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LeapFrog's LeapPad 2 Review

Updated on December 8, 2012
Janine Huldie profile image

Janine is a published author in Only Trollops Shave Above the Knees, appears on The Huffington Post and at Confessions of A Mommyaholic.

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Technology quite simply is taking over at all ages now. My two little girls sit and play with our IPads whenever they can get their hands on it and they even know how to use them I think sometimes better then we do.

So a year ago, I purchased my older daughter a LeapFrog LeapPad, which is the company's marketing strategy to reach young kids with a kid friendly type of tablet similar to the likes of an IPad. Although, it may not be exactly like an IPad, it truly is a very clever and ingenious device for kids to use and learn from as well. and anyone who read my Hot Holiday Toys article knows a bit about the backstory on how I was able to indeed find and purchase this Hot Toy.

This year they came out with the LeapPad 2, just as Apple keeps changing their product to meet the demands of their customers, so too are LeapFrog with this new generation LeapPad, who heard some of the complaints from the original LeapPad and did some updates and modified the product. So now, they have released the new and improved LeapPad 2 just in time for the holiday season.

If you were interested and thinking of purchasing this for child or grandchild, please take a moment to read on and see the review that I have written below.

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Cosmetic Appearance:

The original LeapPad was either green or pink (and still is), but the back shell was mostly white, now the LeapPad 2's back shell is now a solid, almost metallic-looking color with a less glossy and slippery finish. This new finish should help it to slip out of little kids' slippery hands, but even if it were to fall, it is made to be durable and withstand falls, because LeapFrog knows that kids usually do have a tendency of making mistakes and dropping things pretty frequently. That said it is truly meant to be an alternative to mom and dad's IPad which is not as durable and can break pretty easily if dropped.

When we first purchased this last year, I had to set the device up and have it ready to go for its first use on Christmas morning. Well, setting it up wasn't too bad, but getting the newly charged batteries (yes it can run on a rechargeable LeapPad battery pack of 4 AA Batteries, which is sold separately) into the LeapPad was absolute torture. So LeapFrog, listened to parental feedback and actually made the new battery covers for the LeapPad 2 easier to remove on the unit's shell.

This unit is designed for pre-school and early school age kids too.

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Hardware

Here is the breakdown of the biggest hardware changes from the first generation LeapPad to the LeapPad 2. The LeapPad 2 allows for more battery life, because of its more powerful processor (going from a 393 MHz processor now to a 550MHz processor). That said it is only an extra hour, but an hour to a child can be a lifetime. Truly it is that much of a jump and still uses the same software and apps as the original LeapPad did, but it does seem to for some sharper user interface.

The original LeapPad had a camera (which seemed to be a huge selling point over another Tablet like product selling last year, the V-Tech InnoTab), but now it not only has rear-facing camera like the original, but also has a front facing too that allows kids to import their pictures they took allowing them to even draw on these pictures in certain available apps.

Also in the original LeapPad was 2GB of memory storage. Now the LeapPad 2 has an extra 2 GB of storage with it having 4GB in total of memory storage. This extra 2 GB of storage allows for the memory not to get full as quickly and therefore not having to swap out previously downloaded content for newer, because there just isn't enough room to have both the old and the new software apps. In plain English, if you download a lot of apps this will truly come in handy and allow you to continue to download and not have the LeapPad's memory to become full as quickly.

LeapPad 2 Retails for $99.

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Buy LeapPad Games on Amazon:

Software: Games and Apps

The LeapPad 2 comes pre-loaded with a few apps, and you get to download one free app the first time you connect to the App Center just as the original LeapPad did too. And if you do have games and content from the original LeapPad no worries, the LeapPad 2 is compatible with all of the original LeapPad and LeapFrog Explorer games and digital apps (over 325 games, apps, videos and more). However, some game cartridges or apps are optimized specifically to take advantage of the LeapPad 2’s dual cameras or other features.

