First Impressions on the Alphasmart Neo

I finally got my Neo. After waiting all weekend and obsessively checking the UPS website all day at work to see just where the hell it was, it now sits before me.

My first impression is that it’s surprisingly thin, but feels very substantial. It has a good heft to it. The keyboard has a pleasing clickiness about it, deep enough to let me really pound on the keys but also loud enough for me to think that it’s being responsive. I’ll need to get used to the shape of the Neo overall, but I could see myself getting used to the keyboard very quickly. And it’s also really fricking light. I read that it clocks in at around two pounds, but you really don’t get a sense of the lightness until you handle it.

Dear Diary, guess who's in love?

Dear Diary, guess who

I’m definitely liking it so far. The ergonimcs are pretty good. I’m sitting Indian-style on the sofa with the Neo on my lap and it’s reasonably comfy, or at least more so than most laptops might be. This thing doesn’t get hot the way that my laptop would get. That’s nice.

The green color isn’t nearly as offensive as I had originally pictured it owould be. I’ve seen some truly awful exposures on the internet, and I have to say that the color is a little more sedated than I had originally guessed. Still, I do plan to trick this baby out. I’m of the iPod generation–I’m used to my electronics looking snazzy as well as working really efficiently.

Actually painting this thing is going to have to wait until tomorrow. As much as I’d like to dive in and start spraying, I’d really rather have the assurance that things might not end with me crying about my ruined Neo, so I have elected to wait until the husband can help me out, which will be tomorrow.
I think that my impressions of the ALphasmart Neo are colored by my extreme, stalker-like anticipation, but also by its genuine friendliness. It’s a keyboard with a tiny screen, what’s not to like? Right now I’m trying to figure out which font setting I like the best. I’ve been trying to do the four-line setting, but even that seems to be too many lines for me. I tried the three-line setting, but the font started to look kind of wacky and too round. I don’t know. So far, the two-line setting has been working for me, but we shall see.

For now, I’m going to be fiddling around with this thing and trying to get used to its quirks and its ergonomics, but I think it’s safe to say that this is going to be a beautiful friendship.


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