Alphasmart Neo

Alphasmart Neo and Samsonite Shuttle Case
Alphasmart Neo

Getting out of my studio to write is one of the best ways I have to break writer’s block.  Finding a new location that is free of the daily distractions that I find at home fosters a higher word count and writing productivity.  When I am working on a rough draft, there is nothing I enjoy better than sneaking off to the local coffeehouse to enjoy a cup of coffee and to write for a few hours.

I am a convert to using an Alphasmart Neo for my drafting hardware.  The machine is lightweight, coming in at around 2 pounds and is extremely sturdy.  Originally, the machines were designed to be used in classrooms for students to practice their typing and writing and therefore can withstand a great deal of abuse.  They are still used in the classroom today, but the Alphasmart Neo has also found a favored place among professional writers.

The Neo’s main advantage is that it offers distraction free writing.  With no internet connection on this device, there is nothing to get between you and the written word.  The Neo has a rudimentary word processor that allows you to see only 8 or 9 lines at a time. It is supplemented by a dictionary, a thesaurus and a word count feature.  The machine instantly switches on or off at the touch of a button and it runs for 700 hours on 3 AA batteries.  To power my machine, I put in fresh batteries once a year and never think about finding power for my Neo again.  It is a real pleasure to not have to worry if there is an available outlet at the coffeehouse or to take my Neo to the park and write outside if I choose.  The Neo battery life sets you free.

Getting the text out of the Neo is simple.  You can use the Neo Manager software to upload or download files or use a cable to send your data to any word processor you happen to have open.  You could send directly to an email file, to your blog post manager or any open word processor.

The Alphasmart Neo is my drafting machine of choice.  Which machine do you use?
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8 thoughts on “Alphasmart Neo”

  1. Hands down, the AlphaSmart Neo is the best writing tool a writer can have around. No internet, no distractions, just pure writing ease. I just bought a new Neo after wearing some of the letters off the keyboard of my old one (this is after several years of full-time writing and I forget how many book manuscripts). Love this thing and highly recommend it.

  2. I use my Asus Eee for pretty much everything. The newer model has an almost full sized keyboard, the battery life is fairly ridiculous so I seldom have to look for a power plug when I’m out and about, and if I can avoid the urge to putter on the internet instead of work, Q10 is an excellent bare bones writing software that gets me where I need to be.

    I’ve heard plenty of good things about the Alphasmart, especially from other NaNoers, but the sad fact of the matter is I can’t afford a dedicated writing machine, either financially or in space/weight since I travel for a living.

    1. Well Jeremy puts his finger precisely on the question I have. That is I’m also a user of the Asus Eee although I wouldn’t call the keyboard full size, albeit it’s still perfectly adequate.

      Embarrassed to admit that I had never thought of using it in the same way as Wendy and Laurence use the Neo.

      So despite having (and not using) the Asus would there be any compelling arguments for using the Neo?

      Regards to all, Paul

      1. I have heard good things about the Asus Eee as a dedicated writing machine beyond Jeremy’s comment here on the blog. Is the Neo better? I think that is a hard call. I do find that the keyboard is extremely comfortable on the Neo and I like that it limits my ability to scroll back as I’m drafting. It is this that makes it a fine NaNoWriMo machine where word count is god. If I am revising or editing, it is a different story. The Neo does not work as well as my pocket PC or my desktop. I suspect that your Eee would be better for editing as well.

        I suspect that a Neo might not be the answer for you since you already have a machine that you are not using. Personally, I think that the Neo is the more comfortable machine of the two choices, but if you are not used to using a dedicated writer, then it is likely you would not get much use out of the Neo. We all write differently. There is no one answer out there.

        LOL I am being a poor enabler today. :)

    2. Jeremy, that reference to Q10 is very helpful. Having read some of the reviews, it seems an ideal companion to the Asus Eee that allows one to use the laptop without the hassle of the mouse. Thanks.

  3. Wendy, wow did you put your finger on the essence of the issue! I’m referring to you writing, “I suspect that a Neo might not be the answer for you since you already have a machine that you are not using.”

    So, thank you. I shall blow the dust off the Asus and see if I can settle down to using it!

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