LeapFrog LeapPad2 Review

Learning Tablet for Kids ages 3-9


The LeapFrog LeapPad made its debut as the premier kids tablet for children ages 4-9, and was voted Toy of the Year in 2011. In 2012 the LeapFrog LeapPad2 replaced the original LeapPad, offering more speed, memory, an additional video camera and a growing library of over 325 games, ultra eBooks, videos, and music. While it is possible to still buy the LeapPad2 new, the LeapPad2 has been replaced by newer, faster tablets like the LeapFrog EPIC and the LeapFrog Platinum.

Features of the LeapPad2

  • Age rated for kids 3-9
  • 5" screen size with 480x272 resolution
  • 550 MHz processor
  • Powered by 4 AA batteries that provide up to 9 hours of play
  • 2 Built-In Video Cameras and Video Recorders (Front and Back)
  • 4GB memory
  • Compatible with all LeapFrog Explorer cartridges and apps, and LeapPad1 learning apps
  • USB port
  • Headphone jack
  • Game cartridges retail for $24.99
  • Apps in the LeapFrog App Center retail for $5 and up
  • Recharger can be purchased as an accessory
  • Limited 1 year warranty
  • 4 profiles customizable with wallpaper and photos
  • Accessories include gel skins, headphones, neoprene sleeves, backpacks, display cases, and recharger packs are available for additional purchase

Software and Apps

The LeapPad2 Tablet arrives with 5 apps out of the box that include:

  • LeapFrog songs (Punc, Punc, Punctuation, Sticky Icky Vowels, The Blends Rock, Hop, Hop, Hop, ABC)
  • Cartoon Director - an app where children film, create and star in their own cartoons
  • Art Studio - using their finger on the touch screen or the attached stylus kids can free-draw or use stamps over a blank screen or photo
  • Pet Pad - kids feed, wash and design their own virtual pets, while also practicing upper and lowercase letter formation
  • The ability to download your choice of one free app through an internet connection from the LeapFrog App Center that may include Roly Poly2, LeapSchool Music, Ozzie & Mack eBook, or the Letter Factory Video
  • LeapFrog App Center includes over 325 e-books, learning games, videos and music
  • LeapFrog Ultra E-books can be downloaded or bought as cartridges that feature characters such as Disney Princesses, Cars characters, and Thomas & Friends


LeapPad1 vs. LeapPad2

The LeapPad1 was voted Toy of the Year in its first season as a learning and educational tablet for kids ages 4-9. For the first time ever, the LeapPad1 provided a whole new experience for young children to have a tablet o their own. While not as expensive as an iPad, the LeapPad included touch screens and tilt sensor technology, so kids could play creative educational games focused on science, math, and social studies.

A video camera also let children create movies and still images to be created on the device. In addition to games, which could be bought as cartridges or downloaded, intuitive Ultra E-Books also provide another way to promote reading. The software can automatically adjust the print size, sentence structure and vocabulary, based on 3 different reading levels. Kids love the LeapFrog Ultra E-books, and often do not even know they are learning. The books include popular characters such as Disney Princesses, Disney Cars characters and Thomas & Friends.

They books also include mini-games and kids can earn badges and awards that help unlock additional rewards when the device is connected to the computer.

The LeapPad2 integrates all of the same amazing features of the LeapPad1. The screen sizes are the same size, but the LeapPad2 device is slightly thicker. Both tablets weigh 1 lb. However, the LeapPad2 includes 2 video cameras, 1 in the front and another in the back. The processor within the LeapPad2 device is remarkably faster than the LeapPad1. Just like the LeapPad1, the LeapPad2 will also play any of the previous LeapFrog Explorer game cartridges and Ultra e-books, allowing families to invest in a variety of LeapFrog products without fear they will become obsolete and require replacement. Looking for something more current, there are similarities and differences with the LeapPad Platinum and the LeapPad EPIC, too.

In case a LeapPad2 tablet has been passed on from an older sibling, or you find one at a yard sale for a good price, even though it is not the newest, fastest LeapFrog tablet, the LeapPad2 can still provide some great learning opportunities for young children. 

Do not be surprised, the LeapPad2 is slow in comparison to the touch screen smartphone and iPad devices adults use. However, children do not often notice the slower transition speed between apps and the home screen. It could take almost 6 seconds to transition into a new app. 

If you have set aside a budget to buy apps in the App center online, all of the apps bought have a 3 device license. This means that the same app can be downloaded on up to 3 LeapFrog devices at any given time. So, if you have upgraded to newer tablets for older children, 3 different kids in the same family can play the same game that you bought once, on all of their tablets.

The content on the LeapPad tablets is amazing. There are apps, experiences and games for children as young as 3. Over time, children will learn to play different games, and use some of the more complicated features of the tablet, such as learning how to use the stylus and tilt the device while playing games. 

For any child, make sure you know their developmental level and interests when deciding whether to buy a learning tablet. The educational content in the cartridges is perfect for children at the developmental level of a 4-7 year old. Children within this age range are generally in preschool, kindergarten and first grade. However, for an older child in the 8-9 year old age level depending on their interests and skill level, you may want to consider investing in a more advanced kid's android tablet that has parental controls and the ability to play more advanced apps, watch movies and safely navigate the internet through wifi.

The LeapFrog LeapPad series of tablets are great first tablets for young children. Parents do not need to worry about their children texting, making phone calls or accessing inappropriate movies, apps or games.

The tablet does need to be connected to a computer to download the games, but it does not use wifi, so it is great for travel, especially on trains or airplanes where wifi access and streaming are often limited.

Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.