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VarioUltra - a Smart Braille display + notetaker!

There’s so much to love about VarioUltra, the smartest braille display and notetaker on the planet. 

Consider the following facts:

  1. VarioUltra was the first braille device to support multiple simultaneous connections to your computer and mobile devices via 1 USB and 4 channels of Bluetooth. Braille notetakers from other companies limit you to 1 connection at a time.
  2. VarioUltra is beautifully designed, and features brushed-aluminum construction. This is a key reason that VarioUltra 20 weighs in at 1/2 a pound and VarioUltra 40 weighs 1 pound, making them the lightest braile devices in their class. 
  3. VarioUltra features an ergonomic 8-dot braille keyboard that is extremely quiet. The keyboard is curved to provide a much comfortable typing position for your hands. Palms out to the front left and right corners of VarioUltra and your fingers will allign perfectly with the keyboard. As for quietness, we have customers who work on-air for TV and radio companies; they appreciate being able to operate VarioUltra without the audience knowing.
  4. VarioUltra includes a suite of productivity apps that allow you to work and play even when you’re not connected to a computer or mobile device. Apps include a word processor, a PDF document viewer, a spreadsheet viewer, a scientific calculator, file manager, timers, clocks, alarms, settings, and a help system that provides context-sensitive help and access to the user manual.
  5. VarioUltra features superior quality braille cells that many customers claim feels similar to freshly embossed, hard-copy braille. The pins are firm, yet nicely rounded. If you like to read braille and plan to read a lot of it moving forward, VarioUltra could be your new best friend.
  6. VarioUltra is sold, serviced, and supported right here in the UK. The comprehensive 2-year warranty covers everything, including the battery. If something goes wrong that we cannot fix over the phone, we cover round-trip shipping of your device to our facility in Bedfordshire. Although we aim to complete repairs within 3-5 days, most customer devices are fixed the same day they arrive and ship out that same day. 
  7. Made in Germany. There are plenty of good braille products out there. But none of them come close to the quality of design and construction that only a BAUM braille display can provide. You feel the difference when you touch it. You feel the difference when you pick it up. You feel the difference when you type and read braille with it. VarioUltra is a premium quality product that you will love.

There is a photographic image immediately below that shows VarioUltra 20 in all it's brushed-aluminum beauty and connected via Bluetooth to an iPad and iPhone. Scroll down below the photo to learn more about VarioUltra.

Device Modes: Two for the Price of One.

A switch on the left side of VarioUltra lets you switch between Braille Notetaker Mode (switch is away from you) and Braille Display Mode (switch is toward you).

Braille Notetaker Mode.

In Braille Notetaker Mode, VarioUltra can run on battery for up to 12 hours. The suite of productivity applications includes:

  • Word Processor: open braille and print based file formats including BRL, BRF, RTF, TXT, DOC, DOCX, PPT, and PPTX. Braille files written in Unified English Braille (UEB) can also be opened. 
  • PDF Document Viewer: if you have an accessible PDF document you would like to read, open it with this app.
  • Spreadsheet Viewer. If you have a Microsoft Excel XLS or XLSX document, it opens in this app. Read by row or column, switch between worksheets, and also access and read comments that have been added to cells. 
  • Scientific Calculator: A full scientific calculator that allows you to perform both simple and scientific calculations, including logarithms, trignometry functions, and conversions.
  • Timers, Clocks, and Alarms: Besides the obvious time and date, VarioUltra features a variety of timers, a stopwatch, and alarms. Naturally, a time-zone option allows for quick and easy adjustment of the time when you travel away from home.
  • File management: Use this app to access files and folders on the 32 GB of internal storage (Flashdisk), or files and folders that are stored on an external USB stick or SD card (when used with an SD to USB converter). If you use a Windows PC, connecting via USB results in VarioUltra being listed as an external storage device inside Windows Explorer. 
  • Settings: This is where you can customize settings of VarioUltra to suit your needs, such as activating the Autoscroll feature, changing the appearance of the cursor, selecting a braille table. Also, this is where pairing with Bluetooth devices is initiated from.
  • Help: Use this option to obtain system information such as the product serial number and software version details. This is also where you’ll find electronic copies of both the Quick Start Guide and the full User Guide. These documents open inside the Word Processor app so that you can read them in braille.

Braille Display Mode.

In braille display mode, VarioUltra can be connected simultaneously with up to 5 different devices. Connections are made via one USB and four channels of Bluetooth. To switch between connected devices, press and hold system key S2 (directly to the left of the left thumb key/space bar) and tap braille key B1 for USB, or braille keys B4, B5, B6, or B8 to select any of the four Bluetooth channels.

