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No. of Recommendations: 5
Hi, I wanted to start this thread to cull information from the web on descriptive comparisons between LeapPad and its most serious competitor PowerTouch.

I'll start this off with several URLs:

Interactivity in books make learning fun
Mercury News

On PowerTouch:
"The weakness is that the library does not yet have the depth of the LeapFrog system. Since the books/software do not go beyond second grade, they will not grow with the child for as long as the LeapPad system will."

On LeapPad's:
"A weakness is the need to remind the unit what page you are on before you begin. Three-year-old testers (and even 40-year-old reviewers) have trouble remembering to hit the ``Go' before they begin to play. The stylus cord can, at times, get in the way of turning the pages of the book."

Interactive book reader SHOWDOWN
from The Advertiser

Both LeapPad and PowerTouch are excellent interactive book reading systems. Because the PowerTouch system is easier to use, it is the best choice for kids ages 3 to 5. The LeapPad system, with its robust content and extensive library, is the best choice for families with children ages 6 and up. ActivePAD is an inexpensive alternative. While it costs less, it also offers less content in its library.

Target Homepage Consumer Reviews:

This is an excellent toy that allows a child to learn with or without a parent helping out. My son (3 yrs old) has four books for this unit and they all read and count accurately and our unit has never frozen up on us. My favorite thing about this toy - NO GREEN GO CIRCLE! I'm sorry, but reminding my son to "press the green go circle" every time he turned a page on his LeapPad jr was seriously annoying. The PowerTouch, on the other hand, knows what page you are on automatically. Also, there is no stylus to worry about, the child simply presses words and pictures with his/her finger. This product is far superior to the LeapPads.


Fisher-Price PowerTouch Learning System

Pros: Interactive books make learning fun. Touch-sensitive technology and automatic page recognition.
Pros: Easy to use, helps the child learn to read
Pros: Super easy to use and tons of fun.
Pros: nice design easy to use

Cons: Not many books from which to choose. Curriculum not as varied as the LeapPad's.
Cons: Does not assist with pronunciation skills
Cons: Pages are easily bent, does require adult supervision for those under 3 years
Cons: less features than Leapster Not as fun overall

Best Quote:

Quickie Summary:
+) Educational fun that promotes reading skills and learning
+) Can interact directly by using touch (no pen needed)
+) System automatically detects which page you are on
+) Easy-access on/off switch and volume control
+) A variety of games/lessons are available in each book
+) Excellent sound recordings, with very clear speech
+) Fun even without a book (due to built-in alphabet and games)
+) Comes with 2 books (one for 3-5 year olds, and one for Kindergarten-Grade 2)
+) Additional books available featuring many popular characters
+) Fun for a wide variety of ages (from 3 years old to 2nd Grade level)
-) Currently there are only 10 books available (with 16 more to be released in 2004)
-) Easy for a stray wrist or finger to trigger other sounds
-) Lighter-weight, flimsier pages than the LeapPad books
-) Books don't feature as many characters as LeapPad books
-) Books don't focus on as many individual skills as LeapPad books
-) Currently being sued by LeapFrog -- if they lose that might be the end for this system

I love both the PowerTouch and the LeapPad, and think both systems are wonderfully educational toys. In my opinion, because it is indeed easier to use than the LeapPad, the PowerTouch is probably the better system for younger children (pre-schoolers). However when they get older, the sheer number of books, the depth of their content, and focus on particular skills puts LeapPad far in the lead for older children.

One big difference between the LeapPad and the PowerTouch is that the LeapPad helps kids learn to read by pronouncing syllables and the PowerTouch does so by taking the entire word at a time. I am not a fan of the whole word learning system. I know that even today when I come across a word that I do not know, I try to formulate the pronunciation by going through the syllables one at a time. I would assume that a child will do the same thing once they learn how and since the PowerTouch is aimed at early reading, why not start learning this skill at a young age also?

Leap Frog My First LeapPad

Pros: Educational, Fun, Sturdy, Includes Flip Book and Learning Bus Plate, Engaging toy that encourages reading
Pros: Durable, Interactive Fun
Pros: An educational and fun LeapPad intended for younger children - excellent learning tool!
Pros: Improves fine motor skills, teaches alphabet, numbers, etc. Kids love it.

Cons: Books/Plates don't stay in place well, not compatible with LeapPad Learning System, Limited Books/Cartridges available
Cons: Wand Slightly Challenging to Put Away
Cons: Pen cord not long enough, I wish books/plates snapped into place
Cons: Cartridge slot is fragile.

Best Quote:

+) Educational! Teaches alphabet, phonics, counting, shapes, colors, etc.
+) Interacts with your child
+) A wide variety of games and activities are available in each book
+) Additional books can be purchased to extend play or teach other developmental areas
+) Excellent sound recordings with clear speech and nice background music
+) Lots of positive encouragement is interspersed in the game-play
+) Automatic shut-off
+) Volume control and on/off switch
+) Award-winning educational toy
-) Books and game-plates do not stay put very well. I wish there was a way to lock them into place.
-) The cord that holds the pen to the base isn't long enough
-) The books are not terribly sturdy -- they can get bent and damaged with rough play.
-) Although we've had no problems with ours, you can tell that the pen is a somewhat fragile piece
-) Books/pens are not interchangeable with the regular LeapFrog LeapPad.

Final Thoughts:

While I absolutely love the product and am very glad we have one, I would recommend it for children a bit older than my 14-month old. My little guy is still too young to really get the most out of this toy. The product is recommended for ages 3 and up, but I'm thinking that he will really start enjoying it a lot in just a few more months (with adult supervision, of course). I'm thrilled with the educational and fun aspects of the toy, and highly recommend it.

Leap Frog Leappad Learning System

Mostly pros no real cons. Does not provide comparison against PowerTouch
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