Guest reviewer Karen is a high school VP with two daughters, ages two and four. She’s a long-time precision ice skater who still finds time to compete. How?, I ask. How?!
My four-year-old daughter recently received the V-Tech InnoTab 3 and I was excited to see how it would compare to the LeapPad 1 we already owned. My younger daughter is starting to show interest in the her sister’s toys, so having two tablet-like devices would make my life a little easier…and fewer battles to manage is just fine with me!
The V-Tech InnoTab 3 was very easy to set up. Downloading the Learning Lodge to my computer was fast and straightforward, and it was simple and quick for me to set up profiles on the device.
Like the LeapPad, multiple users can be set up on the tablet.
The InnoTab 3 has some similar features to the LeapPad, like a built-in drawing program, and both devices have cameras; but on the InnoTab 3, it rotates — a nice bonus.
There is one track of music preloaded onto the tablet.
The one thing that V-Tech offers with the purchase of the InnoTab 3 that LeapFrog does not is a free download as a thank you for purchasing the tablet. I was excited by this! There were a decent number of games from which to choose. However, the options did not feature any “trademarked” characters that my daughters recognize, which was surprising and disappointing.
The basic features on the InnoTab 3 are more limited than on the LeapPad. The LeapPad has a book and game preloaded and a greater variety of music features. The draw and camera options on the LeapPad are also more diverse (even without the rotate option) and are easier for a younger child to navigate compared to the InnoTab 3.
When it came to actually using the InnoTab 3, my four year old was able to navigate the tablet independently, somewhat. Overall, she did require more assistance with this tablet versus the LeapPad and became more easily frustrated with the InnoTab 3 because the features she was trying to use took longer to load and the features were less user-friendly.
There were fewer voice prompts linked to images on the device and instructions to help my kindergartener work through specific tasks. For a little girl who cannot yet read, clear voice prompts are important if she is using the tablet without my help.
In an attempt to determine if it was simply the tablet’s new platform or interface, I also used the InnoTab 3 with my daughter. When I had to troubleshoot a problem with her, I also found it more challenging to work through than the LeapPad.
When purchasing apps, books and games, the prices and options are comparable to those for the LeapPad. For example, many of the Disney books and games that can be purchased for the InnoTab 3 can also be purchased for the LeapPad for roughly the same price.
Although V-Tech offers a greater number of basic apps and games that can be purchased at a lower price, my daughter and I both preferred the more expensive equivalents LeapFrog offers. All said and done, the V-Tech options are less engaging and less interesting. As an educator, I also felt the apps had less educational appeal than LeapFrog’s options.
All in all, while I would choose the LeapPad over the InnoTab, a “grownup” tablet has proven the best investment of all because the cost of games and apps on kid tablets over time can seriously add up.