When a Bluetooth paired device is within range of VarioUltra, connection is automatic. You will feel VarioUltra vibrate once, twice, three times, or four times to indicate which channel a particular device has connected on. Devices can be assigned to a specific channel and always connect on that channel. If you’re using an iOS device, VarioUltra even connects when the screen is locked.

VarioUltra works with the COBRA screen reading software from BAUM, and/or with all popular screen reading solutions such as JAWS, NVDA, WindowEyes, and SuperNova. If using JAWS version 11 or newer, installation of a driver should be performed first. You can download the driver here JAWS driver

Excellent Design, High Quality Braille, and a Quiet Keyboard..

VarioUltra features a stronger and very attractive brushed aluminum construction. Besides looking great, VarioUltra displays are lighter than the heavy plastic alternatives. Consider this: VarioUltra 40 features 40 braille cells and yet it’s lighter than every other 40-cell display on the planet, and lighter than every 32-cell display too. As for VarioUltra 20, it’s the lightest device of its kind, weighing less than devices touting far fewer braille cells. If high quality design and construction is important to you, check out VarioUltra.

Customers the world over tell us how much they love the quality of braille on a BAUM display. The crisp cells have even been described as being like dots of freshly embossed hard copy braille. We don’t mean to brag, but the fact is that not all braille cells are created equally. If high quality braille cells is important to you, check out VarioUltra.

The quiet, BAUM-designed and manufacturered braille keyboard is laid out ergonomically and is very quiet compared to other braille devices. Have you ever been in a meeting and encountered someone typing loudly on a braille device? The chances are good that the device being used was not a BAUM display, but one of the plastic alternatives you may have seen. Press a braille key on VarioUltra, or any other button for that matter, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you don’t hear. If a quiet display is important to you, check out VarioUltra.

VarioUltra User Documentation.

To learn more about VarioUltra, consider reading through the online HTML manual. You can also download the HTML manual to read off line. 

Summary of Key Features.

  • WORLD EXCLUSIVE: the only braille display and notetaker that supports simultaneous connection with up to 5 devices. 
  • Attractive, high quality, brushed aluminum construction that is light, robust, and looks and feels great.
  • Refreshable braille cells that feel crisp, and almost paper like. It’s that good.
  • A whisper-quiet 8-button braille keyboard that is ergonomically designed for all-day use. It feels amazing to type quickly with.
  • Split personality. In addition to being the most connectable braille device in the world, a quick flick of a switch and VarioUltra becomes a basic braille notetaker, with a suite of productivity apps to make life easier.
  • Compact, lightweight design will have you questioning why other devices weigh so much. The included high quality carry case and strap will help protect your investment for years to come.

Features & Benefits in Detail.

  • The ergonomic design of VarioUltra is beyond anything else you have seen or heard about. From the beautiful brushed aluminum housing, to the incredibly quiet and responsive braille keyboard, to the crisp braille cells that feel almost paper-like, VarioUltra is an experience to be enjoyed every day. 
  • Connecting to Multiple Devices. With a USB port and 4 Bluetooth channels, connecting multiple devices to VarioUltra is easy. 
    • For USB: connect a micro USB to VarioUltra and the standard USB to your PC for use with a screen reader, and/or for use as an external drive. 
    • For Bluetooth: pair your device with VarioUltra and it remembers your device and what Bluetooth channel it should connect with. A 2-button keyboard command lets you switch between connected devices.
  • Refreshable Braille. BAUM braille technology is well known for offering a quality reading experience like no other. The pins are crisp to the touch, and feel as if the braille has been freshly embossed on quality paper. If you plan on reading a lot of braille, you need to feel the VarioUltra difference.
  • Buttons and Keys. VarioUltra features an 8-button braille keyboard that is located above the braille display and cursor routing buttons. The two thumb keys can be found below the braille display, and are located right about where your thumbs will naturally find themselves during typing. Additional buttons to the left and right of the braille display, as well as to the right and left of the thumb keys provide access to system functions and commands to help you interact with computers and mobile devices.
  • Navistick. While navigation around a document or a menu can be achieved using buttons, the 5-way circular navistick button is conveniently located between the two space bars and makes for very fast navigation. Pressing down on the navistick has the same affect as pressing an enter key.
  • Productivity Apps. VarioUltra is just as happy working away from a computer or mobile device, as it is being connected to them. The suite of helpful and powerful productivity apps are sure to please, and include things such as an editor for reading and editing Word Doc/Docx files, reading and editing BRF and BRL files, a spreadsheet viewer for working with Excel files, a PDF viewer, a scientific calculator, file management, and a variety of clock, alarm, and stopwatch apps. 
  • Internal Storage & USB External Drive. VarioUltra includes 32GB of internal storage. You can save or copy files to and from the device using a standard USB stick, or connect VarioUltra to a Windows PC and treat it like an external drive. Copying files and folders to and from VarioUltra is then accomplished through Windows Explorer. 
  • Light and Compact. Once you meet VarioUltra, you’ll wonder why other devices have to be so heavy. Cell for cell, VarioUltra 20 is lighter than anything else. On average, VarioUltra 40 weighs 24% less than any 40 or even 32 cell braille device on the market. That’s a difference you will feel and appreciate, especially if you’re carrying the device around all day.

