Why is the LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer a Huge Hit?
My LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer Review
The LeapFrog LeapsterGS shows why LeapFrog is still the leader in fun, interactive learning toys for kids. The LeapFrog LeapsterGS is a sister-product to the wonderfully popular LeapPad 2. Kids love the LeapsterGS for its compact fit-in-their-hand size, its easy to understand navigation, and well because its just plain fun.
The primary difference between the LeapsterGS Explorer and the LeapPad2 Explorer is the kind of play that they emphasize. While the LeapPad 2 is more about education, the LeapsterGS leans more toward pure entertainment and is closer in appearance to the Nintendo 3DS and Playstation Vita in that respect.
But let me be clear as the LeapsterGS does offer many of the same educational Explorer apps as the LeapPad 2 tablet. Read along as I explain why the LeapFrog LeapsterGS intended for kids aged 4 to 9 years is such a huge hit.
Images courtesy of Amazon
The LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer
As you can see in the picture the Leapster GS comes with navigation buttons on both sides which many kids are familiar with from their other gaming toys. If you are familiar with the earlier Leapster version you’ll be pleased to see that the buttons are easier to reach.
Plus the Leapster GS also comes with a highly responsive touch screen. The touch screen is geared more for use with the stylus than for finger touch which is not a problem as the stylus is very easy for kids to use.
What’s in the Box?
- Naturally the LeapsterGS Explorer with 2GB memory is included
- It has a built-in 2 mega-pixel Camera / Video Camera & Microphone
- Photo Lab for editing their pictures and movies
- 1 stylus and 1 USB cable
- Motion Sensor Control for active involved learning
- 3 Educational Game Applications
- User Guide CD
The LeapsterGS Purposely Looks Like a Gaming Toy
When you first set eyes on the LeapsterGS you'll probably notice how much it looks like a handheld console like a Nintendo 3DS. That's no mistake, as the LeapsterGS is designed with gaming in mind. However, it does offer educational value too - something you'd expect from a product made by LeapFrog.
Unlike the handheld consoles from Nintendo and Sony, the LeapsterGS is robust. It's designed to withstand the kind of rough play a young child will put their toys through. Of course, the games on this device don't have the fancy graphics like those offered by Nintendo and Sony but the product will last a long time and you won't have to keep a constant eye on your child to make sure they don't drop it or throw it on the floor in a tantrum.
How is the LeapsterGS Different from the LeapPad 2?
Some potential purchasers of this product may wonder what differentiates it from the LeapFrog LeapPad 2. Aside from price, the main difference is that the LeapPad 2 has a larger screen, more memory for storing apps and is faster. The LeapsterGS however, has the advantage of being designed for conventional gameplay and also features a motion sensor control.
The motion sensor control fits with the gaming intent of the LeapsterGS, making it easy for kids to get involved with the game focused learning activities. Little ones may need some guidance on how to use this function but kids 5 years and up will have no problem at all. Another slight difference is that the LeapFrog LeapPad 2 has both a front and rear camera whereas the LeapsterGS has only the back facing camera. I doubt this will matter to most kids.
As with the LeapPad 2, it's necessary to purchase any extra games and apps that you may want beyond the included three. This makes it very likely that you'll spend a fair bit more money on this product in the long term than you might anticipate but the trade-off is that this toy's longevity can be renewed over and over again.
The LeapFrog LeapsterGS Packs an Educational Punch
In terms of educational entertainment the LeapsterGS packs a powerful punch. With more than 300 apps and game cartridges available it offers nearly all of the same downloadable apps and cartridges that are offered for the LeapPad 2.
This means that you can find a massive assortment of apps covering topics like mathematics, geography, art, music and science in a fun way. Plus if your family owns both the Leapfrog LeapPad2 and the LeapsterGS it’s good to know that many of the same games can be played on both devices.
“Pet Pad” is one of the three included apps on the LeapsterGS, kids just love this game as it helps them understand how to take care of a pet and don’t all kids beg for a puppy and kitten? “Escape the Sillies” is another included game that uses the motion sensor control and camera to help kids learn math skills while attacking monsters. With LeapFrog it’s all about creativity, interaction, and making learning fun.
The Main Thing Parents Dislike
A commonly voiced objection regarding the LeapsterGS is the lack of any built-in rechargeable battery. For power you have to make do with 4 AA batteries, a direct connection to a power source, or use the external rechargeable battery pack which is sold separately.
For the majority of parents though the positives greatly overrule the negatives with the LeapsterGS. The fact that kids love the device and take it with them everywhere, that game cartridges are interchangeable between the LeapPad and Leapster devices, and it is so easy to use.
My LeapFrog LeapsterGS Explorer Score = A-
On the whole I love this product and so do kids, I give it a grade score of a B mainly because it really grabs kids attention and makes learning more fun. The second reason is the price point which is very reasonable and you have to love the Amazon Price which is always a discount of 25% - 35% off retail.
I'd definitely recommend a LeapsterGS case for protection and the recharger to be sure the device is ready to go when the kids are.