LeapFrog, the leading educational toy brand, is launching its highly anticipated LeapPad Explorer on 15th August.
We've already got one. LeapFrog sent us one to review - thank you. Yes, we do feel pretty special!
The LeapPad will retail for £79.99. So, what do you get for your £80?
The LeapPad is basically a learning tablet (or iPad) for children aged 4-9. The LeapPad will be available with over one hundred learning games, book apps, videos and more.
It's important to me that if my children are having screen time, that it's educational. From our extensive testing (we didn't leave the house today) I am happy that my boys were learning as they played. The interactive books (we read the ultra e-book, Disney-Pixar Cars 2) go way beyond an audio story. You can even add your own narration, although ours would have mainly been 'Look, Mummy, it's Mater!".
We spent a long time playing with the art studio. Children can add shapes and stamps as well as drawing on the screen with fingertips or the stylus. You can save their works of art too.
The LeapPad comes with a camera and video recorder. These were simple to use and of a reasonable quality. I was surprised that the camera is only 2 mega-pixels. There is storage for 30,000 pictures and 120 hours of video!
We loved the Roly Poly Motion Game. You roll, tilt, spin and steer your Roly Poly through mazes and spelling challenges to bring food to the family picnic. Presley, at almost four, didn't take that long to learn to control his Roly Poly, but the thirty-six levels will certainly keep him occupied for a while.
The boys really liked the PetPad app. You learn to draw letters while teaching your pet tricks. You select all the features of your pet - Cash chose a purple cat - and feed and take care of it. Giving it a bath is great fun, you have to blow into the microphone to operate the hair-dryer!
The LeapPad is really well made and feels substantial, but in a good way. It is sleek and far more grown up looking than the Leapster Explorer for example. The touch pad is a good size and very responsive. We had no trouble operating it. It also loads quickly, ready for each child to select their profile. In the same way as other LeapFrog products the LeapPad remembers what your child has achieved so they don't have to start from the beginning each time.
So, does the LeapPad get the Baby Baby Thumbs up? Yes, it does. It encourages learning and creativity and will hopefully mean that I get my iPhone back!
I think you get a lot for £79.99, although the downloadable apps and game cartridges will be rather steep at £19.99 each. Having said that, if the game we tested is anything to go by then you will get your money's worth out of the games.
Would you like the chance to get your hands on the new device - for free?
LeapFrog are running a marathon giveaway, commencing at midnight on Monday 15th August. The event gives LeapFrog fans the opportunity to win a LeapPad package, complete with the LeapSchool Rading cartridge game and a free download card, on the hour, every hour.
You can also be in with a second chance to win by sharing the link on Twitter and Facebook.
LeapFrog's instant win online event will run alongside the launch of the LeapPad Explorer at Hamley's in London. On the day of the launch lucky shoppers will also be able to win a LeapPad every hour.
For more information check out the LeapFrog website.