LeapPad Ultra Review

Our rating: 4 stars
LeapPad Ultra thumbnail
LeapFrog are the market leader in kids’ tablets and their LeapPad Ultra is the latest and greatest (or anyway, the biggest) in their product range. It offers more power and features, including WiFi capability for downloading apps and accessing the LeapSearch safe internet browser. But does it live up to the manufacturer’s description? Let’s take a look.

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LeapPad Ultra Video Review

Features of the Ultra LeapPad

* 7 inch high resolution screen
* WiFi capability for downloading and accessing LeapSearch online
* Front and back cameras including video capability
* MP3 player
* 11 included apps (many more available to purchase)
* Comes in pink or green
* 8 GB storage
* Rechargeable lithium battery
* Age 4-9

LeapPad Ultra controls

Leap Pad Ultra Reviews

Kids love technology! They are fascinated to see what electronic devices can do and will often surprise you with the speed they pick things up. Educational tablets for kids have been on the market for a couple of years now, and the LeapPad from LeapFrog has consistently been a market leader.

LeapPad Ultra vs. LeapPad 2

There are several differences between LeapPad 2 and the Ultra. The one you’ll notice first is the Wi-Fi capability of the Ultra. Yes, theoretically kids can browse the internet on this – but in fact they can only access it through a secure browser called LeapSearch. Everything available to them has been screened to make sure it’s kid-safe and educational. But you can still turn off this feature if you don’t want your kids to have it.

The WiFi connection also enables you to download apps directly to the tablet instead of going through your computer. This is neat, although the WiFi can tie up the LeapPad while it downloads. You should also be aware that you need to connect through a WiFi installation in your home (or in a hotel, cafe or wherever) – it’s not like a Kindle that has direct access to the Amazon site. So if you don’t have WiFi at home your kids couldn’t use the LeapSearch option.

LeapPad Ultra verticalThe other difference you’ll notice right away if you’ve had an older LeapPad is the bigger screen size. It’s 7 inches instead of 5. This is great but it does mean that the tablet is heavier than the LeapPad 2. That’s one reason why the recommended age range starts at 4 years old instead of 3.

Any apps that you bought for an older version of LeapPad will work on the Ultra but you won’t get the screen resolution that you have with the new apps that have been designed for the Ultra. The old apps are simply enlarged for the bigger screen, making them a little blurry. But if this is your first LeapPad, that won’t be an issue.

You get more apps included with the Ultra and some of them, like Pet Pad Party, are new and improved versions. The Ultra also has a more powerful processor, more memory for storage, and better video recording quality.

So why aren’t we giving it 5 stars?

What Could Be Improved

Unfortunately the LeapPad Ultra seems to be one of those devices that is rushed into the stores for a pre-planned launch date when it could have benefited from a little more work.

At the time of writing (late August) customers are reporting that it’s very slow to download and open apps. This will make younger kids impatient and they are likely to start pressing buttons to try to make it work faster, which doesn’t help – as you’ll know if you’ve done that with a computer yourself!

We hope that LeapFrog will fix this issue soon. Take a look at the latest customer reviews through the link at the end of this article and be sure to check the dates on the reviews. By the time you are reading this the problem could be solved.

If not, take the opportunity to teach your kids to put a device down and leave it alone for a couple of minutes when it is loading something. That kind of patience is a useful skill in life!

The Verdict

The LeapPad Ultra is a great idea that could have used a little more testing and development time. It has a lot of potential and many kids will love the features that it offers.

Given the weight of it and the need to be patient when it’s slow, we think it could be a good choice for kids age 6 and up, but for a younger child you might want to go with the smaller and cheaper LeapPad 2 Power.

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Our rating: 4 stars

Published August 30th, 2013

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