One of the nice things about the LeapPad is that the games use familiar characters from kids shows on TV nowadays like Dora and Princesses and truly do vary by character, theme, and more importantly, by your child’s level of learning. And all Games and apps do have recommended age on the packaging, but still the LeapPad 2 also adjusts the playing level for each child depending on age and skill automatically.

As a teacher, I love the fact that all of the games have some educational merit to them and teach basic learning skills needed by all kids, such as math, reading, counting, writing, and much more. And yet they still manage to make it fun too. I also like that for certain achievements, there are badges that are included to give your child something to strive for and look forward to. Yet by unlocking and collecting these badges this truly seems to give kids a sense of pride in their accomplishment and yet keep things interesting too.

LeapPad 2 also allows the use of eBooks that teach young kids reading and phonics, by allowing your kids to read and spell out words right along with the device. They also have video content such as SpongeBob and a bit more educational ones too.

The LeapPad 2 can play music, but it’s typically not an MP3 player, so if you are looking for that than this may not be the product to buy. Also, it doesn't allow one to add their own video content or pretty much any previously owned content. The name of the game here is that they want you to buy LeapPad's own content from their App store, much like Apple does with the IPad and their App Store too for retail.

Games Retail for $19.99 and up.

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Buy the LeapPad App Center Cards Now:

App Center

So now for the App Store I just mentioned above. For the LeapPad 2, you must purchase and download all software and apps from their App Center. You can even digitally download virtual versions of the same game cartridges that are sold at retail stores too if you want rather than buy the actual cartridge. To purchase one must use credit card or App Center download cards that are sold separately in stores.

To access the App Center you must install software on your PC or Mac, with or without the LeapPad 2 connected. If you don't have the LeapPad 2 connected when you do make a purchase, the next time you have it connected with the USB cable it will sync and download this content. The App Center store is fairly simple and pretty easy to use, probably easier to use than Apple ITunes Store, but more in-line with the Playstation or Nintendo Online Stores.

App Center Downloads can be $5 and up.

Summing It Up..

Bottom line is the LeapPad 2 may not be an Apple iPad, but truly is the ultimate toy and gaming device for children. The Apple IPad is much more expensive than this device and also can be broken or damaged a heck of a lot easier than the LeapPad 2, because the LeapPad 2 is well-built and well designed for children in mind. Children are naturally drawn to the IPad (I should know having two that are mesmerized by it), but this little technical gadget should really help starve off some of their craving for mom and dad's IPad, because it does have smartphone/tablet-like features, a touchscreen and a stylus too. The games and apps are kid friendly and made for their age specifically. it’s a pretty good investment in children's early learning skills, as well as helps to keep their little minds busy and happily entertained (believe me sometimes you need five minutes of just peace and quiet where they are otherwise occupied and this fits that bill).

So if you’re parent of a youngster, you should really think about the LeapPad 2, because the gaming person in you will appreciate your child taking their first steps into gaming, and the parent in you will enjoy their minds being challenged, yet having fun, and still learning along the way.

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About the Author...

Janine is a freelance writer and mom of two. She is known for being a stay at home mom to two beautiful little girls right now. Life can totally get hectic and has learned to perfect and improvise all day and night too, because of this. You can checkout her profile and more of her family related articles here.

Are you interested in writing for Hubpages? You can sign up today and publish your first article!

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    • barbergirl28 profile image

      Stacy Harris 5 years ago from Hemet, Ca

      I am looking at getting one of these for my son who just turned 3. Because we are traveling back home for Christmas we have decided to only get each child basically one big gift. So my two older girls are getting the Kindle Fire and my little boy is getting something like this. One of my concerns was the investment afterwards so this review came in handy. I was hoping to have it be able to be used without much going into it afterwards. Nothing like getting a gift that won't be used because it loses its appeal after you played out the 3 games available. Good review though - I am still thinking about it!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Myz :)

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      re-shared

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Bill, I have been doing some much more on my blog and copywriting a bit too that I have a few here that I need to hit the publish button on, but just haven't had a chance to so proper proofreading. So hopefully will be posting a new hub in a day or two. No worries and glad you made it here. Trust me I understand about missing one here and there. Thank you though for stopping by, commenting, sharing and just being you as always :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I was thinking it's been quite awhile since I saw a hub by you....has it or have I missed some? This one says it was posted nine days ago, and I never saw it until now. Oh well, I'm here now.

