Educational software company 2Simple has produced something rather strange.
Although it looks a lot like a ladybird (tiny, red in colour with black spots), it is in fact a small, but perfectly formed PC. While it's a great innovation, building on the popularity in schools of the company's educational software, what's even better is that these bright new computers come with a choice of any three of 2Simple's software programs already installed. And that includes 2calculate, the acclaimed new maths software (see TES Online magazine, September 10 2004).
Supplied with a 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor, the PC has 512Mb of memory and an 80Gb hard disk. It's a relatively powerful machine whose only compromise is its rather basic sound and graphics cards. The reason behind this is that 2Simple's educational software requires minimal graphics and sound. So the PC has enough power to run its pre-installed software. You can also burn CDs using the built-in Sony DVD-RomCD-RW drive.
The 2Simple PC's design is sleek, modern and compact, Considering its size, it has more than enough ports for expansion. There are four USB 2 connectors and three FireWire ports. Even better, these ports are at the front as well as the rear of the machine, offering maximum flexibility - the front ports are great for casual use of devices such as memory cards.
The PC comes with Windows XP Professional, a black keyboard and a cute ladybird optical mouse.
If you don't want a laptop but need a PC that's easy to transport and doesn't eat up desk space, this computer fits the bill. The PC itself weighs just under 6kgs, while the 15-inch LCD comes in at 3.5kgs. You could walk around with the screen in one hand and the base unit in the other, although this may not be wise, even if the PC does come with a one-year warranty.
The 2Simple PC is an ideal computer for primary schools, aided by the fact that it can be networked. It would also be a good first home PC, for a child who is likely to be more motivated operating a colourful ladybird than a dull grey box. If your children don't like ladybirds there's also a bee design available. Adults who appreciate the slick design of this PC may prefer one of the plain casing models in a range of colours including red, blue, green, yellow and orange.
Pentium 4 processor (2.8GHz), 512Mb of memory, 80Gb hard drive, 15-inch LCD, DVD-RomCD-RW writer drive, 3.5-inch floppy drive, Ethernet adapter, four USB ports. three FireWire, Windows XP Professional and a choice of any three of 2Simple's software programs.
Price: pound;849 (ex VAT)
Tel: 020 8203 1781
Fitness for purpose *****
Ease of use ****
Value for money ****