3rd December 2004 at 00:00
NEO. AlphaSmart. pound;219. Tel: 0208 492 3690

Neo is a text editor with extra facilities, in other words a cut-down word processor.

You can select, copy, paste and delete as well as search for and replace text. The screen can be configured to be two lines of extremely large text, three lines of slightly smaller text, or four, five or six lines of steadily smaller text. This is a good feature for children with visual problems.

The typeface is clear and child-friendly, whichever size you choose. A spellchecker and thesaurus are included. A nice touch is that you can add to the spellchecker and it's in British English, not American English.

There's also a calculator.

The Neo is very portable: it is light, with robust keys and a solid feel.

It is powered by three AA batteries that last for 700 hours, and there is a low battery warning eight hours before the unit runs out of power.

Work is stored in eight text areas. You swap from one to another by pressing a key and continue typing where you left off. Files can also be named and saved, so it's possible to have more than eight on a machine.

Outputting your text is interesting. Plug the machine, via its USB port, into a computer, load up your word processor, and click the cursor where you want the text. On the Neo, select an area and press send. The text is then "typed" into the computer document.

This is a well thought out and a cost effective way of portable word processing.

Pam Turnbull

ICT co-ordinator, The Heys primary school, Ashton-under-Lyne

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