When Leapfrog introduced its LeapPad learning tablet a few years ago, I wondered what they
could do to top it. Now I know: their latest version, the LeapPad Ultra, has really (pardon the pun) leapfrogged its predecessors. Leapfrog sent us a couple of LeapPad Ultras to try out, and my boys have played with it even more than they played with the LeapPad and the LeapPad 2. Considering they are 1 year older, that says a lot! I feel like Leapfrog actually listened to the feedback they received from parents, because the LeapPad Ultra has addressed many of the issues I had with the previous versions:
The first big change is something you can't miss: the LeapPad Ultra has a much bigger screen (7 inches versus 5 inches for earlier versions. The bigger screen is great because young kids may not have the fine motor control to navigate smaller screens.
The second big change: A rechargeable battery, my favorite new feature! This was a frequent complaint of mine with the older versions so I'm ecstatic that Leapfrog has listened to me and other parents. Now we don't have to spend a fortune on batteries.
The third big change: the Ultra now has built-in wifi! Now parents can connect their kids' tablets to their home wifi network. It makes downloading apps onto the tablet much, much easier.
The LeapPad Ultra takes full advantage of its wi-fi connectivity by providing a kid-safe browser so kids can enjoy videos straight from the web. The browser only shows websites that have been pre-approved by Leapfrog. I appreciate Leapfrog's concern for kids' security, but I find the browser too restrictive and I wish parents could enter their own websites in a "safe" list.
Another great feature that wifi provides is peer-to-peer gaming. If you have two kids, get each kid their own LeapPad Ultra, and they will be able to play games with each other! They can play simple games like tic-tac-toe....
... they can visit each other's Pet Pads and chat with each other....
With apps like Turbo and other racing games, they can even race against each other!
This makes the LeapPad Ultra a lot more like a gaming console, so kids will still be playing with the LeapPad Ultra at an older age.
The new LeapPad Ultra has been introduced at a slightly higher price point, $150 instead of $100, but I think the expanded features more than justify the added investment. Get it for your 4 year old so he/she can grow with it, and you'll get a long, happy life out of it!
Disclosure: I received product samples to facilitate my review, but have not been paid to review the product or give my opinions. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.