Home Tech Freewrite Alpha is for people who just want to get their stuff done

Freewrite Alpha is for people who just want to get their stuff done

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Rounded rectangular-shaped gray electronic device with a dark gray keyboard in the middle and a small text-only screen...

Four blank lines and a cursor. After completing the setup details, that’s all you’re left with when you start a new draft in Freewrite Alpha.

No spell check, no AI-based grammar notes, and certainly no other browser tabs to distract you from the end goal of typing words on the page.

Instead, Freewrite has taken its already distraction-free typing experience and reduced the price a bit by reducing the Alpha’s screen to almost nothing.

I may not be a novelist, but between news posts and reviews, I write about 20,000 words a week. So I thought, what better way to test out a typewriter than to use it exclusively for a whole weekto see how it stands up to the rigors of the online journalist’s routine.

Freewrite, to be fair, wouldn’t claim this to be the ideal plan for Alpha; It’s a writing tool, sure, but it seems pretty clearly aimed at longer-term, larger-scale projects. We are talking about novels, memoirs, manifestos.

Still, with cloud storage syncing, you could have Alpha immediately upload anything you type to Google Drive (or Dropbox, OneDrive, Evernote, or just their proprietary system called Postbox), so if you put it on a desktop in front of a computer monitor that I used to send drafts to editors, there was technically nothing standing in my way.

So, a work week later, here I am, impressed by the Alpha’s performance, but also wishing I could were a novelist, since this resource would clearly adapt to that vocation.

Reformed Scripture

The Alpha is a simple slab of plastic, with a small stand on the back that isn’t adjustable and a mechanical keyboard on the front. It has a red power button, a few function keys on that keyboard, and a four-line LCD screen.

It’s a word processor in the old-school, ’80s sense of the word, capable of storing a large number of drafts and syncing them over Wi-Fi when you’re connected.

Photography: Free writing

Moving between those drafts, changing settings, and logging in and out can be a complicated hassle due to the lack of a touch interface or trackpad, but most people would find themselves doing that much more rarely than I did, because, again , most people would not write eight news stories about him in one day.

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