AlphaSmart 3000

I’m writing this on my clunky AlphaSmart 3000, a portable keyboard that’s so primitive it’s cool. I bought it after reading about it somewhere and thinking Boy, that sounds simple, like writing with pen and paper but better because it creates digital text.

AlphaSmart 3000

Lightweight and inexpensive (I paid $68.99, including shipping, for a used one described as “very good” by hooliator on, The seller’s review on includes a lot of useful information. The AlphaSmart comes with a basic word-processing program. Mine arrived carefully packaged within a few days along with a list of tips on how to use it and a USB cord for connecting it to my PC. 

My version has a translucent turquoise case through which I can see the three AA batteries that run it. True, it doesn’t have Internet access; requires a slower, firmer touch than my desktop; has a small screen that shows only four lines of text at a time (Which may vary according to the font size; I haven’t figured that out yet); and makes more noise than the keys on my desktop; but I like its instant startup, automatic backup and long battery life.

Unlike my relatively large and heavy laptop, the AlphaSmart  fits into my tote bag and, should I lose it, damage it or have it stolen, won’t cost very much to replace. Some writers might prefer inputting notes by texting themselves on their smart phones. I don’t own a smart phone; and, besides, I like the fact that AlphaSmart’s full-size keyboard means I don’t have to type with my thumbs.

True, in order to do the heavy editing and printing, I have to upload my AlphaSmart files to my computer but the uploading has proven to be fast and easy. Most of all, I enjoy AlphaSmart’s simplicity and how it helps me focus on what I’m writing without the continual presence of the Internet beckoning me away.

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