Saturday, June 15, 2019

Distraction-free Writing... The AlphaSmart Neo 2

I love my HP laptop. I don't have many programs on it to distract me, although the internet can be a distraction. I got it solely for the purpose of writing, but constant virus updates and the ability to edit as I write is decreasing my word counts and my motivation to write. Not to mention six hours of use without charging goes by fast, and I am too aware of that battery icon dwindling down.

I can still work on it as Windows Defender runs scans, but the scan messages break my flow. I get messages to update and scan at practically every time I use it. I could change the settings, but I want to know what my system is adding that will take up storage. It doesn't take long to boot up, but any boot time is not conducive for writing ideas quickly.

I considered a Freewrite Traveler and a Pomera DM200, but they are in the $300-400 price range which is overpriced for a word processor, and there was a wait time, especially for the Freewrite Traveler which hasn't been released yet. I needed something for right now. So, I ordered an AlphaSmart Neo 2.

The online community of writers on YouTube and blogs swear by this old piece of tech. It is a simple word processor that can transfer text directly to your laptop. It was made as a tool in the 90's and early 2000's as a way to help children with special needs take notes. I started writing on Brother Electronic Typewriter in Elementary School, but I had to retype whole documents when editing. I used a big, clunky word processor in Middle School. By the time High School came around, desktop computers were new to market, and I got one as a Christmas gift. Computers, desktop or laptop, have been my writing tools of choice since they were placed on the market, but this AlphaSmart is sleek compared to those old word processors that I am used to. So, I am hoping it works for free-writing a first draft.

This is an obsolete product that people buy second hand. I got mine for $23 (including shipping) on eBay with the expectation of freely writing without looking back to edit. The screen is so small and going back through the text is purposefully bothersome. I can agonize over each paragraph on my laptop after I have written the first draft of a scene on this device. Now the Freewrite is superior with an e-ink screen and backlight as well as their keyboard. The Pomera is superior in portability. The AlphaSmart is superior in battery life, up to 700 hours. The batteries will last up to a year. I can't wait to use it!

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