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Neo: the one for schools?

If your school budget doesn't run to laptops for all, you could kit your students out with the new Neo; a relatively low-cost (under pound;200) word processor produced by Alphasmart; the people behind the Dana.

The Neo looks like a keyboard on steroids. It's a little over A4 in size with a screen sitting above the keys that can display between two and six lines of text.

On the software side, it runs AlphaWord Plus for word processing and also has a calculator and brain-storming software. The machine is happy handling basic classroom tasks such as writing stories,taking notes and running a journal. Files can be sent to either PCs or Macs through USB or FireWire.

Battery life isn't a problem - the Neo runs for up to 700 hours on three AAs - making it a sensible choice for field trips.

The Neo boasts more memory and a wider screen than the Dana. Prices start at pound;185. Look out for a review in the next issue (January 7 2005).

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