Vtech InnoTab vs. LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer

Vtech InnoTab vs. LeapFrog LeapPad Explorer

My 2 1/2-year-old (almost 3 in Feb­ru­ary) son can turn our iPad on, nav­i­gate to the Net­flix icon and choose a movie of his lik­ing. While there are a few of you out there shak­ing their heads, I’m accept­ing this as a sign of the times and try­ing to embrace his–what seems to be–innate sense for tech­nol­ogy. Of course I secretly think my son could be a genius, but I am very aware many oth­ers his age have the same savvy techno skills that we could not have com­pre­hended dur­ing our child­hood. With that, I do think it’s a risky habit to allow a 3-year-old to use our very expen­sive “toy” for his own enjoy­ment. So I did some com­par­i­son shop­ping for learn­ing tablets for kids avail­able this hol­i­day season.

Basi­cally, there are two touch screen learn­ing pads on the mar­ket that are kid-friendly ver­sions of the iPad – Vtech’s Inno­Tab and LeapFrog’s Leap­Pad Explorer. Both are very sim­i­lar in func­tion­al­ity. The Inno­Tab is about $20 cheaper, at $79, but more on that later. What I have found, and seems to be a reoc­cur­ring theme on all the cus­tomer feed­back online, is there is no true winner–your deci­sion should be based on the func­tions you feel best suite your child and fam­ily. Here are some quick tech­ni­cal specs and my positive/negatives for each prod­uct that I’m bas­ing my deci­sion on for our family.

Vtech Inno­Tab

Vtech Inno­Tab Tech­ni­cal Specs:

  • Bril­liant 5″ color touch screen sup­port­ing tap, flick and drag actions.
  • Graph­ics capa­bil­ity and sound.
  • Tilt-sensor for por­trait or land­scape viewing.
  • 64MB onboard mem­ory and SD card slot for mem­ory expan­sion.
  • Con­nects to PC/Mac with included USB cable.

My pos­i­tives: Has MP3 player. You can down­load music and video to the Inno­Tab. Leap­Pad you have to buy movies from the company.

My neg­a­tives: You will need to pur­chase the SD Card sep­a­rately to add more mem­ory and allow you to down­load music and movies, but gives you up to 16GB. Added cost makes this almost a wash with the Leap­Pad cost.

Inter­ac­tive E-Books Bring Read­ing to Life Kids will be cap­ti­vated by InnoTab’s vivid and inter­ac­tive e-books, which offer nar­ra­tion, char­ac­ter voices, graph­ics, sounds, and music. Chil­dren can learn read­ing com­pre­hen­sion, vocab­u­lary, and phon­ics while inter­act­ing with ani­mated char­ac­ters. Words are high­lighted as kids read, and offer proper pro­nun­ci­a­tion when touched on the screen.

Each e-book also comes with a story dic­tio­nary. The def­i­n­i­tions make it easy for chil­dren to under­stand the word and the con­text of the story.

Fun and Edu­ca­tional Games, Activ­i­ties, and Tools The Inno­Tab offers a vari­ety of games and activ­i­ties that keep your child happy, learn­ing, and occu­pied for hours. Its mul­ti­me­dia play­ers let chil­dren lis­ten to music and view video, while the art-studio app allows them draw with their fin­gers or the included sty­lus. Kids can even color in the InnoTab’s vir­tual col­or­ing book and bring these pic­tures to life by tilt­ing the tablet from side to side. Chil­dren can learn how to sched­ule their busy days with the cal­en­dar func­tion, while keep­ing track of friends and fam­ily in their address book. A cal­cu­la­tor is also included to help kids learn math.

Update and Cus­tomize Through Your Com­puter Just like an adult’s touch­pad device, the Inno­Tab syncs to any Mac or PC with the included USB cable. Once you con­nect it to the web, you can eas­ily down­load games, e-books, apps, and other fun activ­i­ties from VTech’s Learn­ing Lodge. Par­ents can also use the Learn­ing Lodge to stay abreast of their kid’s progress on a vari­ety of edu­ca­tional lessons and milestones.

Library of Feature-Rich Soft­ware Car­tridges VTech offers a vari­ety of change­able soft­ware car­tridges (sold sep­a­rately), pro­vid­ing inter­ac­tive e-books, learn­ing games, and cre­ative activ­i­ties. Kids can play and learn with some of their favorite char­ac­ters, includ­ing Dora the Explorer, Mickey Mouse, Dis­ney Princesses, and the gang from Toy Story.

