Review: My Son's Leap Frog LeapPad Tablet, Grrrrr!
December 31, 2012 by

It was a brisk but sunny, New Years Eve morning on the Treasure Coast. I heard the joyous sounds of my children at play!
After I brushed my teeth, I anxiously went towards my four year old's room where they were, to see....

Oops, sorry about that. Sometimes when I write about my life, I get into an old time storyteller mode. Let's try this again!...

A year and a half ago, my mother in law bought a Leapfrog LeapPad for my oldest as he requested. Cool toy, but he quickly grew out of the games he had. Aside from the game you blow in to, to dry something's hair, I can't remember him taking a strong interest in this. He already reads well and has lots of other Leap Frog and Vtech educational toys that provide similar benefits, so he became bored with this quicker than I had hoped. The video and camera are both pretty cool, but for a $99 toy, with a suggested age of 3 - 9 years old, I thought it should have been made to withstand the expected wear and tear caused by kids, like dropping!

After months of not playing with the LeapPad, my 6 year old has been thinking he needs "big kid' things. He asked me to paint his room over and has been giving his "baby" toys to his younger brother, including the LeapPad. I couldn't allow that since he was getting a few new LeapPad cartridges for Christmas from my sister. Christmas has passed, now we fast forward to today, New Years Eve! Usually, I wake up early because of the alarm clock, or my kids jumping on top of me screaming "I'm hungry mommy". But today, I was left alone and had a natural rise that only the biological timer can give. So there was no dizziness or headache from being frightened out of sleep or the usual "Damn it, give me a few more minutes" morning grunt. I felt pretty good. After "prepping" myself, I went to see what my kids were up to. My husband was getting dressed to go outside and trim the bushes, and I saw my kids playing games, so I told them to get dressed and go outside with him. They started to get ready and then I thought about my husband cutting bushes and the way my 4 year old runs around aimlessly. Screeeech! Nevermind that idea, I told them to stay inside and play (kids and tree cutting do not mix!).

My 6 year old went back to the playstation and my 4 year old to the LeapPad and we discover that it is NOT working. Damn it!

Less than a week ago my son dropped the LeapPad (on our carpet). Since then it had no volume and it also refuses to accept the AC adapter, so we've been forced to use batteries. I can put brand new batteries in this in the morning and by that evening they would have to be replaced (did I mention this toy has horribly short battery life?) It drains battery life, especially the video part...which sucks since that is the most fun they've had with this.

My son came running to me saying it wont even turn on. Really? After a drop on carpet by someone who isn't even 4 feet tall yet? I  complained about no volume before, but now it won't even turn on. So we have a completely broken LeapPad. I'm not telling my mother in law or sister, that would hurt their feelings...and I'm definitely not spending money to buy another one. So now I'll just have to return the new games my sister bought! :(

Experience with the LeapPad: I don't know if our LeapPad was defective, but in the very beginning syncing took longer than expected and it froze on the start up screen on a few occasions. I spoke with other moms who have purchased this and a few of them had the same complaint. After a short while, you may notice the cost for batteries, extra parts and cartridges becomes a waste when thinking about how much our kids benefit from it. I had an AC Adapter, but after my son dropped his LeapPad (I was there when it happened and it was in my living room on carpet, not even a hard hit), the volume stopped working, as did the ability for the LeapPad to obtain power from the adapter. I tried another adapter and it worked long enough to power on, then it went off again. I won't purchase one to replace it (can't afford for this to happen again). The manufacturer buyer protection is useless and the ToysRUs protection is a nuisance. Good toy when money is no object!

What's good: If you're in the learning to read, learning numbers stages, its great. If your child likes to play on your cell phone/Ipad/tablet, this may be a good exchange.

What's bad: It takes batteries, doesn't come with a free adapter. It doesn't have rubber sides. The screen can be scratched, You have to buy additional things for everything (screen protector, rubber skin, batteries, adapter). Even after buying all those things, it may be useless. It's not really made for kids 7 - 9 (a little childish), its not really made for kids 3 - 6 (not durable, breaks easy)

My son's a little advanced so that may be the reason why I don't find it necessary to replace this. Unfortunately, because the LeapPad broke before he had a chance to try his new games, I cannot comment on whether they're worth the cost. We have Leapfrog Tag, Leapster and quite a few Leapfrog toys for toddlers that I will be giving away since they out grew them, so I can honestly say the company makes great learning toys, but I was a bit disappointed with the LeapPad 1.


Ronda Writes Product Review Disclaimer: The above review is my own opinion of this product.
Leap Frog LeapPad Tablet