Leapfrog Epic (3)

We’re living in a very connected age these days. Smarter phones, tablet devices with enough computing power to handle the Apollo missions to the moon and consoles which are that little bit closer to the bridging the uncanny valley effect. When used properly, the technology of today makes for a fantastic piece of learning hardware.

Instant information at the swipe of a finger, with activities that’ll keep your mind busy and away from boredom. Such technology however, is on the pricier side of life. So not a f*** would most parents ever give a child their very own high tech tablet to play with. That’s a recipe for disaster, with most kids liable to break the fancy Apple device or make Samsung cry.

But there are alternatives. Enter the LeapFrog EPIC, a tablet that stands for “Explore, Play, Imagine and Create” according to the manual lingo. It’s supposedly designed especially for kids from the ages of three and up, a brightly-coloured tablet that can be used by the roughest of hands and the smallest of toddlers.

Naturally, I was chosen to review it, presumably because of my child-like hands. And maturity, just like your face.

Leapfrog Epic (1)

So what’s in the box? For under R2000, you get a 7 inch touchscreen that is powered by a quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and an Android operating system. You’ve got a resolution of 1,026 x 600, 16GB of internal storage that can be expanded with the micro-SD slot and wi-fi and bluetooth connectivity. All of, that capped off with 2-megapixel cameras on the front and rear, as well as a chunky battery which can handle over 6 hours of play.

Not bad, but not exactly brilliant when you see what other tablets can do, with a similar price tag. Here’s the thing though: None of that matters.

Listen, kids aren’t smart at this age. I know you think your darling spawn is a little Einstein, but they’re not going to bust your chops over screen resolution and storage capacity. Most of them can barely tie their own shoelaces at this age (hell, a feat I only managed to achieve when I turned 21), so it’s not about how much hardware is under the hood but said technology does with it.

What the Epic is, is a tablet housed in some safety silicone, a brightly-coloured sleeve that is also home to a big stylus for their still-developing claws. While the software is adequate, you get the feeling that it never takes full advantage of the processor, resulting in some middling speeds. And that’s a slight shame, because the software is where the tablet really shines.

If I’ve learnt anything in life, it’s that children can easily be distracted by bright images and loud sounds. The interactive home screen is a winner, waiting for your brood to plug into their own custom profiles and sample the scores of activities on offer. Daily events, activities  with interactive elements and learning programs are all packed into the EPIC tablet, creating a balance between fun and actually learning something from your experiences.

Leapfrog Epic (2)

I think, because I’m not exactly the target market here and running after children outside of a school while promising them EPIC fun got me arrested more than once. But the apps are fun, at least for a while. There’s a handful of proper games on offer, but adding more to the tablet will cost you several bucks. And remember, this is a dedicated device, built on custom software: Which means no undercutting the LeapFrog marketplace and looking for cheaper apps on the Android marketplace.

LeapFrog says that there is an update that’ll allow you to access the Amazon Appstore, although I never got a chance to confirm this. Here’s perhaps the most important question however: Is it safe?

When you hand your child their first smart device, you’re also risking them being exposed to less than savoury content. Content that any parent does not want to explain or find on their devices. Fortunately, the EPIC has a built-in child-safe browser that allows you to monitor which websites they can visit, as well as a lockdown system for added protection. Which means that you won’t have to explain the disgusting facts of life sooner than you’d like.

Epic-(1)

 

Last Updated: January 19, 2016

LeapFrog EPIC
The LeapFrog EPIC isn’t a bad tablet. It’s not the best tablet either, but kids won’t realise that. What it is, is a device packed with plenty of software, apps and tools that won’t have your children accessing the kind of content you’d like them to avoid. At least until they turn older, and develop a more discerning taste in tablets that is.
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No Comments

  1. RinceThis

    January 19, 2016 at 14:53

    Brilliant! Haha! Some of my colleagues have been buying FROG stuff for their kids for a while. Eish man. At their age I was outside playing with the dog, or being tied to a tree by OvG and having tom thumbs detonated in my face (that’s the reason wallpaper flakes off when I walk past). Still, this is a good thing for children to learn the tech the world is turning into. I would love to live a few hundred years, the world will either implode or sort it self out due to smarter people.

    Reply

    • justlikemo

      January 19, 2016 at 14:56

      We give them their fair share, like time to play inside & out, so me n mommy can play inside.

