It's a fact of modern parenting that the only way of getting to use your tablet computer is to wait until your child is asleep, or get them a tablet of their own. LeapFrog is hoping its new kid-friendly LeapPad 3 and LeapPad Ultra XDi tablets could be the devices you choose to pry your little ones away from your smart devices long enough for you to send that email.
Of the new models, it's the LeapPad 3 which offers the most significant upgrade to its predecessor. It features a faster processor and an improved touchscreen over the LeapPad 2, along with the welcome addition of Wi-Fi connectivity. Meanwhile, the LeapPad Ultra XDi doesn't add much to the LeapPad Ultra, other than a new design.
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While the LeapPad 3 still uses a 5-inch screen with a modest 480 x 272 resolution, it's now of the capacitive rather than resistive variety. This, along with a new 1,000 MHz processor (the LeapPad 2 was just 550 MHz), should make for a considerably faster and smoother user experience.
The addition of Wi-Fi brings the device in-line with last year's LeapPad Ultra. This means the LeapPad 3 can now also be used to access LeapFrog’s Learning Library educator-approved games, apps, eBooks, videos and music tracks. Users will also be able to access a kid-safe web experience via the Zui-powered LeapSearch, where content has been pre-screened by learning experts.
As you'd hope, given the tablet is aimed at 3-9 year-olds, the LeapPad 3 has been designed to survive the bashes and drops it's almost certain to be subjected to. The ruggedized tablet, which has front and back two mega-pixel cameras, features special impact zones to insulate and protect it. The screen also uses shatter-safe glass to help ensure a child's safety if it was to smash.
Measuring 7.5 x 5.2 x 1 in (19 x 13 x 2.5 cm) and weighing 0.85 lb (385 g) the LeapPad 3 has 4 GB of internal memory and comes with 10 apps pre-installed. A new built-in lithium-ion rechargeable battery should mean the tablet is good for 6 hours of use on a single charge.
As we alluded to earlier, the LeapPad Ultra XDi (which was announced alongside the LeapPad 3) is less of an upgrade over its predecessor. It's essentially the LeapPad Ultra, but in a slightly different case with new color options. As such, it still features a 7-inch touchscreen at 1024 x 600 resolution, an 800 MHz processor and Wi-Fi connectivity.
The LeapPad 3 will go on sale in July for US$100. The LeapPad Ultra XDi will hit stores later in the year, priced at $130. Both tablets will come in pink or green color options.
You can check out the LeapPad 3 in the LeapFrog promo video below.