Customer Reviews: Alphasmart Neo - Handheld
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on March 1, 2013
I started out with an Alphasmart 3000 three years ago when I wanted to join other writers at coffeehouses for write-ins, but could not afford a laptop. I discovered that the Alphasmart 3000 was a great non-distraction writing machine that allowed me to produce larger word counts on my rough drafts than having a machine that was hooked up to the internet. The combination of the small screen, not being able to go back and edit easily on the fly and the ability to load up my finished work to my computer's word processing program with ease turned out to be a winning combination for me as a writer.

After a year of using the Alphasmart 3000, I decided to upgrade to the Alphasmart Neo. I am glad that I did. With the Neo, I have the same good features that made the AS3K a wonderful non-distraction writing machine. The Neo's keyboard is more comfortable with a better feel to the keys and the screen is slightly larger than the AS3K. The Neo handles larger file sizes and has a dictionary, thesarus and a word count feature built in. The unit is lightweight and tough. The battery life is like nothing in this world. I put in batteries once a year and then forget about it. I always have power in the unit when I need it.

I now own a laptop, but when I am working on a rough draft, I still pull out my Alphasmart Neo. It is my preferred drafting machine of choice. I have paired up the Neo with a Neoprene sleeve designed for a 13" MacBook Air and a Mighty Bright Music Light. Everything fits easily into my writing bag and carts around effortlessly.

If you are a novelist, a freelance writer, a student who needs to take notes in the classroom but are not allowed to bring a computer with you, do consider purchasing the Alphasmart Neo. It might be the answer you were looking for.
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on August 26, 2013
Taking a laptop to work is a pain and I can't use the work computer for personal things. I also can't write fast with a pen and paper. I used to read or just sit around but the Neo has given me one guaranteed thirty minute writing sprint every time I work, with no distractions. It turns on (instantly!) and the words are right there. It saves when it's shut off. The keyboard is nice if you are used to a laptop (because it's small) or a mini usb keyboard. It's incredibly hard to navigate around in the tiny little screen or to delete (which is why I simply backspace), but that's good because it forces you to keep writing.

The commands are printed right on the back, and prompts appear on the screen. It comes with a preloaded rechargeable battery which you have to disconnect if you want to use AA's (there is a coupling and if you don't know how to open it, you might need a kid or something). The cord is an A-B cord. You simply connect it, open your word doc (I used a docx) and hit "send". The words scrolled across screen like I was typing them as fast as I could, and the best part is that since I have a template set up in my word docx, it filled the template--spacing, indents and all. I was afraid it'd be like dumping a solid block of text that I'd have to separate. This thing is fabulous. It's just a keyboard with a tiny display (maybe four sentences), it has no bells and whistles, it doesn't connect to anything, it is dummy proof and bullet proof, and I did 1k in thirty minutes. 1k. That's amazing for what used to be wasted time.

I don't know why I didn't buy one before, but I know that if it ever breaks (people say they "never" break), I'm buying another right away. If you are serious about your word count, or an indie who "needs" to put out new material constantly, this will ratchet up your productivity like you wouldn't believe. Buy one. Buy one right now. You'll wonder why you ever procrastinated.
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on February 5, 2014
Renaissance went out of business September 2013, which is a shame because there's probably no other writer-focused wordprocessing machine on the market now. Everyone is going for tablets, which just seem like distraction machines. Thankfully, their low-maintenance products are still available online.

