I am sitting here in the Haverhill Public library working on this very blog post.
I am typing on a full qwerty keyboard that is slightly smaller than a standard computer keyboard. The machine itself is not much bigger than that.
It has a small LCD screen that shows four lines of content and the text display is not much better than your average calculator.
And I love it.
I bought this on ebay last week for only $16 while new models average over $100. Where my wife teaches, she says students use these all the time. Apparently the guy that sold this to me bought a bulk of them from a school too.
For power, it uses AA batteries, but this one came with a rechargeable battery that I can charge using a standard USB cable.
I stores eight unique files at a time, and I think a total of 64 pages of conent – which is more than I will ever need at one time.
When you plug it into a computer, the computer just thinks it’s another keyboard being connected. Then, you choose which file you want to transfer and hit send. The AlphaSmart then “types” all of your content on whatever text editor you have opened.
Yesterday I transferred a Goonies post directly into the tumblr text editor.
Also, I like that it always auto saves your content. I can just turn off the machine and turn it back on to get back to my content.
It also has a spell-checker and some quiz applets that I figure are what students use it for.
This is by no means ground-breaking technology, but for the price, the ease of use, and the convenience of lugging this around, it really is a great little machine.