Specifications.

  • Dimensions and Weight
    • VarioUltra 20 measures 7.4 inches wide, by 3.5 inches deep, by 0.7 inches high. It weighs just 320 grams. 
    • VarioUltra 40 measures 12.4 inches wide, by 3.5 inches deep, by 0.7 inches high. It weighs just 500 grams. 
  • Device Operating System: Windows CE 6.0
  • Supported Operating Systems: Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.
  • Connectivity: 1 USB connection and 4 Bluetooth connections
  • USB Ports:
    • USB 2.0 port for use with USB memory sticks
    • Micro USB for charging and for connecting with a computer, and for connecting a USB QWERTY keyboard 
  • Internal storage: 32GB
  • RAM: 256MB
  • External storage: none provided, though you can use a standard USB stick, or connect VarioUltra to your computer as an external drive
  • Supported file formats: DOC, DOCX, XLS, XLSX, PDF, BRF, BRL, RTF, TXT, PPT, PPTX
  • Battery life: 8 hours of continuous, connected use. 12 hours if using as a notetaker, unconnected. Note that the battery is internal and not user replaceable.
  • Manufacturer's warranty: 2 years
    • Service, support, and repair is provided by BAUM UK.
  • Supported Screen Readers: 
    • COBRA, NVDA, JAWS, SuperNova v15.03: via USB and Bluetooth
    • WindowEyes: via Bluetooth 
    • VoiceOver on iOS Mac OSX Yosemite devices.
    • TalkBack/BrailleBack on Android devices.
  • Languages: VarioUltra has support for 17 different languages including: English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, Croation, Kurdish, Arabic, Russian, Hebrew, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian, Swedish, Polish, and Eurobraille.
  • 30-day money back guarantee. In the unlikely event you do not love VarioUltra, you may return the device for a refund. Conditions apply, including the need for the device to be returned in “as new” condition, along with all accessories, documentation, and original packaging. Any product damage or missing components will affect your refund amount.

Testimonials

VarioUltra 40-cell Braille display/notetaker:

“Thanks for the time you spent with me at Sight Village with the display, I am very impressed with it and am happy to own one. I haven’t spent much time with the notetaker yet, mainly using it as a computer display, but I will get round to it in the near future.”

Andrew Hodgson, Chair, British Computer Association of the Blind (BCAB).

VarioUltra 20 and 40-cell Braille display/notetakers:

“VarioUltra is simply the most elegant smart Braille display available.”

Dave Williams, Independent Accessibility Consultant.

VarioUltra 20 and 40-cell Braille display/notetakers:

“As a Braille reader, there’s no doubt in my mind that for reading and writing, the VarioUltra is the most outstanding, comfortable, and discrete device I have ever seen”

Sean Randall, IT Technician/HLTA, Access and Information Technologies at New College Worcester.

Video.

We have provided two overview videos of VarioUltra. The first features the 20-cell model, and the second features the 40-cell model. You can watch the embedded videos below on this page, or point your browser to the YouTube links provided.

VarioUltra 20 Video link http://youtu.be/ETFvygD_mvo

VarioUltra 40 Video link http://youtu.be/Cmm9NHxYDO4


Pricing and product information

  • Pricing: VarioUltra 20 £2,395.00, and VarioUltra 40 £3,495.00 (pricing is quoted excluding VAT and delivery)
  • For further information, please call 0800 043 3199 or email info@baumuk.com 
  • VarioUltra brochure download
  • Important note: BAUM Retec (UK) only sells and ships to customers who are residents in the UK and Republic of Ireland. If you live in another country, please email BAUM Retec AG in Germany for ordering information in your country info@baum.de.
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