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A computer to pick up and cuddle

DreamWriter 200. Portable computer, Pounds 311.75 (including printer cable and adapter) Tandy Education Supplies, Leamore Lane, Walsall WS2 7PS. Tel: 01992 434047.

With the new DreamWriter 200, Tandy has combined all the advantages of the original version, with the addition of a larger 16-line backlit display screen, more memory, on-board spelling and grammar checkers, plus a thesaurus and built-in disc drive. Not only does it offer low cost, painless and portable word processing but the machine really is child-sized and personal to boot. As far as computers go, it's the one you want to pick up and cuddle and that's why children like to use it.

It has a calculator, address book, scheduler, file transfer, calendar, world-time clock and modem which can be connected to receive and send e-mail. It can be fitted to most printers, or data can be transferred directly to PCs, Acorn and Apple Macintosh computers using either floppy discs or optional software via a cable connection.

Many schools have trouble providing pupils with access to word-processing facilities when they have only a limited number of expensive computers. The Rol-A-Lab, available from Tandy as well, has proven very popular.

Launched just over a year ago, it stores, transports and recharges up to 30 portable DreamWriters. The lab can be rolled easily between classrooms, libraries, etc, transforming any work area into a computer lab. Rol-A-Lab also provides space for a portable disc drive, accessories and printers.

The built-in power supply will fully recharge 30 DreamWriter 200s in less than four hours for up to two hours' continuous use. The Rol-A-Lab with 30 DreamWriters costs Pounds 5,199 plus VAT. Tandy also has a 12 DreamWriter Portable Classroom Manager (Pounds 399 plus VAT, excluding DreamWriters) which stores, transports and recharges up to 12 DreamWriters with space for printers. A Five Station Desktop Unit (Pounds 750) is suitable for use with smaller groups.

It seems uneconomical to tie up the resources of valuable desktop computers with word processing when the DreamWriter 200 can do the task just as well. It's a practical solution really worth pursuing.

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