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LeapPad Ultra Vs. Tabeo e2: Are Either the Right Tablet For Your Children?

By Kelcey Kintner

Your child has put together their holiday wish list and guess what’s right at the top? A tablet. One of those fancy, interactive things with apps and games.

As a parent, you want to buy them something entertaining, educational and SAFE. Did I mention safe? Because holiday magic does not mean your child freely surfing the Internet while you watch “It’s a Wonderful Life.” So what do you buy?

Alpha Mom decided to look at two kids’ tablets that are on the retailers’ Hot Toy List this holiday season. (Also FYI: The Tabeo is only on the Toys R Us Hot Toy List because it was designed by them.) So how do the LeapPad Ultra and Tabeo e2 measure up? To find out, I put together my own focus group. Okay, it was made up of my 5 kids (6 months – 9 years old) although the baby just wants to eat the tablet. We tested them so you could figure out if either is right for your family.

(Last year we tested out and reviewed the “hot” learning tablets, the LeapPad 2- the last version- and the VTech Innotab. After determining the InnoTab 2S was a bust, we didn’t bother to review it again.)

The LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Kids’ Learning Tablet

LeapFrog LeapPad Ultra Kids' Learning Tablet ReviewMy first question when I look at a tablet for kids is – how easy is it to set up the parental controls? I had no problem setting up a parent password and could easily shut off the WiFi. Parents can also let children explore LeapSearch which offers secure browsing of pre-approved content. There is no Facebook or YouTube or anything like that – just pre-approved kid-friendly categories like pets, sports and singing. But be warned, kids can also access and watch app trailers.

I felt very comfortable letting my children explore this tablet which costs about $150, geared toward ages 4 – 9 and has 8 GB of memory. All of my girls (ages 3, 6 and 9) really like the LeapFrog.  It comes with 11 preloaded apps, including Art Studio Ultra, Photo Fun, an MP3 player with 10 included songs, a camera and video recorder. You also have access to over 800 fun apps, games, videos, e-books and music but obviously you have to pay for many of these additional apps and cartridges. The LeapPad apps cost $5 and up each.

My kids really got into the Art Studio and loved the fact that they could save their artwork under their own login name and photo. At times, I did notice a bit of a lag in response time on the device but my kids never complained about it.

Final Word: I can totally imagine taking this on a car ride to keep the kids entertained. Like any technology, I viewed the LeapFrog as “screen time” so they weren’t allowed to spend hours on it. But I like how creative, educational and interactive it is. If you are looking for a tablet, this is a good one with little parental stress!

Tabeo e2

Tabeo e2The Tabeo e2, currently selling for $130, is geared for kids ages 5 and up and comes with 30 preloaded apps! It’s the same size and and feel as the LeapPad. This tablet has 8 GB of storage space and is expandable up to 64 GB with a microSD card (sold separately).

My kids loved playing games like Life, Bejeweled 2, Fruit Ninja and Temple Run. There are also learning apps like Operation Math and language learning with Little Pim but my children did not gravitate towards them. The screen offers a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels for a very impressive picture with a lot of clarity.  It also has a dual facing camera and microphone.

The device is Bluetooth and Wi-Fi enabled. Because of COPPA (the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act), parents have to register tablets before children can access the internet. You will be guided through this process. I still couldn’t quite figure out how to set up the parental controls after I registered but I called the help line and I was quickly guided through the process.  You can easily forbid access to all kinds of things like pornography, search engines and content with advertisements. You can also limit the amount of time your child spends on any app or completely deny access to specific applications all together. As a parent, you will definitely feel empowered on this tablet.

Final Word: It’s about $20 cheaper than the LeapPad and comes with a lot more apps. Plus the technology felt faster to me. My kids loved playing all the games. It does not feel very educational despite some apps focused on learning. My children could never figure out how to create art on the Tabeo’s DigiTool Paint App. Meanwhile, it was effortless on the LeapPad’s Art Studio.

Would I Buy Either of These Kid Tablets?

Absolutely. My kids really loved both! The Tabeo is more just pure entertainment (because of the focus on games) while the LeapPad feels more educational and creative. Although I feel like you would absolutely need to download more apps for the LeapPad to keep kids interested in the device overtime. It seems like for the c. $149 price tag, LeapFrog should have included a few more free applications.

Still, for my kids (9 and under), I would choose the LeapPad because it’s more creative and I like the LeapSearch instead of the Internet. But you really can’t go wrong with either kids tablet.

About the Author

Kelcey Kintner

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog 

Kelcey Kintner, an award winning journalist and freelance writer, is a fashion critic for US Weekly, created the humor blog The Mama Bird Diaries and writes for the Huffington Post. You can follow her @mamabirddiaries or on Facebook. She’s still trying to fit 5 kids on a Vespa. 

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