User Rating: Excellent
Pros:Quick recharge, and reasonable battery life. Ni-MH battery - no memory.
Cons:May be a little hard for four year old to place Leapster in charging base.
The Bottom Line: Nice charger with Ni-MH battery pack for the leapster.
Recommend this product?
The Leapster Explorer is recommended for children, ages 4-9. It has a variety of plug in modules for a wide range of developmental stages. It also has several basic games and activities pre-installed. But we found ourselves changing batteries every 2 weeks or so.
We saw the charger available for this. This consists of a stand that the Leapster Explorer sits into. At the time, we didn't realize that it included a custom rechargeable battery as well. I sort of counted on having to place rechargeable batteries into the existing AA battery pack.
Details About The Product and Construction
The Leapster Explorer Recharger supports the Leapster Explorer on a slight angle from vertical. In fact, it allows a child to play with it while it's on the charger getting charged up. The base is white with two green indicator lights, one for power applied, and one that's lit while recharging and goes out once full charge has been reached.
The custom battery pack replaces the AA battery pack, and is held in place with a large screw that can be tightened or loosened with a quarter. On the back are four (4) contacts that make electrical connection with the charger base. The unit must be slid down into the charging base, which is a little difficult for a four year old to take care of. Therefore, we keep the charger on top of a book case and manage the access at the same time.
The battery chemistry is Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-MH). This is better than Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) from a life and battery charge memory stand point. This battery can be charged or topped off at any time, unlike Ni-Cd's which must be carefully discharged and fully recharged, otherwise they develop a memory which results in shorter discharge times.
How Well Does It Work?
This charger and battery combination was a great investment. It's hard to say how many hours the battery lasts, but we probably charge it every week or two depending on the length of time our daughter uses it. The product literature claims it should hold a charge for 6-11 hours. I believe that. The recharge cycle is stated to take about 4 hours. That's a nice quick turnaround in case you need it. And as mentioned above, the unit can be enjoyed while it's on the charger. We usually put it on overnight so that it's ready in the morning.
I would be happy to recommend this to my friends and Epinion readers. And I know my daughter loves it. In fact, with my help on the spelling, she wanted to type and pass on the following: "My leapster explorer is fun." Who can top that for a testimonial from a 4 year old? Most importantly, it eliminates the cost of four (4) AA batteries every week or two. I don't know yet how long the rechargeable battery will last. But in the end, I think this will be a real money saver.
Amount Paid (US$): 40
Type of Toy: Educational
Age Range of Child: 6 to 8 Years