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        January 19, 2016 at 14:59

        0_O OVERSHARE LV 9000+

        Reply

      • miaau

        January 19, 2016 at 15:01

        at 4, you can do that? Awesome!!!!

        But, by the time my little one is 4, her little brother / sister will be 1 and a bit. so no.

        Reply

        • justlikemo

          January 19, 2016 at 15:03

          She has 3 older siblings to hang out with.

          Reply

          • miaau

            January 19, 2016 at 15:40

            ah, see, now there it is.

      • BakedBagel

        January 19, 2016 at 15:09

        That is disgusting. It is a well documented fact, that parents (or mine anyway) donot engage in that behavior. Not Halaal at all.

        Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      January 19, 2016 at 14:58

      “I was outside being played with by the dog” fixed it for you.

      Reply

      • RinceThis

        January 19, 2016 at 14:58

        You shut your unholy trap!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          January 19, 2016 at 14:59

          🙁 I was only trying to help.

          Reply

          • RinceThis

            January 19, 2016 at 15:00

            If you wear a steak necklace the dogs will play with you, you KNOW this!

      • justlikemo

        January 19, 2016 at 14:59

        was there peanut butter involved 😛

        Reply

      • Hammersteyn

        January 19, 2016 at 15:01

        BWAHAHAHA

        Reply

    • miaau

      January 19, 2016 at 15:00

      I try and want my daughter to be fully balanced, with time outside try to use the dog as a pillow, time inside trying to use the cats as a pillow (sometimes outside as well) and time spent with electronic stuff.

      ALSO, books. Very important. We love books and, it seems, my two year old does too. She picks up her books (of which we have bought FAR too many) and “read” them herself. She spends a good bit of time doing that.

      For example, Kinectimals is pretty cool, her little finger make the tiger purr. Then she gets bored, but there is that initial interaction.

      Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      January 19, 2016 at 15:03

      I’ve seen quite a few people moaning about how people are retaining less information due to technology, because rote learning isn’t required when you can just look up whatever you need in a few seconds – and therefore that makes people less smart.

      Don’t agree with that actually. Rote learning for the sake of it is rather pointless.

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        January 19, 2016 at 15:05

        I have it on good authority that introducing kids to tablets at an early age actually does more harm than good, especially while they’re trying to learn how to write.

        Best way is the old way I’m afraid.

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          January 19, 2016 at 15:10

          You mean the actual mechanical action of hand writing? I’m not surprised.

          I still remember doing the pattern drills for learning cursive.

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            January 19, 2016 at 15:13

            Yeah, turns out because they’re no longer doing those drills, kids in our schools have trouble writing through the middle line. In other words, they start of fine and then their sentences start to curve down.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            January 19, 2016 at 15:14

            I’ve been on the internet too long. I turned that into something dirty.

      • RinceThis

        January 19, 2016 at 15:10

        Well not really. How many telephone numbers do you remember off the top of your head? When I was young I could remember a shit load, now I can remember my dad’s (in case I need money) and my own (in case I get drunk and miss place it). No more!

        Reply

        • Alien Emperor Trevor

          January 19, 2016 at 15:13

          I remembered quite a lot too, but they were ones I used regularly, along with a whole bunch of other number types & sequences. But those were ones I used regularly so it was useful. I mean more “memorise this book so you can quote it verbatim”. Why? Unless you need to do that regularly.

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            January 19, 2016 at 15:14

            Sniff… Don’t fight Rincey and Trevor, I don’t like it when my beard dads fight!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            January 19, 2016 at 15:15

            It’s not a fight. Have you seen his beard? At best it’s an… attempt. *run*

          • RinceThis

            January 19, 2016 at 15:17

            Shut it, baldy!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            January 19, 2016 at 15:18

            And, as he’s just conceded, I have more testosterone as well!

          • RinceThis

            January 19, 2016 at 15:19

            How is me saying shut it conceding? It’s because you can’t remember what we were saying, right?!

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            January 19, 2016 at 15:19

            CARROT!

          • RinceThis

            January 19, 2016 at 15:19

            Zigzactly!

          • RinceThis

            January 19, 2016 at 15:15

            Yeah, quoting books not so much. But I am quite sure that most kids these days know 2/3 numbers, and that’s it. I am sure that this affects memory retention too.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            January 19, 2016 at 15:17

            There must be balance in the learned good Force!

  2. justlikemo

    January 19, 2016 at 14:55

    bwahaha, is cool Darryn cos you like batman that why they give you these tasks.
    What app does it come with? cos my 4 year old, already plays ‘Zombies’ or PvZ.

