Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Alphasmart Neo - a review for writers

A writer friend I have was given an Alphasmart Neo as a Christmas present. It is a battery operated keyboard and which allows you to type in work, edit, print it out, send or beam it to a computer or Palm device. The word processing programme it uses, Alphaword, also has a great many features including find and replace, a spell checker, thesaurus, word count and copy and paste. In addition it has a calculator function and a typing tutor.
I was so impressed that I decided to buy one and it has already proved its worth.

No longer do I need to sit at or be tied to a computer and with the distraction of the internet and emails that come through. I can instead take the Alphasmart around with me and use it to type and edit my work virtually anywhere. It is very light and portable. Also the screen is clear and does not have the glare of some monitors and which can I am sure lead to eye strain. The Alphasmart has an incredibly long battery life – possibly 800 hours or more - and is very energy efficient.

Another impressive feature is how easy the Alphasmart is to use with the computer. Files can be sent through a USB cable to MS Word or relevant programme or beamed over using IR. I have also used it with my Palm TX and again beaming files was easy and straightforward. From the Palm I send the text as an email attachment and with both the Neo and Palm so portable this has already proved exceptionally helpful.

The Alphasmart model I have is the Neo and this does seem a firm favourite with Alphasmart User groups. There is though another model available in the US called the Dana and which does have internet and email capabilities.

On the one occasion I needed to contact the makers of the Alphasmart, they were most helpful and responsive. The Alphasmart is not only an impressive product but backed by an equally impressive company and with great customer support. The Alphasmart, because of its reliability and simplicity has also been introduced into many schools but for writers it has my highest recommendation. It is convenient, sturdy, portable, energy efficient and I have no doubt will help to increase my productivity and output. For further details visit www.alphasmart.co.uk or www.alphasmart.com.

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