I Bought the Freewrite Traveler – An Honest Review

I Bought the Freewrite Traveler - An Honest Review
by Olivia L. Dobbs

The Good

The Freewrite Traveler has been a huge lifestyle upgrade. Previous to this device, writing anywhere but at my desktop was a hassle, my only other option being lugging around an absolute brick of a work laptop. It’s a lot easier now to wander over to a local park or coffee shop – with the Traveler, you no longer have to deal with bringing around a charging cable, a mouse, or any other computer accessories.

The Freewriting Traveler charges with a regular USB-C cable, meaning that, even if you do bring a charging cable along, you’re looking at a writing device that weighs you down no more than 2 lbs. But, the battery life lasts up to four weeks, so even a little USB-C isn’t often needed to bring around.

It’s also super easy to use. The directions, commands, and accompanying instruction booklet are really intuitive, and the simplicity makes the whole experience feel both optimized and minimalistic.

With the display, which uses E Ink (similar to that of a Kindle Paperwhite), writing outside is phenomenally better. The screen doesn’t glare when it’s bright up. The company boasts that this sort of screen tech prevents eye strain, too.

But my favorite feature? It’s nearly impossible to get distracted on the device. There’s no web browser, no notifications, no apps. It is just a typewriter with a screen. The simplicity and lack of bells and whistles makes it a breeze to stay on task. I’ve found that I’m actually able to write more and more quickly on it than I usually can at my desktop. If you’re a writer who often trails off onto websites or apps during your writing time, this device is meant for you.

The Bad

The first problem I noticed was the latency; it really takes some getting used to. It takes a noticeably long time for what you’re typing on the keyboard to actually show up on the screen. If you’re the sort of folk that looks at the screen while you type, it can be a little disorienting to have previous letters appear while you’re typing out the next word. It took about a week of use on the device before it felt natural, it definitely helps to look away from the screen when typing, though.

The second problem is one that has, unfortunately, began to emerge as of writing this: Display Burn. Using it for just about a week now has resulted in mild remnants of previous lines of text that are especially visible in bright sunlight. This issue is fairly common for front-lit screens and is a trade-off with the ability to use it in the sun and without eye strain. As of writing this, I hope this issue doesn’t get worse with continued use, but it’s still too early to tell.

The Ugly

In addition, the outside of the Freewrite Traveler is, unfortunately, a fingerprint magnet. After the first use, it was covered in little smudges. The kit came with a high-quality microfiber cloth that definitely helps, but this reviewer would have greatly preferred a better material for the outside casing.

And, at the moment, that plastic-y outer casing is what Freewrite Traveler consumers are stuck with. The store offers a disappointingly small selection of accessories for its devices at the moment, most of which are containers to use to store the device when it is not in use. Hopefully, they’ll be expanding this part of their store in the near future.

The Verdict: Should You Get a Freewrite Traveler?

All in all, I would recommend this device, but not to everyone. It’s a niche device for certain personalities of writers, and definitely not a one-size-fits-all solution.

If [most of] the following criteria resonate with you, I’d say it’s worth a purchase:

  • You find yourself often getting distracted when writing on a computer.
  • You prefer writing outdoors or in public spaces.
  • You already have a decent writing setup, but want a tool to add some variation to your routine.
  • You don’t often need to investigate and cite within the material that you’re writing.
  • You love the aesthetic of a writer, and really want to give off that vibe when you’re working.

But, honestly? It should be more a supplemental tool than one that could replace your writing medium. For me, it gives me the opportunity to sit outside while writing, which gets my creative energy flowing, but it in no way makes my desktop setup obsolete.

If you want a comprehensive writing solution, opt for a laptop with a long battery life instead. Something like a Chromebook would provide much more functionality for a writer, with the ability to use the internet to research and of course upload articles to writing platforms. Plus, tools like Google Docs offer significantly more editing tools. There’s no such thing on the Traveler.

Got questions or comments? Let me know in the comment section below!

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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