LeapFrog Leap­Pad Explorer

Leap­Pad Explorer Tech­ni­cal Specs:

  • 5″ color touch screen, 480x272 pixel resolution.
  • In-built cam­era with video record­ing capa­bil­ity, embed­ded microphone.
  • Tilt-sensor for por­trait or land­scape viewing.
  • 2GB onboard memory.
  • Con­nects to PC/Mac with included USB cable.

My pos­i­tives: Has a built in cam­era and video func­tion. Inno­Tab does not allow your child to take pho­tos or video, how­ever you can down­load both to the InnoTab. 

My neg­a­tives: Does not have a built in MP3 player.

Built-In Cam­era Encour­ages Cre­ativ­ity Pre­pare to be amazed by the wacky and touch­ing videos, pho­tos, and art­work that your child will pro­duce using the Leap­Pad. Voice-guided instruc­tions make it easy for chil­dren to edit and share their cre­ations with friends and fam­ily. And with 2 GB of built-in mem­ory, the Leap­Pad has plenty of space to store your bud­ding director’s cre­ations. The built-in cam­era allows kids to become the stars of their own sto­ries. The Story Stu­dio and Art Stu­dio apps allow chil­dren to mod­ify pic­tures they take and drop them into sto­ry­books. Both apps are free and can be down­loaded once you reg­is­ter the device.

Lev­eled Read­ing Expe­ri­ence LeapPad’s Ultra eBook are inter­ac­tive, cin­e­matic expe­ri­ences designed to guide chil­dren through books and immerse them in the joy of read­ing. Each book is actu­ally three books in one, with dif­fer­ent lev­els and modes opti­mized to sup­port read­ing devel­op­ment. As a child builds his/her read­ing skills, the lev­els adjust auto­mat­i­cally and are remem­bered from book to book. The Ultra eBook inno­v­a­tive activ­i­ties build com­pre­hen­sion skills and expand vocab­u­lary with sup­port fea­tures that allow your child to touch a word to see its image, touch an image to see the word high­lighted in text, touch words to hear them sounded out, or find def­i­n­i­tions in the visual dic­tio­nary. All of this with char­ac­ters that chil­dren will love, brought to life through ani­ma­tion that keeps chil­dren engaged as they learn.

Dis­cover a World of Learn­ing With more than 100 learn­ing games, videos, books, and apps avail­able for Leap­Pad, it’s easy to keep your child enter­tained on long car trips or at your favorite restau­rant. Leap­Pad has a game car­tridge slot for back­wards com­pat­i­bil­ity with the entire exist­ing Leap­ster Explorer Library, the cur­ricu­lum cov­ers spelling, phon­ics skills, math­e­mat­ics, sci­ence, music, geog­ra­phy, and more. The Leap­Pad also auto­mat­i­cally adjusts learn­ing so that kids can learn at their own pace while stay­ing engaged. They can even prac­tice writ­ing with the included child-sized stylus.

Track Your Child’s Progress The LeapPad’s online tool, the Learn­ing Path, allows you to tune into your child’s progress and track achieve­ments. You can choose to receive reg­u­lar e-mail updates on your child’s accom­plish­ments, which pro­vide insight into where your child may need addi­tional sup­port and give you new ideas for even more learn­ing fun.


So, while I feel there are many pos­i­tives for the Leap­Pad Explorer, we have other Leap­Pad prod­ucts that I’m very happy with, I’m choos­ing the Vtech Inno­Tab for the MP3 player func­tion­al­ity and think it may be bet­ter suited for his young age. While I don’t want Jacob to only watch movies on it, this fea­ture is handy for trav­el­ing and when he’s not using the learn­ing appli­ca­tions. Again this is only my per­sonal opin­ion and feel that either device has about the same pos­i­tive options so it only depends on what the needs of your own chil­dren are. In the mean­time, I need to go charge our iPad again! 



  1. Dayna says:

    Thank you! I really appre­ci­ate your detailed infor­ma­tion. We have a 2 year old also & like your son, he learns very quickly. He learned a-z by 21 months and he signs (ASL) them as well. I started let­ting him use my iPhone & YouTube for some fun phon­ics & now I’m con­cerned he’s hooked! He plays with other toys, Play­ing out­side and at the park a lot. But I’m just con­cerned that if I get this it will be all he wants to play with? Does your son play almost exclu­sively with the vtech or does he read books a lot too? Thank you again!

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