Yay or nay?

Discover what the internet is saying about Freewrite.

Upgraded Reviews scanned the web to find out what real users are saying about Freewrite.

See the highlights below and decide for yourself!

Pros and Cons

Table of contents

✅ Pros

The small screen has enough room to display one to two paragraphs at a time so your mind is always kept in the present or future.
Review Pros
The improvement in the experience of typing makes the purchase worthwhile.
The whole machine only weighs four pounds, so you could feasibly bring it to a coffee shop.
The E-Ink screen backlight is optional, and so you can turn it off and can sit outside at a coffee shop or a picnic table and not worry about glare on your screen.
The arrow key thing aside, the focus of this gadget was always going to be a fantastic keyboard, and I’m always down with that.
Document syncing to the cloud is very convenient.
It has folders and file support.
It uses eInk instead of an LCD or the black on gray old school display type of the AlphaSmart, which may be easier on the eyes.
Setup was straightforward.
It consists of a hearty full-sized keyboard.
This is almost steampunkish in its dimensions and finish.
The feel of the keyboard is excellent.
It is well-suited to its stated mission.
It has good build quality.
It lasts for four weeks on one charge.
The Freewrite keeps track of my word count.
It’s an immediate conversation starter.
The keys have the perfect amount of resistance.
The keyboard has a great feel – positive without being too click-clacky.
The battery life runs around four weeks.
The Freewrite can handle three projects at a time, which is perfect for keeping you focused and honest about finishing them.
The device is beautifully designed, and looks great on almost any desk or countertop.
It has hardware controls for WiFi.
Mechanical keyboard is a good thing.
Unlike a laptop, the thing sits nicely on my lap, even sitting in a comfy chair in the living room.
It has simple, straightforward operation.
There are also hotkeys to bring up ancillary information like outlines, research, or notes.
The Traveler is more focused on pure functionality and portability.
It’s lighter.
You can also push the send button on the keyboard to email a PDF version of the file to yourself at any time.
Front-lit E Ink screen is easy to read.
The switches controlling the folder and wi-fi have a solid, positive feel.
The team behind this gadget set out to make an excellent typing experience and they succeeded.
You can store your document in Astrohaus’ own cloud storage, your Google Drive or Dropbox or whatever other cloud storage thing you set it up to connect to, and your email.
It has overall solid build quality.
The Astrohaus people were very responsive and provided an interim fix and, subsequently, a fix to the Postbox configuration.
The Freewrite has wireless capabilities.
It has great mechanical keyboard which is on par with the best one’s currently available.
It offers reliable cloud connection.
Users can sync their files to a Postbox, Dropbox, Google Drive or Evernote account.
When you are ready to upload your unedited, free-form masterpiece, simply switch on the WiFi button and the content will sync to the cloud.
The box, the packaging, everything was top-notch quality.
Though compact, it has a full, weighted keyboard that I find therapeutic to type on.
It’s very sturdy and I definitely am not worried about damage.
The retro look, combined with the sturdy (4 pounds) aluminum case, make it an instant conversation piece.
The e-ink screen is good and clear.
The fancy mechanical keyboard (Cherry MX Brown) is one of the main reasons the Freewrite is so enjoyable to use.
The paperwhite screen is easy on the eyes, and a good choice for people who are suffering from blue-light burnout in every other area of their lives.
The best thing about the Freewrite is the Cherry MX keyboard.
Freewrite has this convenient folder system with a nice mechanical switch to go between folders A, B and C.
It has excellent build quality.
It has great quality backlit e-ink display.
It does not have any major shortcomings as it is.
The inability to stop and edit is integral to the concept of the Freewrite, and it works.
It feels vintage.
There are multiple “documents” you can open and close and the system autosaves and syncs to services like Dropbox automatically.
It’s also a lot cheaper.
It’s fun to use and the keyboard is incredibly sturdy.
The battery life is excellent, lasting for four days on a single charge, even with vigorous use.
The screen is just like the paperwhite Kindle screen.
It has the size and shape and weight of a small typewriter.
The case is metal, solid, tough.
It also gives folder choices.
It is easily transportable to let you write in the setting of your choice.
The keys were white, which caused them to stand out dramatically against the black of the rest of the device.
It is small and light.
It has amazing battery life.

