Tuesday, October 13, 2009

All Hail Neo

No, there is no mis-spelling in the title - I am talking about the Alphasmart Neo (www.alphasmart.com). It is nothing more than a powerful word processing system for writers on the go.

The full size keyboard is extremely comfortable and the screen only allows four to six lines of text at a time. No outlet is needed, just four AA batteries and you are good to go for about 700 hours (I am still working with the same batteries that came with the Neo and still have half their life left).

The company did not send the Neo to me to review, I purchased same in 2007 when I crossed the 50,000 word finish line for National Novel Writing Month (aka NaNoWriMo) as my big prize for winning and my little green machine (lovingly named “the beast”) has been busy ever since (actually this blog has been written on the beast while waiting for an appointment).

The Neo (beast) has traveled with me whenever and wherever I have gone and in the middle of writing something. It hooks up easily to a USB port so you can transfer your work to your main system. You can also hook it up directly to a printer that has a USB cable to print out your writing without saving. The Neo itself holds eight separate files that can be clicked over to one another with just a simple keystroke.

I can continue to rave about this little device such as it is lightweight, portable and works like a dream...ha-ha, guess I just did anyway. The price is a bit steep $200+ (including shipping and handling) [you can find used models on such sites as eBay or Amazon], but in my personal opinion, it is worth every penny and now more so because my handwriting is getting worse due to a disability.

For all the praises one could impart about the Alphasmart Neo, I think I have covered them all, the only downside I have experienced with the Neo is that the screen is not backlit so I can work outside at night, but that was easily remedied with a book light that clamps gently to the Neo and lights both the screen and the keyboard.

If one cannot write because of a hand injury or disability and speech recognition software shows off your stuttering, I would highly recommend investing in an Alphasmart Neo (whether purchased from the company or a deal found elsewhere) to keep you writing.