Avantis LearnPad 2 review
Designed for the education market, the LearnPad has its faults, but its software is exceptional
Review Date: 2 Oct 2012
Reviewed By: Jamie Stephens
Price when reviewed: £199 (£239 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
The LearnPad 2 has been built with education in mind. Sadly, this isn’t reflected in its build quality; the front feels well protected, but the rear of the chassis is plastic and doesn’t feel strong. It has a habit of creaking in the hand in use, and it’s easy to get fingernails or other objects between the rear plastic and the front bezel. It should be fine in general use, but it’s questionable how it would stand up when put in the clutches of heavy-handed pupils.
Performance isn’t great, either. It occasionally lagged when navigating the Android 4.0 operating system and launching apps. More demanding apps will certainly feel slow. This isn’t a show-stopper, but we found it slightly frustrating. Battery life, at 5hrs 55mins, is also disappointing. However, the 9.7in 1,024 x 768 IPS display is a pleasant surprise. It’s bright enough for everyday use and holds up well to being viewed from nearly any angle.
To be fair, the LearnPad 2 isn’t designed to compete with the iPads of this world. Its benefits come in the software, and how that has been adapted for educational use. While teachers can unlock the Google Play store and the normal Android features if required, students are expected to use the customisable menus, which feature folders represented by large graphical images. These menus can be defined across multiple LearnPads in the web-based management portal, as well as on the device itself. Wireless network settings and mapped network drives, allowing easy access to school resources, can also be managed in this way.
The LearnPad 2 has some other useful extras, too. A range of educational apps are pre-installed, and there’s a microSD slot to complement the 16GB of built-in storage. Front and rear cameras are included as well as a micro-USB slot, with a full-size USB adapter in the box, and a micro-HDMI slot to use the LearnPad 2 with an external display.
The LearnPad 2 is a great concept let down by the physical device. There are better Android tablets out there for around the same price. However, as an economical and easy-to-manage solution, the LearnPad software really does take some beating, especially for primary schools.
Author: Jamie Stephens
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