The folks at NeoDirect, home of AlphaSmart keyboards Neo and Dara, are currently offering (while supplies last) a free folio case with the purchase of a Neo2. I discovered this when I went to the site to buy one as a gift and thought since it was free I'd go for it. The keyboard and folio arrived this morning:
Knowing how freebies are I was half-expecting some cheap, flimsy case, but the folio is actually quite nice -- it's like a zippered heavy-duty briefcase with lots of pockets and places for papers and other writer junk as well as the keyboard:
The top part has a deep pocket where initially I thought you were supposed to put the keyboard:
That's actually a storage pocket. They include an adhesive strip of Velcro material that you can stick to the back of the keyboard to hold it in place on the lower half, like so:
They also include a hook-on shoulder strap you can connect to two rings on the outside of the folio, or you can pull out these handles and use them:
I don't often get excited by freebie cases but this one is very well-made; I'd willingly pay $25.00-$30.00 for something comparable. At $119.00 plus shipping for the Neo2 battery-operated model this freebie makes a nice incentive to order now if you're in the market for a smart keyboard.
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Lynn, even after googling it, I still can't work out what a Neo is. Its not a lap top or tablet, just appears to be a keyboard, but with a little screen. I'm assuming its a special "writer" tool but what is it used for? Please excuse my ignorance. Nice freebie case though.ReplyDelete
No problem, Fran, I've been meaning to test out the one I bought before I wrap it up, so I can do a little demo along with the explanation.Delete
A Neo2 is a smart keyboard, which is to say it's like a computer keyboard with built-in memory and different functions. Whatever you type on it appears on an LED screen just above the keyboard (see pic of that by clicking here), and you can save whatever you type into one of eight files. You can then plug the Neo2 into your desktop computer or laptop and send whatever you've typed on it to a word processor program, and internet page etc. (see pic of that by clicking here) and it transfers what you've typed there (see pic of that by clicking here).
Writers have been using these smart keyboards for many years; they're a great way to get some distraction-free writing done. Because the Neo2 is inexpensive and much sturdier than a laptop it travels well, so many writers take them with them to meetings, conferences or on research trips. They also run about 700 hours on three AA batteries (I've never tried the rechargeable model, but it's probably comparable) so they're very energy efficient. They're also reported to be nearly indestructible; I've had writer pals tell me they've dropped them, tossed them across a room and so forth and they still work fine afterward (not that I'm recommending anyone try that; it's just what I've heard.)
I think the main benefit is how portable the Neo2 is; it's much lighter in weight than a laptop and thanks to the batteries you don't have to plug it in to use it. You could realistically write half a novel on it with the storage capacity. The cost means it's also much easier to replace than a laptop if it happens to be lost or stolen, too.
It's very hard to resist the internet when you write on a computer, but since the Neo2 is only for writing and nothing else it allows a writer a distraction-free option when they want to get some serious work done. It doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles, of course, but when you're writing you really don't need them. There is a spell check and different little functions that can be useful, and I believe you can even print what you write from the Neo2 (another disclaimer -- I've never done that myself.)
I wrote this reply to your comment on the Neo2 while I was sitting on the porch, so if nothing else this demonstrates how nicely it works. :)
Thank you for the clear and concise explanation. What a clever, portable tool for a busy writer.Delete
Happy to be of help -- I love this product a lot. :)Delete
For anyone considering a Neo, I recommend you go for it. It has essentially replaced my laptop for all first draft material. It is one of the best investments I have ever made as a writer. It keeps me off the internet, enables me to type while on the train, and I never have to worry about finding an outlet. (Though my batteries did die fairly soon after getting mine, so be aware that the batteries that come in it might be a bit old.) Highly recommend this product, especially if you get that awesome case for free. I ordered a neoprene sleeve for mine and that works great for my purposes. But that free case looks pretty nifty! Jump on it!ReplyDelete
Good tip on the batteries, Diana; thanks for mentioning that.Delete
I love my NEO2... I have been having trouble with my new laptop recognizing it, but they are working with me to resolve the issue, and are very nice about it. :) I would say it is a great tool for anyone who is too distracted by the bells and whistles of a laptop or pc to get all the writing done that they would like. *all though, I still love my laptop and Dragon dictation software* :)ReplyDelete
I've been borrowing my daughter's Neo2 whenever I go on road trips so I can leave the laptop at home. I don't worry so much what might happen if it gets lost during our travels, either.Delete
Love my Neo as well.ReplyDelete
Another vote for this wonderful handy tool.
Thanks for the thumbs-up, Ron. :)Delete
I have been thinking of getting one of these for a long time. I write at various coffee shops on the beach almost everyday. With this I can actually go and put my feet in the water and write.ReplyDelete