Home / Mobile / Tablet / LeapPad 2 Explorer

LeapPad 2 Explorer review



1 of 7

Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2
  • Leappad 2


Our Score:



  • Solid tantrum-proof construction
  • Safe, easy to manage and easy to use
  • Very affordable
  • Lots of fun eBooks, games and apps


  • Apps on the expensive side
  • Concerns about long-term appeal

If you have a tablet and young children, then you will probably already know the plus points and pitfalls of getting the two together. On the positive side, the masses of games, videos and child-friendly apps available are great for keeping busy hands and busy minds occupied when you need them to be, while touch controls are easier than old-fashioned keys or buttons for younger kids to get to grips with. What’s more, all the major OS platforms are developing decent libraries of creative and educational apps, which can be very helpful when you want something to back up the more conventional work they’re doing at home or in school.

On the negative side, tablets are still a sizable investment, and most of us feel a little uneasy when they’re in the grips of a five-year-old, or being prodded hard and repeatedly by more impatient youngsters. Perhaps. Instead of letting the kids loose on your iPad Mini or Nexus 7, it might be better to give them something built for them. Leappad 2

Until fairly recently, that wasn’t such a tempting idea. Toy computers bore little relationship to the real thing, and the software was sometimes dire. With products like the LeapPad 2 Explorer, however, the gap is closing. No-one could accuse it of being comparable to a proper grown-up tablet, but it has its low-resolution colour display, its own touchscreen interface and its own apps ecosystem, while coming wrapped in a chassis your average five-year-old can’t mangle, and at a price your average parent might be willing and able to afford.

LeapPad 2 Explorer: The Hardware

Shipping in green or pinky-purple, the LeapPad 2 Explorer feels as much a toy as a tablet, with the 5-inch screen surrounded by an inch or more of chunky plastic in all directions, a chunky D-Pad at the bottom and two battery covers/handgrips on either side of a textured panel at the rear. It’s mostly controlled with a stylus, which slots into a recess on the right-hand side and is tethered to protect against loss. The only physical controls are the aforementioned D-Pad, volume controls to the right of the screen, a home button at the bottom and a power button to the left. Connectivity comes down to a socket for the charger, another for headphones, a cartridge slot and a mini-USB connector. It’s all very straightforward. As grown-ups, we value thinness, sleek lines and slick, metallic finishes, but in the LeapPad’s market the chunky plastic approach makes more sense. Not only is it a robust construction – it’s also very easy for small fingers to hold.

Needless to say, the screen isn’t exactly Retina-quality. A 480 x 272 resolution isn’t exactly sharp even on the rather measly 5-inch screen, and while colours are bright when viewed face on, viewing angles are predictably poor. If you’re used to an iPad, a Nexus 7 or a Kindle Fire HD then you’ll note that the LeapPad 2 Explorer’s screen limits graphical detail and how readable small text can be, but our test subject – my six-year-old daughter – had no complaints about cartoon videos, storybooks or games. If Merida from Brave looks like Merida from Brave, that’s really all she needs to know. Sound is both surprisingly full and surprisingly beefy, showing what difference a little extra size can make.

Leappad 2

LeapPad 2 Explorer: Cameras

The LeapPad 2 also packs in two cameras; a two megapixel snapper on the back, and a matching one just above the screen. Neither produces what you’d call great photos, and low-light performance is as noisy and poorly focused as you might expect – and that’s before you have your eager offspring waving the thing around mid-shot – but they’re not so bad that they can’t fulfil their intended purpose: taking quick snap shots that your little monkey can monkey around with after shooting.

Leappad 2

LeapPad 2 Explorer: Performance and Battery Life

We haven’t got too many complaints about the LeapPad 2 Explorer as a piece of hardware. The touchscreen really needs the stylus to work and even then isn’t all that responsive; any app where you have to tap twice in quick succession can be easily flummoxed. With a 500MHz processor, performance is up to running simple 2D games and videos, but even here the motion isn’t always 100% smooth. Finally, the LeapPad 2 runs on four AA batteries, with four alkalines provided in the box. You can always use rechargables, and LeapFrog sells an optional charger. With a battery life of around eight to nine hours it’s wise investing in some good ones.


January 25, 2013, 12:40 am

I bought the tinkerbell math app at $30 (!!). The trailer looked great. It said the age was 5 to 8, yet it expects the player to read instructions. When my kids complained (ages 6 and 7), I tried playing it myself and it is ridiculously confusing. DO NOT BUY THIS. I then complained to Leappad, and they said their policy is no refund on purchased apps. I am not buying apps again - they are expensive apps, and if you get tricked into buying a app by a good trailer, you can't get a refund. terrible policy.


April 7, 2013, 10:02 pm

just spent the last 2 hours reinstalling all the apps,pad would not turn on anymore and had to be 'tuned', what a bunch of rubbish


May 19, 2013, 7:33 pm

I accidentally bought a game twice and when i called customer service, they kept acting like they didn't know what I was talking about. I let them know that I already had an app game a few months before from their website which was listed in my acct on their website and it was evident because it was on my account twice and I asked if I could get a different game since it was showing that I had the same game twice and they even acknowledged that I had the game twice from when I first bought the leappad 2 and they said they would get back to me and in their response they kept saying that I wasn't charged twice. I clearly let them know that I know I was not double charged but that I re- bought a game I already had by accident and asked if I could exchange it for another app which I could download(it's not like they had to send me something, everything was downloadable apps) since I don't need the same game twice and they kept sending back emails, playing like they were dumb and couldn't understand my question, but I didn't complain anymore. I just will never buy another game again. They lost me as a customer. Yes, I understand that it was my fault for purchasing the same game twice, but I didn't like the whole acting like they couldn't understand my question, I was planning on buying a bunch more games, but not now, I will just buy a new game system from another company. I'm sure they have a lot of customers and won't miss me, but oh well I will feel better knowing they won't have my money anymore.


