Alphasmart Neo: My Writing Tool Of Choice

Looking for more writing tools to help with your next novel? Check out my post These 5 Writing Tools Will Help You Survive NaNoWriMo.

I spend a lot of time writing. Whether it’s a fiction project, blog posts, book reviews or whatever, I’m always working on something. Like most writers, I compose most of my work on my computer, either in MS Word (for Mac) or Scrivener.

Word Processor With No Bells And Whistles

But lately I’ve been using a different tool, it’s called the Alphasmart Neo. Basically, it’s a bare bones, no frills word processor. All you do on it is write. You can’t check your email, surf the web or play solitaire. The Neo only shows 4 lines of text at a time, forcing you to just concentrate on writing and not go back and edit what I’ve already written.

It's an ugly little thing, but it gets the job done!

It’s an ugly little thing, but it gets the job done, damnit!

It runs on regular AA batteries (not sure how many because I’ve never changed them). The battery life: a little less than 900 hours. It blasts every laptop and smartphone out of the water with its battery life alone. The Neo is also VERY sturdy. They were made for young students to learn typing, and also to help students with certain disabilities communicate better. So it’ll take more than a drop on the floor to break a Neo.

The keyboard is full sized, meaning I don’t have to contort my hands and arms into unnatural positions when I work. Combine that with the little screen and it’s a funky looking machine. I’d even go so far as to say it’s a little on the ugly side. But I’m using it to write, not make a fashion statement.

In the time I’ve had it (I bought it in September 2013) I haven’t written in public. Usually I don’t regardless of what I write with. But I’ve read the people who do use it get some strange looks and it’s a great conversation starter. That said, when warmer weather comes I’ll be outside on my deck typing away.

Where Can You Buy An Alphasmart Neo?

I bought mine used on Ebay for around $50. You can also find them on  Amazon . Or you can order directly from Neo Direct (though they are discontinuing their latest model, the Neo 2). Personally, Ebay is probably your best bet. Just find a reputable seller with good feedback.

Edit: 9/24/15 – The Neo Direct website no longer exists. You might be able to find some on Amazon, but Ebay is still your best bet.

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One Response to Alphasmart Neo: My Writing Tool Of Choice

  1. Hemingway can be used as a writing tool. It will open a new document and save it like any word processor. It also supports Markdown. The program is available for both Apple and Windows.

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