Little Fingers Keyboard

To assess the unit, we asked nine-year-old Susannah Campbell to run extensive lab tests. First things first. "I like the colours on the keyboard because normally you only find them in grey." Fair point - the pink, yellow, green and blue function keys brighten things up, without going over the top.

"I like the mouse-thing as well, because the ball is easy to move. And the keys are just the right size for my fingers. On a normal keyboard I have to move my hands around to get all the keys. On this one, when I put my first finger on the ‘g' key, my little finger is right above the ‘a' at the end of the row. It's easy to reach all the keys."

Susie appreciated the way each key was marked with "big letters and little letters," a detail she was sure would be helpful for smaller children. She noted there were 15 function keys along the top of the keyboard instead of the usual 12, and thought the lack of a numeric keypad made the keyboard easier to use, because it was less confusing.

Any negatives? "The delete button does not always work, so you have to press a second time for it to work," she says. "But I would still rather use this keyboard than my normal one because it is just right for my fitting and just how I like it."

Thanks to some clever electronics, the Little Fingers can be connected in parallel with a second keyboard via a pass-through PS-2 port in the back. Not so clever were the unpredictable results when I tried dual mode with my USB-connected Microsoft Natural keyboard. Better USB integration - and even a USB port - would be a timely improvement.

Little Fingers is compatible with both PC and Mac computers, and is sturdy enough to survive in a junior school environment.

Little Fingers Keyboard

Price: $159

Distributor: DBZ Publishing

Phone: ( 03) 9388 9902

URL: www.dbz.com.au

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Phil Campbell

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