Zoostorm's Fizzbook range grew out of the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative. The Fizzbook Go was the first machine, and its portability, usability and ruggedness impressed us. The Spin builds on the Go's strengths, while also including touchscreen usability, an Intel Atom N270 CPU, Wi-Fi and an SD card slot.
The chassis is constructed from a very durable plastic that will take most punishment the modern classroom has to throw at it. It has obviously been designed to appeal to a child, but that doesn't mean it isn't attractive. A chunky handle on the back of the chassis also facilitates easy transportation between school and home.
The keyboard is superb. Typing is a joy with the keys feeling firm beneath the fingers. The touchpad size is also good and the buttons are large, responsive and ideal for children to use.
The rotatable 8.9-inch screen doubles as a writing tablet. The 1024 x 600-pixel display is bright in all conditions, making it suitable for the classroom. The touchscreen is quite responsive, but we do warn that the included stylus is sharp and potentially hazardous for young children.
A 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor and 1024MB of RAM power the Spin. Windows XP runs without problems and we found performance to be good throughout. The 60GB hard drive offers plenty of space for music, photos and videos, assuming these won't prove a distraction at school.
Portability is excellent. The small chassis and 1.3kg weight should be manageable for most children. The 200-minute battery life is rather less than the 364 minutes of the FizzBook Go, but should still only result in a few charges a week.
Extra features include a built-in webcam, 2 USB ports, an SD card slot and 802.11g Wi-Fi, along with an array of educational software, including Smart Learning Suite and Braniac Tester.
While the Fizzbook Spin is designed for little people, it is big in its ambitions, and Zoostorm has created a usable educational tool which will enhance any child's classroom experience.