      Technology is advancing so rapidly that it makes me quite grateful that I don't have a little child to buy for. I would go broke trying to come up with the cash to buy the newest gadget.

      Good job Janine! sharing

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Nell, I am so happy they did listen to moms, because I was just charging the original LeapPad's batteries yesterday and getting that cover off was utterly ridiculous. That said thank you so much for weighing on that, for voting and tweeting too!!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

      This is a great review, and interesting to see that the makers did listen to mothers. I know what it can be like fighting with a battery! lol! voted up and tweeted!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Vinaya, so happy to have shared this one with you and do hope you will be able to find this where you live. I am not sure if you can order and have shipped from Amazon, but do know as of right now they have this in stock. Thank you again and just happy to help :)

    • Vinaya Ghimire profile image

      Vinaya Ghimire 5 years ago from Nepal

      Hi Janine,

      this is an interesting review. I believe this hub will be of some use for me. I'm looking for something to gift my nephew, perhaps this device will be a good thing. However, I will also have to check if this is available in the local market.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you so much Christy and happy to know that I did ok relaying the product information here. My older niece also had an older Leapster so I knew a bit of that product even before I bought Emma the first generation LeapPad last year. And was truly very happy to share about the LeapPad 2 here for everyone. Thank you also for sharing and voting too!!

    • ChristyWrites profile image

      Christy Birmingham 5 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      You explain the product well Janine. I remember my neice had a LeapPad when she was younger. Very thorough explanation. I vote up and sharing too!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Myz as always :)

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      LeapPad is really cool!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you Ignugent17 and I very much agree with you on this that learning through play is very important at such a young age and using characters they are familiar with sure does help. Thank you again :)

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      ignugent17 5 years ago

      Kids will surely enjoy this new toy. Playing and learning is always good. It is always nice they put some of the characters that the kids already knew like Dora.

      Thanks and have a nice day!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thank you so much Mary and am very glad to help out other parents of young ones with this product. I truly appreciate the votes too :)

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 5 years ago from New York

      Nicely done as always. A very educational toy and you've outlined it and summed it up very well. This will be very useful to the parents of young ones who can benefit the most from the LeapPad and this hub!

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Dianna, sounds like you too could have written a writeup for this one too!! Seriously thank you for your detailed comment here and for your votes too :) :)

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I love LeapFrog technology. They create such interesting and educational toys for children. I especially love that whenever you plug them into a computer, they sync. The additional battery storage life is also a plus. Great writeup on this device and very helpful for parents to use when making a purchase decision. Voted up+++

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Happy to share with you chin chin that there is a new version of LeapFrog's LeapPad for this upcoming holiday season. Thank you for stopping by and for commenting too!!

    • Chin chin profile image

      Chin chin 5 years ago from Philippines

      It's great to know that there's a new version of Leap Pad. They're keeping up with the latest in technology. .. certainly a plus for kids.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Glimmer Twin Fan, thank you so much and I agree with you this device having changed. My niece, who is 8 year old now, had a Leapster Game System and it truly has come a long way since then. Thank you so much :) :)

    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 5 years ago

      Boy have these changed since my daughter had one. She used hers so much. This is an awesome device and really good review Janine. Voted up!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Eddy, thank you for saying that I put in so much work, because I truly try my hardest to give the best information and also make it as aesthetically pleasing to the eye as well. Happy to share with you and also look forward to many more too :)

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      You always put in so much hard work and the finished product shows this. I am handing these hubs onto my family and their little ones.

