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The Ernest Hemingway Freewrite Signature Edition, a.k.a. "Hemingwrite," pays homage to the most iconic literary personality of the last century. The Hemingwrite is an official limited release in collaboration with the Ernest Hemingway estate.
Hemingwrite includes all Gen3 Smart Typewriter features, plus:
A hand-polished aluminum chassis and green keycaps
Ernest Hemingway's official signature
The Hemingwrite Attaché Case
A monogrammed, microfiber cloth
Each unit is finished by hand so no two are exactly alike. The raw aluminum surface will develop a completely unique patina over time, making each Hemingwrite a one-of-a-kind collector's piece.
This is going to be a long one, but I want to give as comprehensive a user experience as I can. Like many customers, I really wanted to give this product 5 stars, but I’ve now owned three Freewrites and have had a pretty extensive usage with them. I’ve had two Travelers (the first had an issue with the keyboard that couldn’t be fixed, so I was given a replacement refurbished unit) and am now using a Hemingwrite. The missing star comes from a few usability/connectivity issues that can make it a frustrating process for me.
Starting with the positives, I’d like to say off the bat that overall I love my Hemingwrite, and the fact that Astrohaus partnered with Hemingway’s estate to produce these is no trivial detail. It is my daily driver for drafting and the experience is, from a sensory and immersion perspective, far superior to something like a MacBook. The box brown keyboard is fantastic. It’s tactile and satisfying and built to last, and I simply love drafting with it (except the spacebar, which is loud and somewhat annoying). Aesthetically, the device is beautiful, and has such nice little touches like the toggles on either side of the display and the retractable handle. And contrary to many reviewers, I actually enjoy the slight input lag of the E-ink screen. I think, when used properly, it gives the retro-looking device a nice retro feel of operation—but more on that below. The team at Astrohaus are phenomenal, responsive and super friendly. The warm front light is fabulous. After using my Travelers, the light is a real game changer: it’s so nice to be able to draft basically anywhere, anytime. Finally, I love the minimalist methodology of their products, which can help you get in a good flow state. When it works, it just nurtures a nice atmosphere for focused writing. I honestly love most of the experience, but there are some pesky nuisances I can’t ignore.
Lag/stability: This section will be long, but I want to help any others users who might be in the same camp I was awhile ago. I said that I enjoy the slight display lag, and I do, but with one big caveat: the device gets very latent and buggy the more words you load onto a single doc. There’s a workaround, but it’s not ideal for most creative writers imo. I think the team needs to communicate up front about this issue, as I wasn’t aware of the solution for a while and my daily workflow suffered for over a year. I thought the input lag increased alongside the total words saved to the device, but it’s actually per document. When I reached out to the team, they said that whenever the lag becomes too great, simply create a new document to eliminate this extra latency and freezing. They also suggested just making a new document for each chapter. I feel slightly misled, as they market this product to all sorts of writers—including people who write long form—without mentioning this limitation and the workaround available. I think most long form writers prefer having one document per manuscript with everything nicely in one place, but with the Freewrite this is virtually impossible. This should just be information they provide up front: for longer projects, expect to have 10+ docs per manuscript to keep things smooth, and then merge them together into a master doc later. So to keep the lag minimal, I create a new doc every several thousand words. Not the biggest issue, but it doesn’t take much processing power to retrieve and display lengthy docs, so I feel for the price and sole function of the device, this could be improved. Also, I’m concerned how many docs I’ll end up with per MS, as the sync system is weird. I’ll sometimes have 1 doc on the cloud per doc on my device, but other times there are multiple (maybe a version history thing). And I don’t want to have potentially dozens of docs and versions per MS, but it seems that may be unavoidable unless I’m mistaken.
Wifi: I’m surprised I don’t see this more in the reviews, but the Wifi connectivity is frustrating. If I take my Travelers/Hemingwrite away from home and connect to someone else’s Wifi, it will frequently not connect back to mine when I return home. This can sometimes be solved by just switching Wifi off/on, but often requires a full restart, which is time consuming and risks erasing your progress since last sync.
Doc manager: I loved the document manager on the Traveler, but the current one on the regular Freewrite is subpar. It’s hotkey based, and at least on my unit, is buggy enough to be almost unusable right now. With the necessity of having so many documents per MS, the device simply needs to have a functional and clean document manager. The problem seems specific to my unit, but it’s the second glitch on a Freewrite where the team’s only recourse was to have me do a full reset on the device—which means wiping all the docs from it (they remain on the cloud). I don’t want to lose my words on my device, so for now I’ll just live with the issue.
Here on out are minor crit...
Marcus Robinson (Memphis, US)
An excellent device!
When given the right atmosphere, the Freewrite helps you to excel at your writing. I received mine in the past week just in time for a trip I was taking out of state. It kept me in perfect company when I had the downtime to write. After finding a good playlist of music, the ideas came flowing and I hardly stopped typing. It helped me turn what used to be a concept into a full story with a coherent plot-line!
The device worked perfectly out of the box after I gave it a charge. My only caveat is that one of the clamps on the strap didn’t have it’s cover crimped on just right, however some heavy duty glue fixed that issue.
If you are looking for a novel experience in drafting, I cannot recommend this enough!
Chris Trotter (San Francisco, US)
Beautifully designed product
I have been amazed by not only the physical design on the product, as elegant as it is, but the utter simplicity of its abilities. I've gone from writing a couple hundred words a day to 1k almost overnight. So impressed. Bravo!
RyEph (Oklahoma City, US)
It's my favorite gift of all time.
It really is. I love it.
Alan Wilson (Verdun, CA)
Ernest Hemingway - Freewrite
Really like it, does everything it's needed to do . Very pleased with it.