While I was looking for a picture of my version of the AlphaSmart for yesterday’s post I came across a post touting the superiority of the Neo (that’s what they’re calling AlphaSmarts these days) over netbooks. To say I was shocked is an understatement. In these times when netbooks flow from the heavens like water, why in the world would anyone still use an AlphaSmart? I was doubly surprised to discover that this guy is an SF writer (he went to Viable Paradice). Thinking on it, I’ve probably met him. But that’s neither here nor there, my main shock remains: AlphaSmart over netbook? No wai!
He even has the same netbook I do, a Samsung NC10. Yet he still feels that the portability and usability of an AlphaSmart is far, far better. He also cites battery longevity. Though I’ll agree that years of battery life is better than a few hours, ever since I got my NC10 I haven’t felt chained to an outlet. (It’s the 7+ hours of battery life, I love it, so.) And while it is great to have a machine that allows you to concentrate on just one thing, writing, the device is just a little too unitasking for me.
One of the reasons I stopped using my AlphaSmart is that it was crap for editing. Sure, it would allow you to get some words down on the screen and drive forward. However, you certainly can’t edit really well on that thing, or go back through what you’ve written and try to take stock in a meaningful way. And only seeing 4 lines of text at a time felt like far too little. You can’t edit already-existing text. And if you’ve typed a major chunk of your novel on the thing, good luck trying to get a sense of the structure.
Not that Marko claimed the Neo could do any of these things. These were just my reasons for giving the machine up. I needed a gadget that would allow me to do all of my writing tasks, from the first draft through to the editing stage, that was easy to carry, light, and had a reasonably-sized screen. Aftre I accomplished that with my Eee PC, my next goal was a netbok with long battery life so I wouldn’t have to worry about outlets. And here were are.
Having read through his whole review, though, do you think that the Neo has enough advantages over a netbook to justify putting the latter aside?