Review: AlphaSmart Neo2

This is the first document I made as a test:

This is my AlphaSmart Neo2 and so far it seems fucking awesome. However, the keyboard is laid out slightly off center. That drives me nuts! I might need to consider that before posting my review of the product. The screen is large enough to see four lines of text at a time which is nice. In my lap the keyboard is not comfortable at all. At my desk it’s quite nice. The balance is slightly off. The keyboard wobbles ever so slightly as I type. Maybe I can fix it with heat gun. I think the problem is with the plastic being slightly warped possible from transport. Time to test sending the data to a text document.

I ate this Scooby-Doo style sandwich, then wrote the review/Free-thoughts. Both events were highly enjoyable.

 

This is my Review/Free-thoughts while using the AlphaSmart Neo2:

I’m trying out the AlphaSmart on my lap-desk. So far I would say that it feels very nice and normal. I feel natural typing on this keyboard. I think after a few weeks of practice this will be as natural as any other keyboard I use. Like I said previously, the keyboard is slightly off center which drives me nuts, compared to any of my other keyboards. However, all things considered, this was well worth my $30. I might buy a 2nd one to have as a backup just in case. I could see myself using this as my rough draft next to my laptop, and then turning the laptop on to port the text over, and edit everything.

I’ll have to play around with the settings to see if there is a way to activate auto tab. I would have to tab every paragraph manually. The ctl+arrow key send you to the start of the sentence you’re on. That’s interesting. The commands are most certainly not Windows standard! Odds are I’ll ignore the commands entirely and not bother trying to change the text on here. I’ll just write distraction free and use the laptop for any edits. This is 100% what I was looking for in the device, and at $30 it makes the FreeWrite at $449 laughable. I don’t care what bells and whistles the FreeWrite has, there is no way that it could be worth the price. Everything I’ve heard form the reviews leave me questioning if anyone is truly happy with what they got, or if it’s just a gadget that will sit on their shelves, like my own typewriter that I take down once or twice a year to write letters to friends and family. It’s basically like a handwritten letter, but I save us all the embarrassment of having to decipher my handwriting, and shitty spelling. My fingers know how to spell, but I certainly don’t.

I’m going to get far more words down on paper now that I’ve found this detraction free device. I don’t understand why this wasn’t assigned to every student day one of middle school. It would have saved us all a lot of effort, and time. In the real world no one has to hand write any more. They only do it if they want to. I think I will buy a 2nd one. I can let my 5 year old learn how to type on it, and I can know it’s there if I ever have to take it as a backup. Obviously we would share until a replacement came in, but I wouldn’t be fucked over if this one breaks, or gets stolen, etc…

Being able to write without a giant screen in front of me is great. I can actually hear myself think, see the world around me, and know that the internet is a room away. If I want to distract myself I have to make an active choice to leave where I’m at, put aside my writing device, and turn on my entertainment device, also known as my laptop. Only down side is not having a dictionary close at hand. I find the internet helpful for finding word definitions, but I can work around that and just double check myself in the editing process.

Not having the word count close at hand is also a bummer, but I think it will actually make me write more, because I will always 2nd guess myself and assume I’ve written less than I have. Thus, I’ll keep my fingers on the keyboard longer and produce more words. I’ll do a side by side comparison to me typing on here, and dictation on my computer, I’ve found that dictation is taking much longer to edit that I had originally hoped. Yes I can write 3,000 words an hour or more with dictation, but I then I have to spend a good 20-30 minutes cleaning those words up so they readable. I might be better off just typing. Yes some words will be miss spelled, but at least my sentences will resemble actual thought, rather than random words thrown together with a period at the end.
I feel good. I like this new style of writing. I can actually feel tension in the back of my mind loosening. I think getting away from the overly stimulating screen and letting my mind wander free, is good for me. Now granted I’m sitting here writing a stream of consciousness, blog post, but I think writing fiction will have a similar feel and result. However, trial and error will be the best way to find out. I’ll keep a log and record my success or failure.

Another cool thing I found from my first text document, is that uploading my file is an actual time consuming process. I have to plug the device into my laptop, and it retypes all of my words into a word processor, or even text document. I find that cool to see my words load on the screen 1% at a time, but I can understand if that would drive some people nuts. I plan to upload at least daily, because my editor will be looking at my words either the night I’ve written them or the day after. Therefore I wouldn’t have massive amounts of text to transfer at any given time. However, if someone were to say, write an entire novel on here before transferring, I could see that taking a long time. I would also argue that it would be foolish and unwise to do that anyways, because the novel wouldn’t be backed up in any way, and after ‘The Great Crash’ of ’07 I’ll never leave my data only in one place. I lost so much that I’ll never be able to replace. Nearly a full terabyte, and that’s back when my largest hard drive was 500 GB and cost a pretty penny. Point is, I can’t sleep at night if my data isn’t backed up in at least three places: laptop, external HD, and online.

I think that’s enough rambling about my new toy/work device. Another cool side fact, I get to write this off my taxes for 2017 since it’s a work related expense, even if it’s going to make my job more fun. 🙂

Notes:

The upload on the document of about 1,100 words took a fair bit more time than I would have liked if I were in a hurry. This may be something to keep in mind. I’ve read that there’s a software work around to let a windows computer be able to see the AlphaSmart devices as external storage devices and grab the text documents directly off of it, rather than import one keystroke at a time. If I find that I’ll leave a review update here of how that goes. All in all I’m very pleased with the experience. I also left the document above alone, aside from a spell check. As an example of what one can expect to see when they’ve finished typing and upload their document. I find that my word-processors affect my writing style some times. 

Updates:

The software didn’t work, or at least I wasn’t able to work on my laptop running Windows 10.
When it comes to transferring the Neo2 send at about 260-280 words per minute. It various based on the length of words. So if you typed your whole novel on the Neo2 and then transferred it, you’d spend about 5 hours doing so. However, as I mentioned above not backing up your work regularly is asking for trouble. 

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