The LeapFrog Epic is a 7″ learning tablet from LeapFrog, one of the latest in their range of educational tablets designed for children. The multi-touch capacitative 7″ screen has a resolution of 1024×600 pixels and the tablet comes with a protective silicone bumper, available in either green or pink, intended to reduce the chance of damage if it is dropped, and the screen is described as being shatter safe. The protective bumper has cut-outs where needed for the various ports on the tablet and covers all the edges, more than some. Unlike the majority of LeapFrog’s products, this is an Android tablet, running an operating system based on version 4.4 KitKat. However, it is not a pure Android tablet, but instead runs on an Android base.
The Epic comes with 16 gigabytes (GB) of internal memory as well as a microSD memory card slot which will take memory cards up to 32GB in size. It has a quad-core processor and two cameras, one front facing and one rear, both with a resolution of 2.0 megapixel (MP). There is a micro USB port for connecting to other devices and charging the tablet, a single speaker, a microphone and a 3.5mm stereo headphone jack. The tablet also comes with a stylus that fastens into it.
The Epic comes with WiFi, which is necessary for any tablet, that is used to connect to the internet and for peer-to-peer play with select LeapFrog games. It also comes with Bluetooth, which can be used to connect the tablet to other suitable devices, such as external speakers.
The Epic also comes with a range of preinstalled apps, games and content, and has access to the LeapFrog App Centre but Google Play cannot be installed on it, although the Amazon Appstore can be.
The screen resolution is rather low for a modern tablet, being less than the majority of children’s tablets these days, and the screen is also not as good when viewed from an angle. The internal memory, at 16GB, is at the high end for a child’s tablets, as 8GB is still more common. The memory card slot allows the available storage to be expanded substantially. The resolution of the two cameras is in the typical range for children’s tablets, and should be adequate for most needs. The Epic lacks the cartridge slot seen on many previous LeapFrog tablets and other products, and is therefore not compatible with any cartridges already owned. Such content will need purchasing in digital form from the App Centre. The battery life is fairly typical, although this will depend on what use is being made of the tablet; adapters are therefore useful when travelling.
Does the LeapFrog Epic Have Any Educational Uses?
Like all LeapFrog tablets, education is the primary use of the Epic. A parent can set up different profiles on the Epic for different children, and these profiles will adjust to a child’s age and educational progress. The Just for Me™ learning system will adjust and personalise select educational games, which are purchased from LeapFrog, as a child develops and gets older.
For more general educational apps that aren’t linked to a learning system, parents can download them from the Amazon Appstore.
Does the LeapFrog Epic Have Parental Controls?
Again, like all of LeapFrog’s tablets, the Epic has very strong parental controls. Unlike most of them, those on the Epic are more flexible and can be adjusted by parents. With the parental controls set up as standard, using the LeapSearch™ browser, children can only online sites and content that has been approved by LeapFrog to be visited, which is a fairly limited amount of content. However, parents can now add the URLs of content and websites that they approve as well to the approved list, a new feature for a LeapFrog tablet, and parents can also set the tablet so that the browser works like a normal web browser. This makes the Epic much more useful as a general tablet than preceding tablets.
Parents can set usage limits as well as times when the tablet can be used, with different times being specified on weekends and weekdays. The Epic can be specified so that it will only work between certain times, and for a specified amount of time in total. Parents also have control over any apps downloaded from the Amazon Appstore.
Can You Play Games on the LeapFrog Epic?
The LeapFrog App Centre has a variety of educational games that can be purchased and installed on the tablet. As mentioned earlier, the Epic will not take previously purchased LeapFrog cartridges as it lacks a cartridge slot.
The biggest difference between the Epic and other LeapFrog tablets is the ability to install the Amazon Appstore, which gives access to a much wider range of games, as well as other content, although not ones that LeapFrog has necessarily approved. It is up to parents in this case to determine whether or not a game is suitable for their child.
Children cannot install the Appstore themselves, nor can they download content from it. This has to be done in the parental mode, and apps downloaded from Amazon are marked differently on the tablet’s screen, making them easier to identify.
What is Included with the LeapFrog Epic?
The Epic comes with pre-installed content, which would cost a significant amount to purchase from LeapFrog, probably more than the tablet itself if purchased separately. There are apps, games, music and ebooks. Some of the content is only a demo, but the majority of it is fully functional. It includes educational games, utility and creativity apps, as well as a download of the parent’s choice.
Summing Up the LeapFrog Epic
As always for LeapFrog products, the educational uses and parental controls are where the Epic excels and, as is normally the case, the Epic should not be considered to be a regular tablet, but one whose primary use is educational in nature. Although the Epic is not as bulky as LeapFrog tablets that have a cartridge slot, it is on the whole a bit larger than many children’s tablets, but this is not a hugely significant difference in most cases.
Being able to install the Amazon Appstore does mean that there is now much more content available, both free and paid, rather than being stuck with LeapFrog’s own, often quite expensive, content.
The Epic is rather more expensive than some current children’s tablets, which often have better hardware too, but it is aimed at a different market than the typical child’s tablet, although there is more overlap with the general market with this product than with previous ones.
The ability to add content from the Amazon Appstore and to add to the list of approved web content makes the Epic far more flexible, and usable as a normal tablet, than LeapFrog’s prior offerings. the Epic is, to a degree, a compromise between the standard, very child-safe educational tablets they are known for and the more normal, but perhaps less safe and less educational, regular children’s tablet. The LeapFrog Epic is, like the majority of LeapFrog offerings, one of the better choices for parents whose primary focus is education, and want to keep their child safe online, but it is more usable outside of these situations than anything previously manufactured by LeapFrog.
Take a look at more details on the LeapFrog Epic.