Comparing 3 AlphaSmart Digital Typewriters
Using a non-distractive writing machine
An AlphaSmart is a digital typewriter that helped teach keyboarding to grade school children in the public school system. The AlphaSmart has a full-sized keyboard, is portable and built to take a beating. It has no internet connection. It stores the keystrokes the student made in file buffers that can be uploaded either to a computer via a cable or to a central unit in a classroom setting. Since the children can not access the internet, they learn to write without distraction and pick up keyboarding speed with ease.
They phased out the AlphaSmart in the school systems for tablets and chromebooks (a limited laptop) around a decade ago. School districts sold many of these tough old AlphaSmarts to get rid of them. This is when the writers of Nanowrimo discovered the machines and sang of their virtues.
During National Novel Month, the wrimos gather in November to draft 50 thousand words toward a novel of their devising. They are told to write with abandon and not edit as they write. The small screen of the AlphaSmart helps with this. Because it is tiny and has limited editing capabilities, it almost forces the writer into this drafting style.
For around $35, you can have a self-contained writing machine with a full-sized keyboard and a small screen interface that will not get between you and your writing. AlphaSmarts are no longer manufactured. All the machines available are now used, but they were built for small children and therefore are very tough. I personally use an AlphaSmart Neo as my drafting machine of choice, but I started out on an AlphaSmart 3000 and found it more than up to writing a novel.
There are three main model types of AlphaSmart to choose from. Which one is right for you may not be clear. Below, I am going to make a comparison of the three models going over their strengths and weaknesses. I know writers that use any of these three models, so once you know the differences, you should be able to determine which is the right one for you.
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