Freewrite Alpha Is Astrohaus's Most Affordable Smart Typewriter to Date.

Freewrite Alpha Is Astrohaus's Most Affordable Smart Typewriter to Date.

We tested Freewrite Smart Typewriter, which is a pricey, single-purpose E Ink typewriter that does one thing exceptionally well. It allows you to write text while providing a superb keyboard and no distractions. There's a lot to appreciate about it if you're a serious writer, but it's not cheap; Astrohaus, the company behind the Freewrite, even upped the pricing of its products, including the full-size model and the portable laptop-style Freewrite Traveler, earlier this year.

Today, though, Astrohaus is revealing the Freewrite Alpha, a third gadget that has been teased for a few weeks. The most crucial thing to know is that the Alpha will cost $349, or $249 if purchased through the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, which begins today. That's still not cheap, but it's half the price of the Freewrite Traveler and has the same key functionality as the other items in the portfolio.

The Freewrite Alpha is a two-pound slate with a pop-out kickstand that isn't nearly as portable as the Traveler, but should still be simple to transport just about everywhere. Despite its little size, it features a full-size mechanical keyboard with Kailh Choc V2 low-profile switches. My expectation is that they'll have a lot more travel than the Traveler's laptop-style keyboard, but they won't be as pleasurable to type on as the Kailh Box Brown keyboard on the full-size Smart Typewriter.It's also the first Freewrite to feature an LCD display instead of the E Ink panels found on previous generations.

It has a smaller screen than the already-small screens on other Freewrite models; depending on the font size, it can show between two and six lines of text. Given that Freewrite devices are designed for writing rather than editing, this shouldn't be a problem, although you will see less copy on this device than on others. You can scroll back up to check what you've typed and use the WASD keys to move your mouse around, but I usually just plow forward and write.

According to Astrohaus, the LCD display is reflective and uses ambient light, so it's not quite like staring at a luminous rectangle like your phone or iPad. However, it is unlikely to be as easy on the eyes as the E Ink screen on previous Freewrites. The refresh rate, on the other hand, should be significantly faster. In terms of battery life, the Alpha should last around 100 hours. Previous Freewrites did not have particular battery estimations; Astrohaus just said that they last weeks between charges.

The Alpha has many characteristics with other Freewrite models. Everything you write is instantly saved to the device locally, and everything is also backed up to the cloud and available on the Freewrite Postbox web app if you connect it to WiFi.

You are also not need to utilize this exclusive service because the Alpha may backup to Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Drive. For the more traditional among us, you may connect the Alpha to a computer and access the local files through its USB-C interface (this is also used for charging).

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Paul Syverson
Paul Syverson
Paul Syverson is the founder of Product Reviews. Paul is a computer scientist; he used to carry out a handful of significant studies which contributed to bringing in many special features on the site. He has a huge passion for computers and other tech products. He is always diligent in delivering quality writings to bring the most value to people. |