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
- School coding: why one teacher training programme failed
- Children should be taught computer science - not programming
- Computing curriculum being introduced "on the cheap"
- Windows apps land on Chromebooks with VMware
- Year of Code adviser quits after a week
- Asus unveils Chromebox with 4K support
- Government pledges £500,000 for teacher code training
- Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e: the first hybrid Chromebook
- Consoles, not PCs, will get pupils coding
- Schools don't think Android tablets are secure enough
- CeBit 2014 diary: Cameron comes to town
- The 5 most interesting UK businesses at SXSW
- Quickest way to upload 1GB? Hop on a train
- Move over Delia: IBM Watson is cooking tonight
- Eric Schmidt on the double-edged smartphone: friend and foe
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- Ebooks: the final chapter for libraries?
- The world's most powerful computers
- Rise of the code schools
- Create a Python game for the Raspberry Pi
- Develop your skills in ICT
- Buyer's guide to tablets
- BenQ MW860USTi vs SMART LightRaise 40wi
- Buyer's guide to foreign language software
- Buyer's guide to all-in-one inkjet printers