It’s been nearly 10 years since I bought a brand new Alphasmart Neo from their web-sight. You might be asking what on earth is a Neo? Simply put, it is a typing pad originally designed as a cheap alternative to laptop computers for schools. They are tough and durable, with a non-back-lit screen like that of a calculator. And they have a 700 hour battery life on three AA batteries!
I had been hearing about them for a little while from other writers as they were much more portable, but had one advantage over laptops or computers-no internet access or other features.
BOTTOM LINE-NO DISTRACTION!
I started using mine in November of 2007 and haven’t looked back. Most of the posts and books I have written since then have been on it. I have only changed the batteries three times (because I bought really cheap batteries twice!). It is hands down the best thing I have ever typed on.
With a turn-on-start-typing format a writer loves it became my go to tool. I do most of my journaling on it as I just keep a running, dated, file on it which I keep adding to. I replaced the enter key once. Otherwise it is running just as well as when I first bought it.
To get text onto a computer I plug in a printer USB end to a computer, open a document program and press send. It acts like a person typing and sends the words into the document from which you save it. This is not ideal in the beam, email, wireless world we live in, but if you use a computer then you can use this device. Windows did have some trouble recognizing it, Windows 7 I remember, but 8 works well. I just keep an extra printer cable plugged in so I can attach the Neo at any time to transfer.
Honestly, after using it for a decade, I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for distraction free writing. Especially if you are the sort of person who really hates back-lit screens. The battery life is unbeatable as is its durability. There are few electronic items that can take a beating and still work.
Sadly if you want to get one you will have to look on Amazon or eBay because they have stopped making them. This is a sad, sad thing I believe. There are the Neo 2 which has more memory and I believe a slightly bigger screen, though I could be wrong. There is also the wi-fi equipped Dana which is almost the same size and does have a Palm based platform. I bought a Dana, but found it lost my data and the battery life was terrible. That should be in another review, but suffice to say that they should have kept it simple. Still, if you can find one, I say it would be a great tool for any writer out there. After all, that is what I typed this review on!