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Leapster GS Explorer - Games and Verdict

By Stuart Andrews



Our Score:


Leapster GS Explorer - Games

We - and more importantly our more youthful test subjects - like the Leapfrog apps and games. They’re colourful. They’re fun. They actively promote learning and creativity. Yet it has to be said that they don't have a lot of long-term depth. Younger children won't mind the lack of tasks or levels or the way they're repeated throughout a game, but older ones might hit the limits fairly soon. Meanwhile, eBooks just aren't as well-presented or interactive as many of the equivalents we're seeing on smartphones and tablets, and the preponderance of loud American voices is a constant irritant, if only to the parents.

Leapster GS Explorer

Up to a point, none of these are major issues. These are cheaper and less capable devices than an iPad, Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7, and it’s a bit much to expect games with the depth of a Legend of Zelda or Pokemon. However, these eBooks, apps and games don't come cheap. While there are eBooks and apps available from £3.50, most of the eBooks and creativity apps sell for £5, and games come to between £5 and £20. When these titles compare to the kinds of smartphone and tablet apps that usually sell for well under a fiver, the pricing seems unnecessarily expensive. £3.50 for eight PoCoYo episodes also feels a little steep, and that’s one of the better value collections of video content we’ve found.

Leapster GS Explorer - Long-term appeal

Our other big concern about the Leapster GS Explorer is its ongoing appeal. LeapFrog puts the age range at 4 to 9, but the apps and games – not to mention the educational content – seem skewed towards the younger end. We’d hesitate before buying the system for anyone aged eight or nine.

Leapster GS Explorer

The key thing really is value. At the time of writing you can buy a Leapster GS Explorer at less than half the £65 RRP, at which price it’s a good buy for parents of young primary-age children looking for a means to keep them busy. It won’t cost you much for the system and a few apps or games, they’ll have fun, and they’ll be involved in activities that support their learning too. At nearer the RRP, however, the Leapster GS Explorer starts to look less inviting, and the price of games and apps is more likely to stick in your craw.


At the right price, the Leapster GS Explorer can be a good buy. It might not have a great screen, high specs or a half-decent camera, but it gives your kids a lot of fun things to do, and access to a library of entertaining, education-heavy apps. However, the appeal to older kids in the proposed 4 to 9 age range may be limited, and the games and apps are expensive and limited in long-term depth. You might want to think carefully before paying the £65 RRP.

Overall Score


Alex Walsh

January 23, 2013, 3:21 pm

The pink version of this was recently 20 quid on a rainforest themed tax avoiding website. Even with expensive games, it's definitely worth more than that.


January 25, 2013, 12:42 pm

Tough and rugged but most kids will have outgrown this by age 5.
The apps are expensive and most of them seem to have the same "teach my kids to count to ten with an American accent" theme.
There are some gems (such as the game "Jewel Train") but most of the apps here would find a better equivalent (and far greater selection) on the Ipad/Android tablets for about a third of the price.
I've also found that downloading new apps from your PC to this, if you pull the USB lead out without clicking on the "remove device" icon on their Leapfrog connect software you can corrupt the whole device...(Happened to me 3 times so far and also happened on the old leap pad 1)..which takes hours of software re-installation to fix. This even happens on Windows 7 so feels like a real throw-back to the dark days.

PS: You are meant to use the stylus to remove the battery cover.
(Put the point of the stylus into the circular hole on the battery cover and it pops right off).

Stuart Andrews

January 25, 2013, 2:35 pm

Hi Max

Are we talking about the same generation product? I have my review sample here with two battery covers, neither of which has a circular hole. They should slide off, but they don't.
I share most of your reservations. At £30 it's decent value, but I wouldn't want to pay more than that, and the app pricing is roughly 50 to 200% too high (depending on app).


January 25, 2013, 4:53 pm

Hi Stuart - Well spotted on the battery covers. Just checked and mine are slightly different (Bought it in the US) and have a tiny circular depression near the edge. The front looks identical to yours.


January 25, 2013, 9:32 pm

Shame this review didn't come out before christmas1

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