5813 0790 4610 4973
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