Today, though Astrohaus introduces the third device that has been teasing in the last few weeks, the Freewrite Alpha. The most important thing to know is that the price of Alpha will be $ 349, or $ 249 if you buy through the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign starting today. It’s still not cheap, but it’s half the price of Freewrite Traveler, offering the same basic features as the other products on offer.
The Freewrite Alpha is a small two-pound sign with a slide-out kickstand that is probably not as portable as the Traveler, but should still be easy to carry anywhere with you. Despite its small size, however, it has a full-size mechanical keyboard with low-profile Kailh Choc V2 switches. My guess is that they’ll have a lot more travel than the Traveler’s laptop keyboard, though they likely won’t be as satisfying as the typing experience with the Kailh Box Brown’s fully sized Smart Typewriters.
It is also the first Freewrite to use an LCD display instead of the E Ink screens on other models. It is a smaller screen than the already small displays on other Freewrite models; can display two to six lines of text, depending on the font size used. Given that Freewrite devices are designed specifically for sketching and not editing, this shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but will be view fewer copies on this device than others. You can scroll up and see what you’ve typed and use the WASD keys to move the cursor around, but I’ve found most of the time I just push forward and type.
Astrohaus claims the LCD is reflective and uses ambient light, so it’s not the same as looking at a glowing rectangle like your phone or iPad. But it probably won’t be as easy on the eyes as the E Ink screen found in other Freewrites. But on the other hand, the refresh rate should be much faster. When it comes to battery life, the Alpha should last around 100 hours. Earlier Freewrites had no specific battery estimate; The Astrohaus only said there were weeks between charges.
Alpha has a lot in common with other Freewrite models. Everything you write is automatically saved to your device locally and – assuming you connect it to Wi-Fi – everything is also saved in the cloud and available in the Freewrite Postbox web app. You also don’t need to use this proprietary service as Alpha can also back up to Evernote, Dropbox, or Google Drive. For the old school among us, you can also connect Alpha to a computer and download local files via the USB-C port (it’s also used for charging).
If you’re interested, the aforementioned Indiegogo campaign is now available, but the devices won’t ship until July 2023. It’s a long wait for this product, but the current price of $ 249 is far more affordable than any previous Freewrite – so if this device falls in your way eye, it’s worth checking out on Indiegogo. While Freewrite devices are expensive, from experience I can tell that they can really help you focus on your typing, provided that of course you can stay away from the phone.
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