It’s the season for new kids’ tablets, as VTech’s announcement of their new InnoTab has been quickly followed up by the announcement of LeapFrog’s new LeapPad Ultra tablet.
The 7” LeapPad Ultra takes the same approach as VTech’s InnoTab – proprietary software on a closed-off, kid-safe device. Unlike the InnoTab 3, the LeapPad Ultra does have Wi-Fi, which kids can use to access the Internet using LeapSearch, a kid-safe Web browser made by Zui. It’s important to know that LeapSearch is additive, not subtractive – instead of filtering out bad sites, it only opens up access to trusted, approved ones. That way, there’s no danger of something slipping through the cracks of a subpar filter.
LeapFrog’s educational content can be purchased on the LeapPad Ultra, or on parents’ own smart devices. Parents can sync the LeapPad Ultra to their device, buy apps, and push them to the LeapPad Ultra later. The LeapFrog store currently features upwards of 800 apps, eBooks, games, videos, and songs that can be downloaded to the LeapPad Ultra, and a host of free educational songs, apps, and games come pre-loaded on the tablet. As for games, two LeapPad tablets can connect locally for head-to-head gaming with a friend. Some games will be available as cartridges as well as downloads.
Like with most kids’ tablets, the outer edges are oversized and comfortable for young ones to grip. There are front- and rear-facing cameras, and 8 GB of on-board storage. The battery is said to be larger than previous LeapFrog tablets.
The LeapPad Ultra will sell for $150, with pre-orders starting on July 17. Apps sell for $5 and up, while LeapFrog’s game cartridges go for about $25.