Monday 27 January 2014

The LeapPad Ultra Review

Just before Christmas when we were all getting ready to welcome the man in red himself, Leo was sent the LeapPad Ultra to have a play with. The LeapPad Ultra is the latest tablet device from LeapFrog and follows on from the LeapPad 2. Noticeable improvements are seen in the high resolution screen which is now 7". The entire tablet now seems to feel less like a toy, and more like a grown up tablet with the built in resilience that means it is prepared for excitable kids.

A great upgrade from the LeapPad 2 is that the Ultra now has it's own built in rechargeable battery. A battery that provides a whopping 9 hours of life. We have had other tablets in the past that required batteries and it meant that we would often go without it when the house had been sucked dry of each and every battery. So this rechargeable battery is a real bonus and one that I really like.

The LeapPad Ultra is geared towards aiding children learn and keep them entertained at the same time. I am all for anything that can do both of these things at the same time. As a parent you can even log in to the LeapPad Learning Path to see how your little one is excelling. I think for us this is something that will come into play when Leo is a bit bigger, for now he is more than happy just enjoying the novelty.

Leo loves anything like this that resembles Mummy and Daddy's iPad's, so I knew that this would be a welcomed addition. Of course as soon as the LeapPad was spotted it had to be brought out to have a play with straight away. One of the first things Leo did was have a play with the drawing app that is included, this is a firm favourite and is great while we are out and about in the car. It gives him something to do and keep him distracted if we are travelling a distance where he may get bored.

The LeapPad Ultra comes with 11 apps pre-loaded:

- Pet
- Pet Chat
- Art Studio
- Photo Fun
- Music
- Notepad
- Clock
- Calander
- Calculator 
- Bookshelf
- Voice Memo

The 11 apps definitely give kids something to get started with straight away, and with Leo being younger he was more than happy to just have a play with the Art Studio. As I knew we were expecting a LeapPad I did invest in the Cars 2 cartridge for Leo to have a play with, it is definetly something that he is going to grow into but for now it does seem a little advanced for him. Leo is 2 and the LeapPad is aimed for kids 4+, but I think whether your child is ready for one or not comes down to the parent, they will grow into it at some point even if not right away.

The LeapPad connects to the WiFi using LeapSearch, this means that everything your child views on their tablet is completely child friendly. We have used it to browse the App Centre to see what else they have available. There is a wide libary of different Apps that you can invest in, but as Leo is still getting to grips with the Apps on the tablet it seems silly to overload it with lots of Apps that won't get used right away. So we are taking it slowly and will add to it when the time is right.

These days kids love to take photos, I know that I have found some rather strange ones on my phone from when a certain toddler has decided to get creative! On the LeapPad Leo has his very own front and back camera, he also has 8GB of space to store his creations. Once the photos have been captured Leo can then even play around with the images on the Photo Fun App, these aspects right now are Leo's favourites, he does need a bit of help navigating around it but I know he will figure it all out with time.

There are so many great features with the LeapPad Ultra, ones that will continue to become apparent as Leo gets to know the tablet better. Within the Ultra he has his very own MP3 player that we will be adding his favourite tunes to as the time goes on. There is a built in motion sensor for games he may play and so much more to keep him enjoying the possibilities of the Ultra.

From a parent's perspective setting the LeapPad Ultra up was really easy, I simply followed the on screen instructions and set up Leo's profile. Getting a photo of Leo for his profile was tricky as he kept wondering off, but we got there in the end. The one thing that I do think let's the Ultra down that I have experienced with other models on the market is just how slowly it takes to load things. I think when it comes to kids and keeping their attention on what they are doing, the faster something can load the better. I would like to see the time between clicking on something and the time it takes to open it become much faster, but for aside from that I do really like the new LeapPad Ultra.

The LeapPad Ultra retails at £119.99 but if you have a look online you will find a number of different prices that beat this price. Amazon currently have it on sale for £86.99 at the point of writing this review.  It is not a fortune but definitely something that I will be looking to add to the home insurance at some point.

Over all I like the LeapFrog Ultra and all of the features it boosts, I am especially pleased with the rechargeable battery and the new big screen.

Disclaimer: I was sent the LeapPad Ultra for the purpose of this review. All views and opinions are completely honest and my own. 

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