September 15, 2013, 2:33 am

I believe that Leap frog should really change their age span for this product. That, or to make the system more durable for little fingers. My son has had 3 three pads; all due to the screen being cracked!!!!! It does not take much 'force" to crack the screen.

The Great Debator

October 9, 2013, 10:03 am

People are buying these for children as young as 3 and 4, they are ignorant of the fact that prolonged exposer to loW level microwave transmitters (wifi devices) can have long term health effects on very young children. Just google Barrie Trower, he was a microwave scientist for the MOD.


October 27, 2013, 3:45 pm

Cant see this myself. Also who's to say Barrie Trower is correct. i have a friend who is a doctor but that does not mean he knows whats best for someones illness!


October 27, 2013, 3:48 pm

The only down side i find to this product is the battery life and the price of the Apps. if i was to rate this product i'd be giving it a 1/10 and overall quite rubbish.


November 8, 2013, 12:57 pm

I was skeptical about purchasing these for my 3 and 5 year old but my husband convinced me anyway. My concern was whether they would keep my children's attention as they are used to my iPad. Also I was aware that the games are a little on the pricey side.
However my skepticism was short lived. My kids absolutely love them. They are so customisable. There are so many apps for them and not all are on the higher priced side. I love getting new apps for the them and watching them learn and interact. They are a fabulous gift.
They are sturdy and easy to use, it's brilliant. Definitely one of the best toys we have bought them, and it keeps them off my iPad.


November 16, 2013, 2:11 pm

Leap Pad isn't wifi


November 17, 2013, 4:09 pm

That's right only the top of the range leapad2 ultra is


November 19, 2013, 11:06 pm

Just gotta put on the tin foil hat and you're good


December 8, 2013, 5:55 am

Unfortunately, Leap Frog is not longer our educational system of choice. Three days ago my 4 year old daughter's Leappad2 stopped turning on. We purchased this product in April (2013). I called the customer service, and was informed of the hoops I would have to jump through in order for them to send me another. I informed them it was now 3 weeks until Christmas, and by the time I completed all of the requirement Christmas would be over, including my daughter receiving new games for a Leappad 2 she couldn't use. They informed me they would attempt to get approval for another Leappad 2 without having to go through all the steps, and this would take about 24-48 hours. We have yet to hear from them now 4 days later. For a product that is totally, 100% child friendly, the customer service surely is not geared towards making the child happy! I now have a 4 year old who asks for her "game" every day, and having to tell her it is broken only after 8 months, is simply pitiful!! I would never recommend another Leap Frog product to any of my friends or family....EVER again!!!

Orinda M Woo

January 22, 2014, 8:52 am

I purchased a leap pad2 for my granddaughter in February 2013 for her birthday...bought the battery pack/ac adapter unit, case, hard copy game, head phones and several applications from their store to download, etc. spending a total of 428.80 give or take a few dollars here and there. Well she started using the product in March after I set it up and by the end of June the unit was no longer charging. Seeing we were away, could not deal with the situation until we returned home In August/September. I got a replacement battery pack/ac adapter from the original store (thinking this would be the best route to go seeing its made for leappad 2 and who wants to spend all that money on batteries) and the store replaced the unit and it didnt charge the leappad 2 ...I got in contact with customer service and they sent me a new leap pad 2 and chargeable batteries, that one did not work so they had me purchase alkaline batteries to see if it was the unit or the charger...well it was the battery pack not getting a charge, so they told me they would email me a shipping label to print...so I went out purchased ink for my printer...the label did not arrive in my email so I contacted them after a week of waiting and they stated they would send me another leap pad 2 and battery pack/adapter...now we are talking November/December...finally I received another leap pad 2 and charging unit and I am monitoring the charging unit and the leap pad2 hoping this would work this time, and after 4 hrs 15 mins the light goes off and I believed its fully charged...I was so excited that maybe she had a unit that was portable again so I went ahead and purchased 8 more apps for her to surprise her at Christmas. (To my knowledge I fully believed and hoped the leappad 2 was charged) The leap pad2 was never accessed or turned on except for resyncing all her old games and her new ones. She accessed her leap pad 2 on December 27-30, turned on a new game and the unit shut off after she was playing the app for 5-10 minutes so obviously it was not charged as I so believed and hoped. Well I contacted the company 2 days ago expressing my dismay and the money I put out for this toy for my granddaughter and how this unit has not been working properly more than her actually using it and I asked them what they are going to do about this situation. They wrote me back today and told me I would have to pay to send it back for testing. I just wrote them back and told them I did not feel it was my responsibility and seeing they offered to send me a label previously they could do it now....obviously I have not heard back from them yet. I am most annoyed with my last encounter with them. I definitely would not recommend the leap pad 2 with the battery pack/charger.

Patti Murrish

March 20, 2014, 2:28 pm

My grandson has a LP2 that has locked him out of 3 games. That's $75 worth of games. How do I unlock these games?

comments powered by Disqus