    Reply

  3. Alien Emperor Trevor

    January 19, 2016 at 14:56

    Why is it called LeapFrog if you don’t play leapfrog with it?

    Reply

    • Hammersteyn

      January 19, 2016 at 14:56

      The same reason it has Epic in the name?

      Reply

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        January 19, 2016 at 14:56

        But why?

        Reply

        • Hammersteyn

          January 19, 2016 at 15:00

          What’s in a name? People won’t buy it if you call it the Dung Beetles Mediocracy

          Reply

          • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

            January 19, 2016 at 15:14

            I’d buy that! Is it an indie game on Steam?

          • Hammersteyn

            January 19, 2016 at 16:05

            Now, it’s EA’s next AAA title

  4. miaau

    January 19, 2016 at 14:57

    Been looking and looking at these things. The extremely high prices for the apps to add on after you purchase certainly gave me big pause.

    On the plus side, it is dedicated and already built for the kid to throw to across the room. Which will happen.

    My daughter (aged 2.2) can count (ok, so not well always) and read numbers (could do it at around 18 months, maybe earlier), without the aid of a tablet. Do I want to get one for her? Totally, I do. badly. Will I? Probably not. Will probably get a cheap ruggedised Android, configure the hell out of it with one of several Kids apps I found and go from there. Closer to the real thing, with no expensive app lock in purchases.

    I would like to get the LeapFrog products, I really would. They look so enticing, massively so. But….. cost of apps

    Reply

    • Guild

      January 19, 2016 at 15:26

      I’ve also looked at them. Tried to convince my 3 year old daughter that this better than the current option but she ain’t interested. My daughter has been using my old iPhone 5 for apps and mainly watching Youtube since she was about 2. When she turned 3 she realized that mommy’s iPad had a much bigger screen which she has now taken ownership over since as a child everything you own seems to belong to them.

      So the daily morning ritual is, I’ll be sleeping nice and comfy in my bed to be woken up around sparrow’s fart in the morning with my daughter poking me in the eyes saying are you awake, then she’ll greeting me and then tell me to get out my own bed. Once I climb out all groggy, she takes my place and promptly tells me to pass her iPad and go fetch her a bottle (heated strawberry nesquick). So I stumble downstairs trip over the snoring Saint Bernard, prepare a bottle for her, a tea for my wife and coffee for me at the same time as having the 3 cats my wife got try clawing my legs and beg me for morning food. Eventually after passing the animal obstacle course and getting back upstairs and delivery my daughters bottle addiction, I can try wake up with a coffee and listen to my daughter laugh at Tom and Jerry.

      Dunno, where I was going with this but a iPad works just fine. She can search and find what she wants. The nifty mic option in Youtube allows her to find her programs plus I’ve put strict search on. She does interact with some of the apps but Youtube is her thing.

      Reply

      • miaau

        January 19, 2016 at 15:38

        mailed your whole rant to my wife, thanks for input!

        Also good to hear we are not alone in being woken up in similar fashion.

        My daughter and I together watch Youtube videos, sometimes a performance of Bolero (she sits completely still and is focused) or Carmina Burina (she sits still and then gets up and dances) or other music type stuff. Andre Rieu is generally a favourite, together.

        Reply

      • miaau

        January 19, 2016 at 15:53

        also, look at Natures Choice (in the health section of most shops, blue packets) Strawberry milkshake for a , in theory, healthier option

        Reply

  5. Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

    January 19, 2016 at 15:01

    LEAP FROG MASTER RACE!!!!

    Reply

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      January 19, 2016 at 15:05

      But can it play Crysis?

      Reply

      • Jim Lenoir (Banana Jim)

        January 19, 2016 at 15:06

        It’s 2016, of course it can play Crysis!

        Reply

  6. VampyreSquirrel

    January 19, 2016 at 16:04

    My niece has a LeapFrog and she loves the damn thing, will sit there for hours messing around with it… and then she’ll grab the Galaxy Tab and play Angry Birds for an hour.

    Reply

  7. konfab

    January 20, 2016 at 09:53

    I suppose for watching Youtube videos and browsing a sanctified version of the web, this tablet is fine.

    But I recon Duplo is infinitely better for actual educational purposes. Which is better for learning to count? An app that introduces it artificially, or a real world problem (aka getting the right amount of rail blocks for the living room express).

    Reply

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