Wednesday, January 18, 2012

LeapPad Explorer v VTech InnoTab: Which Should You Buy?

!±8± LeapPad Explorer v VTech InnoTab: Which Should You Buy?

So what do the manufacturers say?

LeapPad Explorer

From the award winning educational toy company comes LeapPad, the learning tablet just for kids. With a built-in camera, and a library of 100+ games and activities, the durable LeapPad features innovative apps that inspire creativity and turn reading into fun and games. It's a new way to learn, a new way to play - a new way to unlock your child's potential!

VTech InnoTab

InnoTab is a multi-media learning handheld combining educational games, creative activities and e-books on a multi-functional touch-screen tablet. Children can develop core skills in reading, spelling, maths, logic and creativity with the many included activities such as an e-reader, art studio, interactive globe, video player and photo viewer. Plus parents can download additional games and learning apps from their computer.

What features do they have in common?

Well first things first the price, both have a RRP of 79.99. Whilst there may be some offers to be had these may be harder to come by as we get closer to Christmas.

They are both aimed at the same age market: 4-9 years.

Both come in two colours. The LeapPad is available in green or a purpley pink, the InnoTab in blue or pink.

Whilst the LeapPad is smaller in size they both have the same 5 inch screen size.

Both use touch screen technology. The InnoTab relies on the touch/motion technology for gameplay, app use etcetera, while the LeapPad also has a direction pad.

You can track children's progress for both tablets online.

Both use 4aa batteries. Although neither retailer promote the use of rechargeable batteries both tablets work fine with them, and this is likely to be a less costly option as both can eat up battery power quickly. You could use an AC adaptor with both, although neither currently has a recharging pack available.

Both allow you to purchase the same app for different consoles (great if you have multiple tablets in the house). Although LeapFrog limit their use to two consoles.

What are their differences?

The LeapPad has a built-in camera, the InnoTab does not. Whilst you can connect it to your VTech Kidizoom cameras if you do not already have these it is extra cost and another item lying around the house. The lack of a built in camera is a real let down for the InnoTab.

However to make up for the lack of camera the InnoTab has two major features which the LeapPad lacks. The InnoTab can play MP3s and downloaded movies (transferred to your computer to the InnoTab from original DVDs). Both features require the use of an SD card which again is an additional purchase, but these are reasonably cheap now. The InnoTab would therefore be great for in the car, no extra DVD player needed. The LeapPad will only play the downloaded app 'movies' which are cartoon based educational titles.

The LeapPad is more easily customisable according to your childs' age. This is a great feature for multi sibling households, or just to adjust to your childs' level.

Whilst this will be covered in more depth in the next paragraph it's worth noting that the LeapPad currently has a much wider app and software range. You can use the same cartridges and apps as the Leapster Explorer used so there is already an existing library which is continually being built on. The software differs in price. LeapPad games are cheaper with a RRP of 19.99 and lots of bargains to be had, the InnoTab software has a RRP of 24.99, and as all titles are new there aren't quite as many bargains available yet.

The built in apps differ. InnoTab has an address book, calendar, notebook, calculator, apps lacking on the LeapPad. Both have drawing programmes (although the LeapPad doesn't have an already built in colouring app, you would need to buy the Mr Pencil game for this).

What software is available?

The LeapPad has a large software library available consisting of game cartridges and apps (e-books, videos, activity apps, flash cards, games and more).

The InnoTab library is small but growing.

By and large the software available is very similar. Both tablets have character software available for purchase based on kids' favourites such as Disney Princesses, Dora the Explorer, Spongebob Squarepants, Penguins of Madagascar, Cars and Scooby Doo.

The LeapPad titles tend to be game based whereas the InnoTab titles are an e-book with smaller associated games and activities.

So which tablet is for your child?

Largely the decision boils down to which you'd rather have: camera and video-recorder built in (LeapPad) or plays movies and music (InnoTab). Plus it is worth keeping in mind that the VTech software is more expensive at 5 more. (although the apps are similar prices for both generally varying between 3.50 and 7).

The items you currently own may also affect your purchasing decision, if you already have a VTech Kidizoom the lack of camera with the InnoTab may not seem such an issue. If you already own a Leapster Explorer you will be able to use the same games and transfer the apps to the LeapPad.

Another issue to bear in mind if these are to be Christmas gifts is availability. Both manufacturers underestimated the tablets' popularity and many retailers are experiencing shortages for both.

LeapPad Explorer v VTech InnoTab: Which Should You Buy?

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