*Very light. It's about as heavy as an empty binder. You won't feel it in your bag.
*Super long battery life. Mine came with rechargeable batteries and you can also recharge it by plugging it into your computer with the USB port. All through November (I got my 50K!) I never used more than 1/4 of its battery life.
*The keyboard is about the same size as a regular keyboard, so it does not feel weird to type on.
*Includes simple, useful functions like a calculator and spell check.
*No excuses, no distractions.
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on December 21, 2013
Excellent for impromptu writing anywhere, without the easy distractions of the email, internet. Easy to transfer writings to your computer (I transfer to a Mac). Instant on and off; automatic save feature, full-size keyboard, light-weight, compact, very long battery life. Familiar word processing features and commands such as highlight, copy, cut, save. Screen displays only four lines, but sufficient for me. No mouse, but simple to move about in a document using the arrow keys. So far, all is positive. Only question is future service or replacement, if needed, since manufacturer (AlphaSmart) may no longer be in business.
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on October 29, 2012
Wanted a Alphasmart Neo when I saw a fellow writer using it.
This machine comes in so handy because it is so portable.
It is also so easy to use. And the battery seems to last forever
making it easy for long interviews, class notes, or airline flights.
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on December 29, 2012
We chose this product because it had Cowriter on it, which is a program that helps with spelling. My son loves this aid as he has a hard time spelling. He loves to write imaginative stories but has difficulty physically writing and the computer has too many distractions which the Alphasmart Neo does not, so he makes greater progress. When hooked to the computer things can be easily printed or just saved to the computer. I would recommend this to anyone who needs a simple typing device without all the games, internet and other distractions found on computers. It's been a great help to my son's education!
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on May 20, 2014
I just got this in the mail yesterday, and love it already. It is exactly what I need when composing a 1st draft of any writing project. Its keyboard and keys are well situated and roomy, and have the clickety give of a typewriter, which appeals to me.
The display screen is not overly large but you can see what you're typing very well. Just a few lines and not the viewing of an entire page as you might with a MS Word document but that's a good thing for me, because otherwise I'd stall during creativity and go back and edit, correct, etc.
It allows you to clear or store or save files with a single push of a button, and you can download it to a computer proper for revising easily enough.
Its very portable and you can sit down, turn it on and start right in creating without a hitch. It doesn't have all the bells and whistles of a software-laden word processor but it has all you need to create a rough or first draft of anything. (You just have to tell your inner editor that you'll deal with typos, etc later at the computer!)
I'm using it for what I need most - just writing. its the closest thing to those childhood days when all I used was my imagination, a pen and a notepad. And since my handwriting is such a scribble and not nearly as fast as my typing these days, I can actually reread what I wrote during that first draft, once its been downloaded.
If you're needing to write on the go, on your breaks or lunch hours, on a trip, etc, this is the best little gadget ever! I wish I had heard of it much sooner, and I hope there will always be something like it out on the market. The price was great, too!
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on April 21, 2014
Runs on batteries and doesn't lose files. Then I upload the file to my main computer as a Word doc. Can't be beat. All I can do is write, create, experiment and have drafts to polish. Works anywhere in the world (took an earlier one with me on trips to Europe) because I don't need anything but easy-to-find batteries. Ironic that with all my other wonderful technology that this is the perfect take-it-with-me tool to get stories started. I still can use ink and cocktail napkins ... but why?
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on September 21, 2015
I used to be a lazy writer. I'd use every chance and distraction to get away from the frustration of writing, but not anymore. With this thing laying around, it won't let me do anything else but write. Its so easy to use and powers up in half of a second, trust me, you won't have the chance to goof around. You can't surf on it, you can't send messages on it, you can't play with it at all. All it lets you do is write and that's it. You write, turn it off, and boom! Your work is saved. It can even send your work to a computer. Although it is a little slow to upload, it looks cool to see your work being written on the screen. I swear, every time I go into a room with the Alphasmart Neo in it, its so easy to power up and start writing, I just can't run away from the thing! With a computer, you could at least use the boot up time to goof off, but not this thing. This thing is a monster. If you're easily distracted like I am, (I have the attention span of a dog) then you need to buy this thing asap. Do not get a laptop, or a tablet, it will only serve to hinder you, buy the Alphasmart Neo or 3000. I promise it will be worth your while!!
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on December 19, 2014
The Neo is fantastic. I already had one but wanted to buy a new one for someone else. To my dismay, they are no longer being made. So I bought this used one. As long as you already have the appropriate cable on hand, this is a great purchase. This is perfect for the draft stage writer.
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