First of all, the best thing about this device is the PC keyboard portion. The key touch and return are extremely comfortable, and the cover over the piano keys makes a great wrist rest. There are 10 customisable hot keys as well as log off and Sleep buttons, and media playback buttons.
Before you get to tickling the piano keys, however, you've got to install Creative's Prodikeys software. This gives you access to four main programs: Mini Keyboard, FunMix, EasyNotes and HotKeys Manager.
Mini Keyboard is the basic piece of software that lets you change keyboard voices from Acoustic Grand, to guitar, ensemble, voice, or even drums (there are 128 different voices in all). You can also turn sustain on and off for some voices and change octaves for all of them. Changing octaves can be useful when trying to play along with someone, but with the Prodikeys, we found that trick to be nearly impossible. When playing on one's own, the effect is not as noticeable, but when we tried to play along with someone else, we noticed an extremely annoying delay (between the pressing of the key and the sound) that kept us from being able to keep up.
The FunMix program gives you 27 different sets of rhythms and "samples" that you can mix and match to create interesting DJ-type "remixes". In both the Mini Keyboard and FunMix applications, it is also possible to record separate tracks to play along with, for a fuller sound.
The EasyNotes software is a music tutor that not only shows you songs in music notation, but also provides a step-by-step guide to help the user familiarise themselves with the songs, the notes and how they are played.
The HotKeys Manager software, of course, lets you assign specific functions to the hot keys, so you can use one to go directly to your e-mail reader, for example. There is also an interactive tutor program that takes you through the basics of using the Prodikeys.
The keyboard connects to your PC via the USB port, and setup is quick and easy. Recommended requirement include Pentium III or AMD Athlon processor, Windows XP or Windows 2000, 256MB RAM and 360MB of free hard disk space.