The latest child-friendly tablet from LeapFrog is the LeapPad Ultra, a new device that boasts Wi-Fi connectivity, a kid-safe web browser, along with a larger, higher-resolution screen compared to previous models. Looking altogether more grown-up (but still being tough enough to survive whatever kids can throw at it), this could be the device to give your iPad a break from baby-sitting duty.
The LeapPad Ultra follows on from the LeapPad 2, but at first glance it's obvious that this is more than a token update. Thanks to a seven-inch screen with a 1024 x 600 resolution, it instantly looks more like a standard tablet than the LeapPad 2 (with its five-inch 480 x 272 offering). The new light-touch screen has also been designed to work with fingers or a stylus, so little users can practice their writing skills.
However, Wi-Fi capability and a kid-safe web browser are possibly the biggest additions to the device. The LeapSearch browser is powered by Zui and restricts access to age‐appropriate videos, images and sites from the web, which have all been personally vetted by LeapFrog’s Learning Team. The Wi-Fi can also be used for peer‐to‐peer play across nearby devices.
Parents, can also (via a four‐digit security code) use the wireless capability to download LeapPad content from a library. This consists of more than 800 educator-approved games, apps, eBooks, videos and music that has been selected for the target audience of four to nine-year-olds.
While the front and back camera and video recorders are still only two megapixel, the quality of video recording has been upped from 240p in the LeapPad 2 to a slightly more respectable 480p. Internal memory has also increased to 8 GB. The MP3 player functionality (which was sold separately in other models) is now included, as is a built-in lithium-ion battery which should be good for around nine hours of use.
The LeapPad Ultra is due to be available from mid-July and will retail for US$150. Downloadable apps start at $5, while game cartridges will sell for around $25.