Monday, 12 November 2012

The LeapFrog LeapsterGS - Would Be Superb If It Would Connect!

Regular readers will know that I don't do a huge amount of reviews but those I have done over the past 23 months of blogging (has it really been almost 2 years?) have always been very positive. Perhaps it's because I only choose products that fit in with our family lifestyle, my blog or I think would be of interest to my readers... Or maybe I've just been lucky?

Now, before I start, let me just say that we are BIG fans of the LeapFrog brand in the SAHMlovingit household. Mini Cheddar has a My Pal Violet and a Leaptop too which she's both had for a long time and they still get attention even now. So when we were offered to review the new LeapsterGS it was kind of a no brainer.

Like a duck to water!
Matt and I had actually considered buying MC a LeapPad a while back. He had bought me an iPad 3 for Mother's Day this year (yes, he's a keeper!) and I can't leave it anywhere without MC grabbing it and playing on it. I'm not against this, in fact I think it's great on occasion as there are so many educational apps out there that make learning fun.

The LeapsterGS replaces the LeapFrog Explorer but all cartridges are fully transferable between the two and you can download apps. Unlike the Explorer, the LeapsterGS has a built-in camera for photos and videos. I have to say, this has been a huge hit. MC has always wanted her own camera so now the LeapsterGS is full of pictures of the family...well, maybe an arm, an ear or a foot - let's just say I think we can safely assume David Bailey has nothing to fear!

Very educational
The set up of the console is handheld gaming device style and I was worried that MC may struggle with this as she was used to the iPad but I needn't have had any concerns. As soon as I got the LeapsterGS out of the box and switched it on she took over. It comes with a stylus attached and MC just took to this straight away. She's not even 4 years old yet and she just seemed to know what she was doing more than I did. Before I knew it she was practising how to write letters of the alphabet on the screen!

The LeapsterGS is a great educational toy but it swings toward the 'game' side of things in it's design. However, you are in control of what you buy or download so you can keep the cartridges or apps more educational rather than gaming. All the apps are actually designed by educational experts though so even the games are educational.

Putting herself in the picture
It comes with 2 fun apps as standard - Escape of the Sillies which is an fun maths game and Pet Pad where you can create and care for your own pet. MC has loved both. You can also download your choice (from 3) of another educational app within the LeapFrog App Center. There are actually more than 300 games, eBooks, videos, music and more to download. I'm sure this is fantastic.

I say 'I'm sure' because this is where the review takes a bit of a turn.

The LeapsterGS comes with a CD and a USB cable so you can connect it to you computer to download apps. I didn't expect this to be a problem. I've connected My Pal Violet and the Leaptop to my Macbook before without problem. The LeapsterGS, however, had other ideas.

So far so good...
I put the CD in and downloaded the 'connect set-up' successfully. However, once I'd been through the installation process it wouldn't actually start up.

It would just hang.

I tried numerous times to get it to work but it wasn't having any of it. I trawled the Internet looking for advice and found quite a few people posting about similar problems with the LeapPad (obviously the LeapsterGS is new so there was limited info on this) and Mac computers. A few parents had actually ended up with disappointed children on Christmas Day.

Big fat fail!
I was told that it may be an issue with my firewall but even with this disabled the connection would just hang. After a few weeks of trying I eventually admitted defeat. I'm still to try and connect it using my husbands PC but why should I? I use a Macbook and I know lots of people who do. Surely LeapFrog should be addressing these issues as I'm clearly not the first person to have a problem and I definitely won't be the last. Leapfrog were supposed to contact me to discuss the issue but, almost 2 weeks later, I'm still waiting. It doesn't give me confidence that if they can't contact me then other customers will have the same customer service problems.

All in all it's a great device and gets the thumbs up...well, half up as it's SO frustrating that it won't connect to my computer. I'd love to see what the LeapFrog Learning Center has to offer but can't!

My advice to anyone buying the LeapsterGS (or a LeapPad) for their children for Christmas - especially if you own a Macbook - take it out of the box and set it all up before Santa arrives!

The LeapsterGS retails at £64.99 and is available via Leapfrog direct and other outlets.

This is not a sponsored post.  
We were sent the LeapsterGS to review 
but all photographs, video, words, views and opinions are entirely my own.


Looking for Blue Sky said...

I'm in a very similar position, having been sent something to review that doesn't work with my laptop at all! Very frustrating x

Christina E said...

Ooh interesting. Sounds like one to avoid until they sort out the connectivity issues :/

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