Portable word-processors
March 3, 2005 9:20 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for something small, simple and cheap to use for basic word-processing on the road. Something like the Alphasmart Neo, or some kind of bare-bones laptop. Suggestions/advice?
posted by gottabefunky to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My friend uses a iPaq with a fold out keyboard for all of her law school classes. At one time she would lug around her laptop all over campus, but the iPaq is light, mobile, and puts all her docs in Word format. I don't really care for the Microsoft stuff, but she likes it. You could do the same with a Palm device too.
posted by vianetman at 9:27 AM on March 3, 2005

Don't laugh, but the TRS-80 Model 100 is still among my personal favorites for indestructible, portable word processing. Here's a representative one on eBay.
posted by piro at 9:36 AM on March 3, 2005

My wife also did the iPAQ/foldable keyboard thing for college. If you go that route, I highly recommend two things: 1) Buy the warranty/protection plan for the iPAQ, in case you drop it or whatever. 2) Get the keyboard specially designed for the PDA you buy (in the case of the iPAQ, the one made by HP that plugs to the bottom of the PDA). The "universal" infrared keyboards work about as well, but are much more cumbersome to set up (several spring-loaded arms that hold the PDA in place instead of a secure plug-in connection). I'm not sure why IR is used when the PDA and keyboard are actually touching...

My wife successfully used her iPAQ for two years and finished her coursework. She was going to give it to me, but it died and the service plan ended up fully paying for a much better model that has great character recognition when writing on the screen with the stylus. Buy the 500 M or 1 G memory card, and it works great as an mp3 player as well.
posted by Doohickie at 10:19 AM on March 3, 2005

There have been a bunch of questions on AskMe about this--you should search the archives. (Not trying to object to the thread--just making a suggestion.)

I used / still use somewhat a Palm Tungsten T2 and a keyboard. I think this is by far the best solution simply in terms of size/weight. It is also quite cost-effective if all you plan to do is type text.
posted by josh at 11:21 AM on March 3, 2005

I use an AlphaSmart, I love my AlphaSmart, I would heartily recommend it. I've had it for four years now and I haven't had a single problem with it. The things are practically indestructible (my 11 year old son and 3 year old daughter love to play with it, and it still works as well as it did when it was brand new,) and they're incredibly easy to use. There's no software needed to transfer your files to your computer (it just uses a USB cable and emulates a keyboard,) and it saves automatically as you go. Of course, it doesn't do anything *but* word processing, but it's inexpensive and it does *exactly* what you need.
posted by headspace at 11:26 AM on March 3, 2005

I asked this question on the same topic, pretty much. Similar answers then (including the TRS-80). FWIW, I decided a used PDA+foldable keyboard was best, but then I ended up just bringing my laptop instead.
posted by whatnotever at 12:10 PM on March 3, 2005

two words: iMac G3, eBay (okay, 2.5). you can get the colored clamshell ones for cheap now, they have handles, and you can plug it into your home computer via ethernet
posted by jruckman at 2:51 PM on March 3, 2005

(referring to iBook G3) -- you can get them on ebay for less than 250 if you poke around -- thats the same or less than the cost for a PDA and foldable keyboard -- and you'll be glad for the full size screen and internet connectivity, not to mention having an actual computer (for spreadsheets/images/email/etc)
posted by jruckman at 2:56 PM on March 3, 2005

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