My Freewrite arrived today along with the set of blank keycaps I had ordered. There was a question about whether the Freewrite would arrive today. The UPS shipping was originally going to deliver to the Post Office for them to deliver. I paid to upgrade the shipping because they said it would arrive a day earlier. But this morning the tracking still showed “In Transit” though it had a scheduled delivery date of today.
Except then I got an email saying they’d deliver it tomorrow. I checked the tracking again. Still said today. Which was it?
I tweeted about the confusion and quickly got a response from UPS (which I wasn’t seeking) offering to help. I sent a DM reply.
And the UPS truck pulled up out front.
By the time I got back inside, customer support had confirmed that they would deliver it tomorrow. Even though it had already arrived!
Before doing anything with it, I needed to finished baking cookies. Vegan chocolate, chocolate chip, with almonds. Yummy!
With cookies finished, I set up the Freewrite. It was super easy since I already had a Postbox (the service to store drafts and manage your devices and orders) account. I logged into our WiFi, logged into the Postbox account, and the current file I was working on using Sprinter (web-based editor) showed up on the screen.
I love the aluminium case and the switches for the folders and WiFi, the screen, the mechanical keys, all of it is very tactile and enjoyable to use.
The first thing I did after setup? Replace the keycaps on the Freewrite. There wasn’t anything wrong with the original keycaps. I ordered a blank set of black keys.
I write using the Dvorak key layout and I’ve always wanted a blank keyboard. Why? I love the look of a keyboard with no labels. It’s clean and I don’t have labels that might wear off. And the letters aren’t in the wrong place the way they are with a Qwerty-labeled keyboard. I also like the look of the all-black keyboard rather than the white keys.
I used the red keys for the [New] buttons on the Freewrite since they pick up the red power button. I appreciated that Astrohaus also included black keys for those buttons, so you could go entirely black for the keyboard if desired.
The blank keycaps are great for anyone uses a different language, too. You could label them–but why? You’ll be a better typist if you leave the keys blank. It’s a great way to kill any impulse to look at the keys while you type.
I don’t think pictures capture the feel of the Freewrite. I’ve used Alphasmarts and word processors in the past but there hasn’t been anything like this. The e-ink screen is lovely, I can write in direct sunlight and in dim spaces with the screen light. It’s on and right there in the document. I can walk away and come right back to my work. And the documents automatically sync with my other services, like Dropbox.
I also appreciate that it supports Markdown for formatting text. It’s great for dealing with italics and other elements I want to use while writing. I’ve been using Sprinter recently for the initial work on my novel and that has gone really well but it’s even better on the Freewrite.
The Folder switch is terrific. I love that it’s a physical switch. Flip it over and the current document in that folder opens. Easy, simple, and elegant. I’m working on my novel in the first folder and using the others for smaller projects.
My Changing Views
When the Freewrite’s initial campaign launched (with a different name), I watched with great interest. I really wanted an e-ink distraction-free device like the Freewrite, but I wasn’t sold on the ‘smart typewriter’ design. I also wanted something smaller and lighter. I didn’t back the campaign, but I signed up for the newsletter and continued to watch the development with interest.
I’d consider getting one sometimes, but kept backing off. I was interested, but not sold. Then the Traveler campaign launched, and I wanted one immediately. I was online as the campaign launched to be one of the first to back it. It hit all the things I wanted in such a device.
Except it wouldn’t be in production and shipping until Q3 of 2019.
With the Traveler ordered, I started using Sprinter, and the more that I used it, the more appealing the Freewrite looked. I finally got how the Freewrite and the Traveler could work together. I made my plans for 2019 and I wanted to write my new novel, Synthetic Pain on the Freewrite.
I’m glad I did. My initial experience is that it exceeds my expectations. I’m love writing on this smart typewriter. And when the Traveler finally ships I plan to use both. I’ll use the Freewrite at home and the Traveler when I’m out places (or just want to use something smaller). It’ll be great to have both.
I’m going to have fun working on my writing this year!