      Enjoy your day Janine and here's to so many more to come.

      Eddy.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Sasha, totally glad to have helped out here and think your son would do fine with this kid's tech gadget. I was so hoping to use this for the upcoming contest, but couldn't find anymore info out when I searched for it. Thank you also for the votes and share too!!

    • Mama Kim 8 profile image

      Sasha Kim 5 years ago

      Great review... would have been a good one for the upcoming contest. I was wondering about the leappad 2 for my 3 year old... but I'm not sure he's ready for it. After reading this I think I might just have to add it to the list ^_^ Thanks for a wonderful review Janine! voting and sharing!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Richard, my almost 2 year old tells me everyday she want 'my phone'; her exact words when she want to play with my iPhone. Seriously I am so much trouble times too, lol!! Thanks Richard as always :) :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Terrye, both my girls still use this toy (by use I mean fight over it, lol!), but do also use our IPads too. But it truly is a fabulous device for the money and has too many positives to pass up. Thanks for the votes and share too :)

    • rcrumple profile image

      Rich 5 years ago from Kentucky

      Janine - Great review! You do realize you're getting your kids hooked on technology early, which means cell phones by third grade so they can call and text their friends endlessly. lol I'm just glad I no longer have to deal with making decisions like that. Great Job!

    • TToombs08 profile image

      Terrye Toombs 5 years ago from Somewhere between Heaven and Hell without a road map.

      Excellent review, Janine! My son got the Leap Pad for Christmas last year and loved it. But, he quickly outgrew it. I had looked into a Leap Pad 2 and opted for an iPad instead because it supports so many of the speech programs he loves.

      Voted up and sharing. :)

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Thanks Joseph and do hope that this does help out other mothers who are looking to buy this for their little ones too:)

    • Lord De Cross profile image

      Joseph De Cross 5 years ago

      Great review from a teacher and a real mommy. The sturdy edge is a must for these little critters. Just wait for that LeapPad5 that will incorporate more educational games, and possible a way to interact with other players, through MSN messenger.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Rema, I so appreciate you reading this and passing on to others who may have kids this age to look into. Thank you so much as always!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Kelley, I am with you on wanting some educational value to this and believe the games definitely are ver good early learning tools for little ones and have sat with my kids while they have played a few of the different games and can attest to that. Thank you though for everything, including the votes and share too!!

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Ruchi Urvashi, glad you stopped by and was able to find some information out on this for your daughter and hope you do get to purchase this one for her too!!

    • remaniki profile image

      Rema T V 5 years ago from Chennai, India

      Janine,

      A good review that I read with a lot of interest though I don't have any kid of the appropriate age to gift this for. I wanted to really know what's in there, maybe I can recommend it to friends who are looking for such a cute little gadget for their kids. Great! Cheers, Rema.

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Awesome information thanks for this I was considering getting one but like you want the toy to be not only fun but also educational. Voted up and shared! Kelley

    • Ruchi Urvashi profile image

      Ruchi Urvashi 5 years ago from Singapore

      That is interesting. I was not aware of such device. Great information. My daughter will like it.

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Becky, thank you so much and so happy that this article has helped you out some giving you information on this technology gadget :)

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Janine - I think you should know - I've learned more about the latest technologically advanced gadgets from reading your hubs and I find them very informative.

      I am someone without children and nephews and nieces are now young adults. I tend to be a bit "backward" when it comes to this genre. I even ignore Facebook to the frustration of friends and family.

      Thanks again

    • Janine Huldie profile image
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      Janine Huldie 5 years ago from New York, New York

      Oh thank you Michelle and think you godson will love this judging from how my two girls just can't get enough of it :)

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      The leap pad is fascinating!! I think I should get it for my godson this Xmas!! Thanks for sharing about the technology as well! Shared and tweeted, my friend.