There are so many educational tablets for kids, that as a parent making a choice for your child can be overwhelming. You might also be wondering, what is the difference between a learning tablet and an android tablet?
Considerations for a child's first tablet often include one that is durable, fast, and that provides learning opportunities, so as a parent you can hand over the device to a child without a worry that they are accessing inappropriate information.
LeapFrog brought one of the first educational tablets to the toy aisles in 2011, and in 2015, the Epic tablet is their first tablet with an Android processor. Android processors are a faster processor usually found in more expensive tablets used for playing games and watching movies like the Kindle Fire and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. While the Epic has features similar to their LeapPad tablets, there are some differences.
The Epic includes a 7-inch, high resolution screen. The tablet has 16 GB of memory, but is expandable up to 32 GB. A 2 mega pixel front and rear camera allows kids to take pictures and videos. It's durable and includes a long-lasting 6+ hour battery life. There is a lithium-ion rechargeable battery built-in. The Epic is recommended for kids in the 3-9 year-old age range. The tablet also includes a soft outer bumper for protection and an attached, soft tip stylus.
Unlike other LeapPad tablets, once children log-in to their profile, the background on the Epic has interactive, customizable and searchable scenes.
The scenes will change from day to night, depending on the real time of day. Kids can use the stylus to tap on items on the screen and watch the pictures interact. The illustrations on the home screen of the Epic are gorgeous and unlike anything I've ever seen on the home screen of any kid's tablet.
It is possible for a child or adult to customize the home screen, placing their favorite apps on the first screen.
Like many other LeapFrog tablets, the Epic also includes Leapsearch. This app gives kids safe access to the internet, only allowing them to view educator approved videos, images and website content. Parents can continue to give their children a fast device, and hand it over easily, knowing they are accessing content for their age. Parents have full control over viewable content from this app in the parent settings, and can add or restrict content as necessary.
Other apps on the Epic allow kids to keep track of weather in real-time. There is a built-in calculator, customizable calendar, and an integrated clock/stopwatch/timer. A note taking app encourages kids to create their own notes by typing them using a standard on-screen QWERTY keyboard. A voice memo app allows for 15 different memos that children or their parents can use to create with their own voice.
The Parents Settings on the Epic are very detailed and customizable. Child Controls gives parents an opportunity to allow the device to operate differently with usage on weekends versus weekdays. In the App Manager, parents can also restrict specific apps and website content.
If there is more than one child in the family using the tablet, parents can also make each child's profile unique to their strengths and weaknesses.
Battery percentage is more detailed on the Epic, both parents and children will know exactly how many hours and minutes are left on the charge before the device needs to be plugged in. The Epic has bluetooth capabilities and an airplane mode for in-flight travel.
There are 2 new apps on the Epic. Story Spinner, Super Spinner and Surprise Spinner prompts children to record words (adjectives, nouns, names) and sound effects. These recordings are integrated into a story, similar to Mad Libs, so kids can create a silly story. The Word of the Day features a new word of the day. Kids can learn how to spell it, hear a vocabulary definition, and listen to the new word in a sentence.
There are about 15 songs preloaded onto the device, but these nursery rhymes and songs will appeal most to 3 and 4-year-olds.
The Epic comes preloaded with a few game options, Pet Pad Party and Stretchy Monkey 2. Pet Pad Party allows kids to design a pet, give it a name, interact with it and customize their home. For children who are familiar with other LeapFrog tablets, they will be familiar with the Pet Pad apps.
The App Center is an app where kids and parents download new apps and games onto the device for a fee from LeapFrog's App Center. Prior owned LeapFrog game apps may be compatible and downloadable on the Epic. However, the Epic does not play LeapFrog cartridges that are generally sold in retail stores. It is, however, possible to download the Amazon App Store on the Epic, and detailed instructions are here.
If you have a secure network, make sure you plan ahead and know how to easily add a new device to your network. The Epic is a fun tablet, but without the use of wifi, there isn't a lot of game content pre-loaded onto the device. Since the Epic doesn't use any of the LeapPad game cartridges, there isn't much to keep kids busy for to long right out of the box.
The LeapFrog Epic has some new features that are different than the LeapFrog LeapPad tablets. The Epic is the first LeapFrog tablet that allows the Amazon App Store to be downloaded onto the device. This allows a child, under the guidance and supervision of their parents,to gain access to a wider variety of content as they age and their skills advance.
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.