The answer came to me some time a couple years ago after having suffered from chronic eye strain for about three years. The NEO2 is a lot easier on the eyes. The screen does not have the same wicked brightness as a computer screen does, and so I can watch the screen as I type.
Up until a couple of weeks before buying this little gem, I would write blog posts and Kindle products (including the first half of the novel I just finished) long hand on a piece of scratch paper first, then type them into the computer. It is much easier for my eyes to copy from a piece of paper than watch a computer screen. When I copy, I only have to look up once in a while to check for spelling errors.
But working that way, it took me at least 50% more time to write something than just typing it straight into the computer.
Tired of taking so much time to write just a few pages a day, I began to wonder: did the AlphaSmart still exist? My husband did some searching, and discovered that, indeed, it does, only under a different name! (I'm not sure how he found it, because I didn't even remember the old version was called AlphaSmart!)
Advantages and disadvantages of the NEO2Now, it does not do everything that Word (or the Mac version of Word) can do. It does not check spelling as you go (and its spell check function is TERRIBLE). If you want to bold, italicize, or underline a word you have to go in and do that once it's on the computer. You have to go back in an do headings and subheadings. I totally miss not being able to right-click and immediately find synonyms for a word that I know I am overusing.
BUT...the NEO2 keyboard is easier to type on than a laptop keyboard. The screen does not kill your eyes. I can now type ten pages of a novel in less than three hours (unless it's a bad day) - and I am only writing everything ONE time.
You can have up to eight documents going at one time. I don't know the size of each file space, but each is large enough to hold a few hundred manuscript pages.
How the NEO2 worksSo, how does the NEO2 work? When you plug the USB port into the computer, the computer sees it as a keyboard. Whatever you have typed will e re-typed automatically into whatever document application you have up and ready to go.
For example, I typed this post on my NEO2. To get it into my WordPress blog, I brought up a new text box for a blog post, connected the USB cord from the NEO2 to my computer, then hit the "send" key on the NEO2. If I wanted to stare at the computer screen - which, of course, I do not - I would be able to see the words get typed into the text box as if by magic, or invisible hands.
There are four different speeds you can set the words to be typed. The highest setting will type ten pages (Times New Roman, size 12, double-spaced) in about three minutes. The next setting down is considerably slower. I don't know why anyone would mess with that, unless they wanted to watch the process and catch errors as they occurred. You can't fix errors until it's all done, without canceling the whole process and starting over.
Anyway, whatever settings you have fixed for your computer word processing application - font, size, spacing - is how the text in your NEO2 file will show up.
Isn't that cool? I wish I'd bought the thing when I first heard about it. At under $200, it would have been well worth saving me the eventual severe eye strain.
Well, live and learn. In case any of you want to know my secret to whipping out novels so fast, the NEO2 is now a big part of it. You can buy one here.
Blessings to you, and happy reading (or writing!),