❌ Cons

It is not for anything other than first drafts, so anyone who buys one thinking otherwise will be sorely disappointed.
There are no arrow keys.
It is expensive.
There are full-fledged laptops that cost less.
The battery life isn’t great.
There is also a slight lag when typing quickly, so you will find yourself waiting a second for the words you just typed to appear on the screen.
The Freewrite often leaves you with a garbled mess of spelling and grammar mistakes.
Latency is a bit slow yet it totally works.
The difference in the keyboard, coupled with the lag in the screen and the lack of arrow keys to make corrections, means that my second pass shows me a LOT of jagged red underlines.
The Freewrite’s $US500 price tag is also a steep.
There are no Tweets, Facebook sharing systems, or games.
There is slight wobble in base of review unit.
You’ll still have to deal with a one-inch thickness.
You can’t go back and edit what you wrote yesterday on the Freewrite.
For some reason, even with a $549 price tag, it doesn’t come with its own charger.
There are some early technical issues which should be resolved in future updates.
Once or twice my text remained in the Freewrite and did not sync to Postbox.
It’s hard to imagine ever typing a final draft of a story, essay, or creative project on it.
It doesn’t allow any editing beyond the backspace and delete-last-word functions.
The other disappointment I’ve had is screen refresh.
It’s not for editing.
I’m a bit embarrassed to mention the expense of the Freewrite because I’m not a wealthy man.
High price is a big issue.
$500 is a lot of money for a glorified typewriter.
If you need a lot of editing, forget it.

Final Say

Read the summaries of what reviewers think about Freewrite below.

Review Summaries
If you’re wealthy enough that five hundred dollars is not a significant amount of money for you, and you’re doing Nanowrimo and want something to help you bang out a ton of words in a short time, then this is the tool for you. For everybody else, I’d say skip it unless, like me, you can find it used and cheap.
There’s a lot about it that I like. The case is metal, solid, tough. The keyboard has a great feel – positive without being too click-clacky. The e-ink screen is good and clear, with or without the backlight. Hardware problem right out of the box, no support at weekends, no support forums, no community of users to consult with. That’s too many red flags for me, for such an expensive item.
Overall, the acquisition of a Freewrite has been a boon to my writing life, and if I accidentally dropped the thing into the bay today, I’d order another immediately.
If you find yourself craving a tool that allows you to type on a full keyboard, seamlessly send your work to your computer when you are ready for the editing phase, but otherwise devoid of other temptations and distractions then this might be the tool for you.
My final thoughts on the Freewrite is that it is very close to a distraction-free writing device, optimized for getting text out of my head and into a format that can be edited…later.
I know how hard it is to release a product, from start, usability testing till the real product. Astrohaus have done a great job here, to deliver the product as promised. It does have it’s flaws, but in general it works as expected, and for the most part it’s usability is excellent.
There aren’t many physical tools to support distraction-free writing. Some folks, myself included, have used the infamous AlphaSmart, a crazy old word processor used by students or simply set up laptops without a Wi-Fi connection. The Freewrite Traveler takes all of that to the next level by offering the simplest, clearest, and most distraction-free system available.
The Freewrite does what it says it will do. It keeps me from being distracted by everything my laptop can offer. Yes, there are productivity apps. This has worked better than any of those could. If I put my phone in my pocket instead of on the table beside me, I can get an uninterrupted hour of work.
The quality of the construction, the keyboard, the hardware they used, the keyboard, the design that went into it, the keyboard, all are expensive and were very deliberate choices on the designers’ part. If these things are important to folks–and they can be–then every penny goes to a good cause. But not everyone can afford all of these components.
The Freewrite is a simple machine. It has one button, a full keyboard, and a tiny e-ink screen that can barely update fast enough to keep up with the average typing speed. The device is built for one thing: writing stories, and syncing them to the cloud.
While the original Freewrite used its design to prey heavily on people’s nostalgia, the Traveler is more focused on pure functionality and portability. It’s also a lot cheaper: While the Freewrite is a rather expensive toy at $499, the Traveler can be pre-ordered today for a more reasonable (though still pricey) $309.
$500 is too much money to pay for a device that still has some kinks to work out. The next version of the Freewrite is probably going to be worth looking at closely. If the company behind it is smart, they’ll listen to their customer base and pay very close attention to the complaints and pain points, even if the people offering them are less vocal than the cheerleaders. They could certainly learn some lessons from the development team at Literature and Latte, makers of Scrivener.
Despite its limited utility and high price, the Freewrite has an almost magical appeal. It’s hard to understand why until you get to handle one in person. The Freewrite has that “it” factor.
I love it. Yet time will tell whether this curious beast turns out to be a real workhorse, or an expensive toy.
The Freewrite is not aimed for everybody. It is the perfect companion for those that need to do lots of typing and most of all needs a way to get away from all of the notifications that can happen during a writing seesion. It is expensive, running at 500$US (654$CA) at the time of typing these words (on the Freewrite). However if you are such person, I strongly recommend you consider the Freewrite, it’s a strong and sturdy piece of machinery that can make your writing sessions more productive as well as make the experience of writing more enjoyable.

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