With the recent launch of the Freewrite Traveler, Astrohaus now offers two distraction-free writing tools.. The Traveler is the slimmer, more portable option, but beyond that, how do the writing devices differ?
To inform your decision, we’ve put together a detailed comparison to help you decide which device is the right fit for you. We’ll briefly describe each device and then differentiate the writing experiences each provides.
“The Freewrite, a ‘smart typewriter,’ wants to liberate writers from their computers… [It situates] the writer in the world… makes me feel as if I am floating.” –Ian Bogost, The Atlantic
A distraction-free device for the modern author, the Freewrite is the ultimate drafting tool for serious writers. The Freewrite’s elegant aluminum body, frontlit E Ink screen, and crisp-sounding keys make it the statement piece in any writer’s abode. The device incorporates the pleasant tactile experience of a mechanical keyboard with modern cloud syncing for safety and convenience.
The first generation Freewrite started shipping in 2016 and undergone many improvements over the years. The current 2nd generation device is extremely stable and has seen over 100 million words written by our customers worldwide.
Before we dive into a detailed feature comparison, here’s a table for you visual learners.
Freewrite 2nd Gen
4.0 lb aluminum body
>1 million pages
Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox
1.6 lb with clamshell design
>1 million pages
Google Drive, Evernote, Dropbox
So, which device is better for me, the Freewrite 2nd Gen or the Traveler?
Depends on which features you find most important! Each device fits a different writing style. If you’re not sure about yours, these key features might get you thinking:
Where do you like to write?
Do you switch up your writing environments? Are you often on the go?
The Traveler, with its featherweight clamshell design, is the better portable option. It’s perfect for those in-between pockets of time. You can easily open up the Traveler at a bus stop or in a waiting room to squeeze in writing wherever you can.
If you find that staying put helps you focus better, the Freewrite 2nd gen is a good fit for you. It’s more of a ‘semi-portable’ weighing in at 4lbs, which is what most laptops weighed just a few years ago. You can still carry around the Freewrite using the built-in handle to your local coffee shop or bookstore, but you could just as easily settle down at your couch and get in the writing zone.
What’s your sense of style?
The Freewrite is certainly a statement piece. Its retro-futuristic design balances smooth curves of its dark aluminum body with clean-cut edges of a its mechanical keyboard. Writers in our Freewrite Family who’ve taken their writing companion out to write have gotten questions from passersby fascinated by the device. Nothing says “I am a writer committed to my craft” like the original Freewrite.
If you’re looking for a more minimalist, functional design, you may prefer the Traveler, which has a shiny, piano black cover and a simple white interior. It looks like a mini-laptop that’s been custom-built for distraction-free writing.
Are arrow keys a dealbreaker?
The Freewrite 2nd Gen purposely did not include arrow keys to keep the writer moving forward. It is meant to fit within a specific writing process where the writer is meant to draft top to bottom and edit in a separate session. Personally, I find this purposeful lack of functionality to be freeing. I’m always frustrated with my slow pace of writing because I can’t resist the itch to go back and agonize over a sentence for half an hour. In that sense, I love how the Freewrite just forces you to write.
Of course, though, not every writer is like me. If not being able to go back and fix a typo or switch out a word will bother you as you’re writing, the Traveler comes with arrow keys so you can sustain your writing flow!
When do you like to write?
If you’re very much a night owl and don’t like to write at your desk, you might care a great deal that the frontlight is only available on the Freewrite 2nd gen. Sure, you could make up for it by writing near a bedside lamp, but we get it. Sometimes you just want to be able to fold up your writing and go straight to bed.
Either way, both the Freewrite 2nd Gen and the Traveler both feature an E Ink display that uses ambient light, which is easy on the eyes and won’t wash out under direct sunlight. It’s a world of a difference from the harsh light of a computer screen.
Have concerns about display size?
Actually, the writing canvas on both devices are nearly the same size! The Traveler’s display is 121mm x 70mm, and the 2nd gen’s display is 121mm x 68mm. We’ve had quite a few customers write in to say that they were pleasantly surprised—the Traveler screen was much bigger than they’d pictured based on photos.
I will say, both devices look somagnificent in real life. We have some beautiful photos of the Freewrite tools in the wild, but of course nothing compares to seeing them in person.
What kind of typing experience do you enjoy?
If you’re a keyboard buff, the tactile experience of the Freewrite is unparalleled. The Freewrite’s mechanical keyboard with Cherry MX Brown keyswitches provides the most satisfying typing experience and are rated for 50 million presses. In other words, they’ll last a lifetime.
But that’s not to say that Traveler’s typing experience is lacking. The Traveler features a full-size scissor-switch keyboard that Astrohaus optimized for typing feel. Each key has over 2mm of travel (double a traditional laptop.) And if you still prefer an external keyboard, well, you can plug one in, too!
What about everything running in the background?
Both the Traveler and the Freewrite offer similar perks in terms of battery life, storage, and cloud syncing, so you can’t go wrong with either option. The devices tout a 4-week battery life and over a million pages of local storage so you don’t have to worry about anything besides making like the rest of the Freewrite Family and doubling your wordcount.
They also offer cloud syncing to major storage services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote—no more accidentally losing all your work!
Have a budget?
We understand that both devices, of course, are an investment. But the way one of our writers puts it, if a guitarist can shell out several hundred bucks to purchase a quality instrument, it holds that writers can splurge on an instrument for their craft, too.
If affordability is a concern, the Freewrite Traveler is the lower cost option at $429 (and it’s currently still on launch day sale!) You can also enjoy a discount on the Freewrite 2nd Gen currently priced at $549.
With either option, Astrohaus offers the flexibility of paying in monthly installments if you choose Klarna or Paypal Credit at checkout.
What if I can’t decide?
If you have a more flexible writing style, you’re also in good company. Many writers choose to use boththe Freewrite and the Traveler. The Freewrite 2nd Gen and the Traveler were designed to work together.
The portable Traveler is your everyday carry companion and the Freewrite the device you write on at home. The devices sync to the same backend, meaning you can start at home and add to that draft throughout your day whenever and wherever you feel inspired.
Whew, that was a lot! We hope this article will help you make an informed decision on which device is best suited for you. But whatever your decision, you ultimately can’t go wrong, and we’re excited to welcome you and your future writing partner into the Freewrite Family.