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My well stocked shelf of reference books includes that all important, hefty dictionary, an invaluable tool for checking the meanings of words and their spellings.
However, there are occasions when I know the pronunciation of a word, but the correct spelling momentarily, sometimes permanently, disappears from my memory bank. The computer scribbles long red lines under each error, like a teacher marking home work; which gets me frantically, often impatiently, thumbing through a dictionary, spending precious moments in search of the word I should have known how to spell in the first place.
"Au fait," pronounced 'O-fay,' meaning 'familiar with,' is one example that is difficult to find unless one is familiar with the French language or knows how the word begins.
As many will agree, this is an irritatingly, time consuming occupation when time is at a premium.
I was in WH Smiths a while back, gathering ideas for Christmas when I saw several makes of spellchecker devices. The prices, depending on the number of features a particular gadget offered, varied from around £20 to £60.
The cheapest was the Franklin Collins SPQ-109 Spellchecker, priced at £19.99.
Having studied and compared each spellchecker, I decided that the Franklin Collins SPQ-109 model had all the features I needed, and more.
When I opened the packaging, I was surprised to find how small the spellchecker was, for the packaging was almost three times the size of its contents.
I was not disappointed though. The sturdy, plastic, matt-black gadget, which opens like a booklet measured, when closed, 10.2 x 7.3 x1.3cm.
This model uses a CR-2032 Lithium battery which is housed under the main casing and was already in place. A large, folded sheet of instructions and list of features was also included in the package.
On the inside of the lid are printed replicas of the function keys situated on the gadget; against each are brief explanations of their uses.
On the main body, below a 6.5 x 1cm, grey LCD screen is a row of retangular, clearly labled function keys.
On the left is the SPELL key for checking spellings. Next is the SOLVERS key, used to find words where only some of the letters are entered, this function is also useful for solving anagrams.
Next in line is the GAMES key, to select the menu for one of the six games that can be played. The CALC key selects the calculator and finally, there is a MY LIST key which allows a user to save up to 40 words in the memory, if required. The power button sits on the far right.
Below the function keys is a neat little qwerty keyboard, each letter well separated to prevent two letters being pressed simultaneously.
Below the keyboard are another set of function keys, starting on the left with the MENU key, then the CLEAR key, BACK key and ENTER key. At the end is a larger, square shaped navigation button to move the cursor up, down, left or right.
By using the menu key, the CONVERTER functions can be selected which can be used to convert temperatures from C to F, or vice versa; imperial to metric measurements and even currency conversions are possible, providing the current exchange rate is entered.
The six games that can be played are: Spelling Bee, Hangman, Anagrams game, Word blaster, Word deduction and Word train games.
~~~~~~~~MY EXPERIENCE,USING THE SPELLCHECKER~~~~~~~
I found it incredibly easy to use and am still in awe of the speed at which it finds the correct spelling. For example, if I couldn't spell special, I could type in a phonetic spelling, like "SPESHUL." The checker then comes up with the correct spelling plus others such as 'Spacial,' Spousal,' and 'Speckle.' to name but a few.
I tell you, this little device is idiot proof.
If there are "confusables," (which are words that have either the same pronunciation or same spellings, but different meanings;) the screen flashes a "C" on the right of the screen to indicate the word has "Confusables." By pressing the ? key, the meaning of each confusable is defined.
For example: If I type in the word THEIR. The spellchecker will tell me there are three confusables. On pressing the ? key. each word is defined thus.
THEIR:Possessive. - THERE: Yonder. - THEY'RE: They are.
So then there would be no excuse for writing "Their is no excuse." - Clever eh?
The calculator and games are equally easy to understand and use, as are the conversion functions
In summary, I find it so much quicker to check spellings with this device, than trawling through the pages of my trusty dictionary.
For me, it was money well spent. Even though I could have got it cheaper from Amazon. Every home should have one, they make ideal gifts too.
May 2011. I have used this extensively for over a year now and the original batteries are still alive!
Feb 2012. The original batteries are still going strong.
June:2013. Brilliant!! I am still using the original batteries even though it is used daily.
March: 2014.. Still using same battery.
Short name: Franklin SPQ-109