WordStar Laptop Collection. (laptop word processing software) (evaluation)
by Mike Hudnall
Laptop software can unfortunately be a bit like microwave meals--convenient, but less substantial and satisfying than conventional fare. If you've longed to beef up your laptop menu, now's the time. That longtime favortie of touch-typists, WordStar, is now a available in a laptop version you can really sink your teeth into--WordStar Laptop Collection.
The collection gives you basically a modified version 6.0 along with LapLink Special Edition, which facilitates transfers between your laptop and desktop (the cable costs extra), and OnTime, a flexible calendar program. Although you don't have every single feature offered in the desktop version, there's still plenty to work with: a spelling dictionary, a thesaurus, a definitions dictionary, multiple help levels, pull-down or classic menus, an extra-window capability, dot commands, word counts, headers, footers, an advanced page preview, abundant printer support, and much more. (For a fuller discussion of basic program features in version 6.0, see the December 1990 COMPUTE review).
In using the program, I haven't felt that I lacked any features necessary for normal laptop use. WordStar seems every bit as full-featured on the laptop as it does on my desktop computer. In addition to the program proper, you get WordStar's MailList program for generating from letters, printing labels or envelopes, and creating mailing lists. You also get a quite capable communications program, TelMerge, which lets you access online services, send or receive electronic mail, and communicate with other computers. Conveniently, each of these programs is accessible from within WordStar.
Like the desktop version, WordStar Laptop Collection offers free membership in CompuServe with $15 usage credit, free Bitstream typefaces, and free Agfa typefaces.
What's missing from the original 6.0 version? You don't get integrated text and graphics, PC-Outline, Profinder (a shell program), and StarExchange (which converts file formats between this and several other word processors). Once you become a registered user of the laptop edition, however, you qualify to buy the desktop version for a mere $99. And as the company points out, that's like getting both products for less than the retail price of the desktop version--quite a bargain.
While you'll enjoy many of the desktop version's features in the laptop edition, the company has clearly adapted the program with the laptop user in mind. The README file, the installation and customization program, and the manuals all reflect that a laptop is being used. And yes, you can run the program on a floppy system. WordStar supplies a quick-start disk with a condensed version of the program, and you also get tips on installing the program on a high-capacity disk.
If you've been waiting for a full-featured word processor for your laptop, this is a great one. And if you've enjoy WordStar on a desktop computer, this new laptop edition might be just the excuse you need to buy a laptop.