Friday, 7 September 2012

InnoTab2 V LeapPad2 - Which is better?


We have been very lucky this summer to be sent both an InnoTab2 and a LeapPad2 to have a play with.  I had a look at both and a bit of a play but to be honest I passed them on to my chief tester JJ, my near 9 year old son.  He is very tech savvy and happy to put these children's tablets through their paces.  Last year we received the original LeapPad so JJ was familiar with that but the InnoTab was new to us.

I know from chatting to my friends and seeing forum posts last Christmas that many parents have no idea which child-friendly tablet to choose.  The beauty of these is that your child cannot connect to the internet and access unsuitable content, so these offer a lot of peace of mind and of course are geared to be educational in a fun and engaging way.

To me, the untrained mum, both tablets seem very similar and I would have no idea which to choose.  It really does fall down to personal preference.You can of course search the web but often what I find is that the content out there is written by geeky types and that means that I have no idea what they are on about!  To try and help you to decide I have put together some key facts about both tablets and offered the opinion of us a real family, with 5 year old twin girls, a near 9 year old boy and a non-geeky mum and dad.


Feature
InnoTab2
LeapPad2
Manufacturer
VTech
LeapFrog
RRP
£84.99
£89.99
Best price found
£74.99 Amazon
£84.99 Amazon
Aimed at – age range
4 – 9 years
3 – 9 years
Styling
Looks as if the styling is aimed at younger kids. The casing is more bulky then the LeapPad2 but is lighter & slightly smaller than the original InnoTab.
Available in blue or pink.
Looks more sophisticated, better for slightly older children.
Available in green or lilac.
Durability
Good sturdy rubber corners, feels robust. 
I would advise a screen cover and gel screen to protect it as our original LeapPad screen broke easily. However the upgrade to LeapPad 2 and the increase in age suitability to 3 years means that LeapFrog now say it is more durable.
Screen size
5”
5”
Weight
508g
380g
Screen sensitivity
Good in-built motion sensor which allows you to use both landscape & portrait. Fun tilt function for use with games.
Good in-built motion sensor which allows you to use both landscape & portrait. Fun tilt function for use with games.
Memory
2GB internal memory and can take up to a 32GB SD card for extra storage space.
4bg internal memory and no option to add any extra.
Wi-fi capability?
Not currently but there is talk that those released nearer to Christmas will have wi-fi capability for up/downloading content.
No
Battery life
Terrible, about 2 hours for decent Duracell batteries.  In my opinion it is a must to buy a charger or to use rechargeable batteries.
However the AC adapter is very reasonable at £7.99 for a genuine VTech one.
Not great, about 3 hours for decent Duracell batteries.  In my opinion it is a must to buy a charger or to use rechargeable batteries.
Purpose made rechargeable battery pack on sale now for £24.99 (Amazon) so you can play & recharge at the same time with the AC adapter.
Easy to set up?
Yes, super easy, very intuitive.  Took about 10 minutes in total.
Yes a cinch, it took about 10 minutes in total from opening the box to it being in one of the kids hands and being played with!
What is included with it?
1 pre-loaded game and a cartridge that contains another game, a book and some black and white pictures for colouring. Also 2 Virtual coins which allow you to download 2 games or stories.
You also get 2 stylus, which is great in case you break one, but no cord to attach them which is a bit of a pain
Comes with 5 apps: Pet Pad, LeapFrog Learning Songs, Cartoon Director, Art Studio and one app of your choice.
Only 1 stylus included which has already been attached, a bit presumptive as my main user is left-handed and I needed to move it.
The LeapPad has a dial button for gameplay, so this allows for different types of play.
Games/ Apps available for it?
The range is adequate with cartridges costing about £19.99 and apps starting at 99p. Some cartridges with popular characters too, such as Hello Kitty and Scooby Doo.
The range does seem to be growing at a good rate though.
Excellent large and varied range of cartridges & apps for download (300+). Loads with kids favourite characters such as Disney Princesses and Cars. Prices start form about £3.50. By far the better selection.
Cartridges are transferable from the LeapPad Explorer too which is excellent.
Camera
1.3 MP camera with a rotatable lens meaning your child can take pictures of themselves and others.  My kids love this snappy little feature and it seems durable/ resilient too.
2MP front and back cameras, which give a good picture.
Video
Video with sound can be captured and stored.
Video with sound can be captured and stored.
Can you play music & video not recorded on the tablet?
Yes, this is a major bonus for the InnoTab. With an SD card (not included) you can play any music or films that you convert into the right (avi MJpeg) format.  A feature the LeapPad is sadly missing!
MP3 app will soon be available at an additional cost.  But only video recorded or downloaded from the LeapFrog app store can be played.
Upgraded from original?
Front and rear facing cameras, more memory, new apps, microphone, smaller casing and lighter.
Faster processor, higher resolution screen, front facing camera, more memory, new apps, improved battery life.
And for the parents?
Learning Lodge Navigator which offers a progress log, you can personalise the theme and set up a reward scheme as well as downloading apps.
Leapfrog Learning Path which allows you to see the details of your child’s progress and also to share their work with family and friends, as well as downloading apps.
Grumbles
I found it a bit slow to be honest, I got bored of the word ‘loading’ but my 5 tear old girls do not seem to mind at all.
I could not add the apps that we received with our original LeapPad to this one and the choice of free apps has now changed.
What we like…
The top plus point has to be that it works as a media player using the SD card and your kids can watch videos and listen to music at no extra cost.
It also has a stand on the back to make it easy to watch.
You can set up multiple profiles, so none of the kids work is lost by their sibling!
You can download a manual from the Vtech website.  I’m an old-school kind of girl!
The apps talk to the kids and this really helps my twins who cannot yet read.
The ArtStudio and Cartoon Director apps are a real hit!
You can set up multiple profiles, so none of the kids work is lost by their sibling!
It adjusts the learning to each child and asks more challenging questions/ adjusts the ebook as they progress.
A 5 year olds view
Miss E loves to do colouring and to play with the camera, Miss M enjoys the games.  Both find the books a bit slow.
Miss M loved the carton director app and they both enjoy looking after their pet and being able to use their LeapFrog cartridge games in it.
A near 9 year olds view
I like watching my videos on it but in general it is for little kids.
It looks cool but I far prefer my PC and DSi XL.

To conclude -
I can't really make the decision for you as it depends what you want from the tablet.


Disclosure:  We received both of these tablets for the purpose of reviewing them, I have not been instructed what to write and I remain honest.
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