This is my first draft experience with the Freewrite Traveler from Astrohaus. After a two-year wait and many delays, it is finally here and I finally have mine. I am now typing on the device. Initially, I have noticed that the typing experience is a bit different. I am a fast typist so it is a bit slower for me than usual. The other noticeable difference is that there is a bit of a lag time with the text appearing on the screen.
Improvement over the Alphasmart devices? Maybe not. It’s just a different device. If you have an Alphasmart, don’t get rid of it. Hold onto it tight with both hands.
I wrote a previous blog about whether this device was fact or fiction. It is definitely fact but will it be a good device to write fiction? That remains to be seen. At the moment, I’m still a bit frustrated by the lag time. They need to fix this. My brain and fingers operate at a faster speed than this device can handle.
It is definitely a drafting device. If you are like me and feel the need to correct or edit as you go, it’s going to be a painful adjustment.
What’s the return policy on this thing?
It’s going to be an adjustment. It’s new. It’s different.
Couldn’t someone have upgraded the Alphasmart instead?
So what do I like about it?
It’s very portable and lightweight. I can take it with me everywhere. If you just want to write and nothing else, this is a good tool to take with you.
It’s great for outdoor use. You don’t have to struggle with the brightness issues like you would with a laptop or tablet.
It automatically synchs to the cloud. You won’t lose your work. Once you hit your wifi, it synchs. Done. The process of linking it to my Google Drive account was easy.
Some interesting features:
You can scroll through the lower screen to show word count, reading time (time it takes to read what you’ve written) and number of characters. There is also a timer, clock, and information about your folder/wifi connection. I think the word count feature and timer are two things I would use the most.
What I don’t like about it?
Ugh. the lag time between typing and text appearing on the screen. Could be a deal breaker.
The white keyboard annoys me. It’s going to get dirty. What were they thinking? I guess it looks pretty out of the box. It won’t look so pretty after continuous use (if there is any).
This device is designed for writers as a “distraction free” device. I suppose it does that. I’m not sure you need a special device for that just discipline to NOT be distracted and write on whatever device you have.
After waiting in anticipation for over two years for this device, I can tell you that I honestly feel let down. It wasn’t worth it and definitely not worth the price. I paid $349 for it two years ago, it’s now $429. Check it out for yourself at www.astrohaus.com. I would have rather used that money for a new MacBook Air.
I really wanted to like this device and justify its cost. If I’m really being honest, I can’t. I’m feeling a little buyer’s remorse right now. I will try it a little longer and see if it fits into my workflow but my first impressions of tech devices are usually pretty accurate.
If you are a writer and thinking about this device, don’t spend the money on it. You don’t need it. Get a newer laptop or see if you can get an Alphasmart device on eBay.